Why WE should be concerned about COVID-19 in 2020, and what to do
Last updated: 26.03.2020 – 08:13 CET
Created: 23.02.2020
Disclaimer: The responsible editor of this page (Milan R. Vuckovic) is not dispensing medical advice, and is not a medical professional – however, this page has been reviewed by a group of experts. The goal of this resource is to raise awareness about a new epidemic. Should you wish to request a correction or raise objections, please refer to the contact section.
The novel virus that first appeared in the city of Wuhan, China in late 2019 poses a threat to our personal health and the supply chain of our global economy.
The current epidemic should be a concern to everyone due to the fact that it has a number of unusual characteristics that were not present in past epidemics the WHO declared to be a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”.
This website, updated continually, features the key characteristics of the so called Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, abbreviated as SARS-CoV-2.
(+)ssRNA RNA virus of the genus Betacoronavirus 1.
Concerning Characteristics:
High Hospitalisation Ratio
Among confirmed cases, every 5th patient requires intensive care compared to every 500th infected with influenza. If these people cannot receive hospital treatment, the mortality rate may increase.

Puzzling New Virus
There is no consensus about origin, numbers, treatment, and containment measures in the scientific and international community. SARS-CoV-2 is a new type of virus that comes with unique epidemological characteristics. It's important to stress that no herd immunity exists as of today in the global human population.
Infectious during incubation
The virus has shown to be infectious before the onset of symptoms. This makes it possible for the virus to cross borders by circumventing classical measures like body temperature scans.
Source: NEJM
Subclinical shedding
Symptom presentation for COVID is different for all people, and some people may have mild subclinical symptoms. These people may even appear to be healthy, but can still transmit the virus to others. This makes tracing back infection chains additionally challenging.
Source: NEJM, PMC

Long incubation period
The median incubation period currently stands at 6.4 days, and moves typically between 2 to 14 days. In rare cases, up to 24 days. This could contribute to the virus spreading after the 14 day quarantine policy, a standard in the international community.
Unreliable testing kits
There is a history of a number of people testing positive after multiple negative tests while in isolation.
Source: Bloomberg, Times
Infection through surfaces
Similarly to the first SARS-CoV, this virus can render surfaces infectious via coughed-up droplets. SARS-CoV-2 can persist on objects for many hours, and even days after contamination, and can transmit the virus by proxy if contact with eyes or mucous membranes is established.
Aerosol and droplets
The virus can spread airborne, making it as infectious as the common cold. Infection through aerosols can occur from a distance of meters.
Viruses are prone to random mutations, and thus obey darwinian laws. This can change the dynamic of the epidemic at any moment — with both negative and positive possible consequences.
Unknown mortality rate
There is consensus that this virus is deadly to some degree, although at this point, an exact mortality rate cannot be established. It is, however, certain that this virus is far deadlier than the flu.
What to do:
Wash your hands
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to wash your hands often and thoroughly during an epidemic. Wet your hands with clean water, turn off the tap, scrub your hands with soap for at least 20–30 seconds and then rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
YES, wear a mask
A face mask won’t protect YOU much from COVID-19, but it will protect OTHERS by catching viruses you may be spreading through coughing. You only need a (few) simple masks, like a surgical mask for example – or make yourself one.
Get a thermometer
You need to know when you have a fever. It’s when your thermometer shows a temperatures higher than 38°C or 100,4°F.
Don't touch your face
The virus spreads through contact with mucous membranes of the eyes. Reduce your personal infection risk by not touching your face.
Reduce contact
Reduce your direct contact with other people to a necessary minimum. Don't shake hands.
Avoid crowds
Avoid events and places where people gather in big numbers, e.g. parties, sports events, concerts.
Social distancing
Avoid any unnecessary social contacts and try to stay isolated as much as you can. If not possible, keep your distance from people that show any symptoms of a cold or have a bad cough and sneeze etiquette.
If you are feeling sick, don’t go to work, don't socialize. No compromises.
Make a call first
If you are noticing symptoms suggesting an infection with SARS-Covid-19, don’t rush to the nearest hospital. Isolate yourself to protect others. Then call your local GP or public health department and wait for instructions.
Don't hoard
Don’t buy more sanitizer, food, masks, toilet paper (Sigh...), and other supplies than you need. There is a difference between preparation and irrational hoarding.
Keep calm
And don't panic.

Print materials for sharing:
Please inform other people at home and in your office.
YES, wear a mask!
DIN A4 - greyscale
Key epidemiological characteristics and advice
DIN A2 - color

Essential Links:
Johns Hopkins map:
Tracking the COVID-19 Virus – arcgis.com

Frequent updates on the pandemic:
BNO Twitter Newsroom – twitter.com
News (verified only) subreddit – reddit.com
Discussion & news subreddit – reddit.com
Genetic sequencing of the virus:
Genomic epidemiology of the novel coronavirus – nextstrain.org

Interesting Article by Adam Wren:
Forget about mortality rate – medium.com

The central dilemma:
Disclaimer: The following is the personal opinion of the editor of this page (Milan R. Vuckovic) and is not approved or reviewed by a group of experts. Should you wish to request a correction or raise objections, please refer to the contact section.
There is a general lack of foresight in the Western European/US approach to the pandemic. Asia is leading by good example – their communities are strongly encouraging people to wear surgical and other simple masks on every societal level.
Meanwhile, a global economic collapse looms, and nobody seems to talk about the big Elephant in the Room illustrated bellow:
Flatten the Curve approach in theory
Flatten the Curve approach in practice
Possible solutions:
- Complex progressive curfews that only isolate the people who are at greater risk.
- Simple surgical masks or similar solutions should be mandatory in order to reduce R0.
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