How The Corona Virus Affects Me
The graphic shown above has been provided by the Chinese Center For Disease Control and Prevention through the BBC. Its illustration is to show who could be at higher risk to contract the latest world health crisis, the Corona Virus. Looking at the graphic, my odds, should I contract the virus, are not good.
Strike one, I am male. There is only a slight edge over females. I am at the 4th age bracket from the top with a higher risk. But the concerning factor, is pre-existing health conditions, that not only seem to have an effect on contracting the virus, but also its survivability. I have all four of the top factors courtesy of my survivorship from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the treatments I went through. I have damage to both my cardiac and pulmonary systems caused by radiation and chemotherapy treatments that has progressed over the decades. And then there is one issue not shown on the graphic, a compromised immune system. As part of my diagnostic process for my cancer, my spleen was removed leaving me very vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses. This was a common procedure before the turn of the century.
But even with the statistics that are coming out, I am not about to panic. I have lived with my extra risks to illnesses for a long time. I have had to deal with exposure when my daughters got their vaccines. If any were live vaccines, I could not change their diapers because the virus would be released through their waste. As I was aware of any co-workers seriously ill, I made the decision to go home for my own protection, if they came into work, rather than being contaminated. During both adoptions of my daughters, I had to deal with SARS for one, and bird flu for the other daughter in China. And in my employment, I frequently dealt with biohazards as part of my duties. Then there was the time that I ended up with septic pneumonia, twice within a nine-month period. I have every reason to be bordering on panic right now, but I do not.
I am of the mindset, I must do what I can, to protect myself, not rely on anyone else to do the right thing. I do not have faith in our government, because from what I have seen, cutbacks in funding and staffing, have left our country in a precarious position to not only prepare for this pandemic, but to manage it, and treat it. THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE! We need people in charge with experience in the health industry. We need testing capability and more importantly, we need treatments and vaccines for this.
Anti-bacterial soap is flying off the shelves. Surgical masks are hard to find (and they will not protect you from this virus – I have previously written about these masks and how they do not protect us from bacteria and germs).
News stories, advertisements, opinions, and memes have all done nothing more than to stir up racism in the middle of this crisis, which is not going to help. You cannot get Corona virus by eating Chinese takeout or going to an Asian festival. You do not look at anyone who is Asian, and wonder, “do they have the virus?” At this point, any ethnicity either has the virus, or has the capacity to have the virus. And you cannot tell who has the virus by their looks.
Do you avoid travel? Do you stop doing things out in public? The terrorist attack of 9/11 did not stop us. And other disease outbreaks did not stop us. Awareness and alertness made us be more careful, as the situations were dealt with. And this situation is no different.
At the end of the day, we need to wash our hands. Not touch our face so much. Cover our coughs and sneezes with the bend of our elbows. We need to go for help when we get sick. We need to stay home when we are sick. It is all common sense.
Great presentation. You point out a few key conditions that are missing. Another thing I don’t see listed is smoking history. That seems to have been a comorbid condition as well. While I am not panicking, I respectfully disagree with only one point, and that is that this situation is “no different.”
“COVID-19 is a newly identified pathogen, and there is *no known pre-existing immunity in humans.* Based on the epidemiologic characteristics observed so far in China, everyone is assumed to be susceptible, although there may be risk factors increasing susceptibility to infection. This requires further study, as well as to know whether there is neutralizing immunity after infection.” Source: Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (PDF document)
This is a virus that no one has natural immunity against, especially us.
For me, in an older age bracket than you, having survived cancer and two heart attacks and a bypass, I will start a “soft quarantine” very shortly. I am already prepared for this. I, like you, will do what I need to to protect myself.
Chris, you bring up a good point, and I don’t think anyone else has brought up the issue of smoking history. Admittedly, smoking history never seems to be mentioned during these types of outbreaks, though it may just be assumed and thrown in with the “respiratory” history. But clearly, smoking issues are a totally different factor worth including in the concern.
And I will agree with you. As there is no pre-existing immunity, I should have clarified that it should be no different how we respond in following protocols and quarantines.
I do a lot of travelling to see my children, and as this crisis progresses, travel will be something that I must consider. My last two flights, I developed colds sitting next to two different individuals who were clearly ill.