Friday, March 13, 2020
Living During Covid-19 Times, the Musings of a Zoologist Turned Author
SARS-CoV-2 (Wikipedia) Covid-19
As a former scientist, biology teacher and currently an avid naturalist, I’ve always been fascinated with emerging diseases. Being a science nerd, I love reading about zoonosis (animals that transmit disease), vectors(organisms that carry a pathogen, such as mosquitoes), parasitology and microbiology.
How has life changed?
Events are being cancelled, there is panic buying of toilet paper and hand sanitizers, flights are cancelled, schools are being closed and people are being asked to work from home. Social media is abuzz and Covid-19 memes are the rage. Though a mild illness for the healthy and young, Covid-19 can be deadly for the elderly and people with chronic diseases. We all have loved ones who are at greater risk, so measures to prevent the spread of the disease is greatly appreciated. Yet, are we teetering between panic and sensibility?
The 1918 Influenza (H1N1) Pandemic killed over 50 million people. Ironically, it was most deadly in people with healthy immunity, especially adults 20-30 years of age. Check the CDC as a great resource of information about the 1918 Influenza.
The way the 1918 Influenza was handled by governments was a lesson on what not to do. First off, news about the disease was suppressed because of WWI and fears that it would affect morale during the war effort. Spain which was neutral country, and had no qualms about reporting the deadly disease, which is why the influenza was called the Spanish Flu. The flu might have started in New York. Not knowing about the illness, people continued to attend crowded events such as parades and dances. Life went on like normal and influenza spread like wildfire.
Not wanting to repeat the past, we are closing schools, cancelling events, closing our borders to visitors and taking strict measures towards quarantine. What we now call social distancing. I’m an author who works from home, so my life has not changed too much. Unfortunately, the gym I go to and classes in my Master Naturalist program have been cancelled.
Will Covid-19 have a high mortality rate like 1918 influenza? My thoughts are, no. For one, we have better medicine for the ill, and the possibility of a vaccine in the near future. Secondly, as a global society we are taking measures to spread the disease.
Posted by Bestiary Parlor: The Musings of a Zoologist Turned Author at 12:09 PM