COVID-19, like many diseases known to man, infectious or not, afflict each one of us according to our individual discipline and behavior.
With almost 10.5 million COVID-19 cases and more than half a million deaths worldwide – greater than 2.6 million in the USA with around 230,000 deaths, and about 36,500 cases in the Philippines and almost 13,000 deaths – the COVID-19 pandemic (officially declared by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020) still rages on. How long it will last depends on “We, The People.”
Several countries like Bolivia, Argentina, Columbia, Iraq, the Philippines and Panama were all badly hit and lockdown was imposed. After re-opening, Argentina, for one, and some States in the U.S., have more than quadrupled its cases. In the Philippines, the highest one-day trajectory was close to 1100 cases around June 21st. Saudi Arabia and Iran are having a “second wave” after relaxing lockdown measures. The same is true in South Korea, Lebanon and Singapore.
In the U.S., the re-opening has been marred by flare-ups: Florida having 8,530 new cases in one day; Alabama, 1,734; North Carolina, 1,287; Arizona, 625; Virginia, 453; all these surges in one day with a total new death of 120 on June 28. The States with the highest death rates are New York, 31,484; New Jersey, 15,118; Massachusetts, 8,060; and Illinois, 7,089.
The riots, demonstrations and protests for civil rights, where the crowd did not wear masks or practice social distancing, contributed a lot to the V-curve of the pandemic and sharp rise in new cases. Most of these were young people. Disregarding health guidelines, carelessness, and arrogance take their toll. COVID-19 could also be deadly for young people.
The first death from COVID-19 outside China was a 44-year-old male on February 2, 2020.
More than 4,000 deaths in New York alone were people under the age of 65, 600 below 45, and 9 below 17. So, COVID-19 also kills young people. But as great, if not a greater tragedy, is when a careless, indifference, arrogant young person gets infected and transmits it to seniors who are more vulnerable and have the highest risk of dying from COVID-19, and who are scared and being very careful, following the guidelines religiously, only to be victimized by a virus carrier anyway.
A group of 16 friends in Florida all tested positive for COVID-19 after a night’s drinking at a bar. There are countless similar incidents around the world, where crowds did not follow the guidelines.
There is no question that people’s discipline and behavior could spell the difference between health and illness, and between life and death.
The success of ending this pandemic sooner, opening the economy earlier, will depend entirely on the wisdom and responsibility of the entire community. Flattening the curve and re-opening businesses are not mutually exclusive. This could be achieved in synchrony, simultaneously, if people are disciplined to follow the COVID-19 guidelines:
when outside wear a cap/hat, mask, avoid touching public doorknobs and handrails, do distancing of at least six feet, wash hands or use hand sanitizers. All these inconveniences and discomfort are worthwhile if we are to ward off a potential killer and get back to a better tomorrow sooner.
Decoy to destroy SARS-CoV2
Scrambling to find tools to eradicate COVID-19 infection, simultaneous independent researches are ongoing around the world. One study “has found that nanosponges, tiny bio-friendly plastic coated in lungs and immune cell membranes, act as a decoy for SARS-CoV2, neutralizing the virus. The nanosponges mop up the virus like a sponge.” They reduce the inflammation also, thus treating the body’s reaction to the infection. Once the SARS-CoV2 virus attaches to the nanosponges rather than the lungs’ cells, the virus quickly dies. This new technology effectively distracts and neutralizes various viruses (Influenza, Ebola, Marburg and Lassa), including the COVID-19 virus in the lab, reports a paper in the journal Nano Letters. The medication could be in the form of nasal spray also. The promising data are from investigators at Boson University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories and the University of California, San Diego.
Half a billion cases less
A review published in Nature of the COVID-19 pandemic says the emergency measures promulgated by five countries, including the U.S., in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have prevented more than half a billion additional cases, and proportionately, saved about 1,250 lives.
Professor Solomon Hsiang, the lead researcher, stated “the last several months have been extraordinarily difficult, but through our individual sacrifices, people everywhere have each contributed to one of humanity’s greatest collective achievements. I don’t think any human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time. There have been huge personal costs to staying home and canceling events, but the data show that each day made a profound difference. By using science and cooperating, we changed the course of history.”
COVID-19 “triggers” diabetes?
A panel of 17 international diabetes experts, in a study published in The New England of Medicine journal, suggested that COVID-19 could actually trigger among some people the development of T2 diabetes among COVID-19 patients who were not diabetic to begin with. Whether the diabetes would resolve after the COVID-19 infection ends is not known. A global registry has been established to investigate the possible link and inform future therapy. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to regulate blood sugar level, either due to damage to the beta cells in the pancreas which produces insulin (T1 diabetes) or from the body cells becoming insensitive (resistant) to insulin (T2 diabetes, the most common type). While having diabetes is a risk to severe COVID-19 infection, new evidence shows non-diabetics could develop diabetes for the first time as a result of COVID-19. The riddle of this two-way relationship is being investigated worldwide.
Experts think that it would take a couple of years to know for certain if the overall rates of diabetes in various populations have increased as a result of the pandemic.
UVC lights deactivates SARS-CoV2
Ultraviolet C, which was discovered in 1801 but came into practical use in 1903 as a germicidal agent, has been shown to destroy viruses in general, including SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV2, which cause COVID-19, by damaging their protective lipid (fat) capsules surrounding the virus molecule and destroying their DNA. UV-C light is harmful to the eyes and the skin. UV-C lights have been used to sterilize operating rooms, ICUs, ER, etc.
It is also used to sterilize meats, vegetables, etc. in manufacturing plants. The available lamps in the market are used safely with a remote control device to allow people and pets to leave the room to be sterilized before it is turned on.
Professor David J. Brenner of Columbia University has developed a Far UV-C (200-122 nm) which is safe to use around people, pets, and plants. This will be in the form of a ceiling lamp, or a unit much like our present day portable mosquito eletric zapper, which could be used in various public establishments, airports, restaurants, grocery stores, theaters, and homes, to provide constant real-time deactivation of viruses and killing of bacteria, and to some extent, molds. Hopefully, it will be available soon to help us fight the SARS-CoV2 virus.
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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: philipSchua.com and FUN8888.com; Email: email@example.com.