Opinion March 30, 2020 | 1:49 pm

Regarding comments on coronavirus articles

Renn Loren


Usually, I don’t respond or reply to comments, figuring opinions are opinions. But in times like these facts matter and unsourced faulty facts can kill. The coronavirus crisis is an extraordinary situation that requires extraordinary actions. This comment by Luis E Bravo at no less than two articles in Dominican Today demands a proper response.

“This disease is curable. A few hundred patients have already recovered in New York. It’s a flu, not the black plague. The virus only enters your body after touching a contaminated surface then touching your face. Airborne exposure only happens in confined spaces after ten minutes. Keeping a country on lockdown over a few deaths is insane. Our governments are using a flu as cover to grant themselves power. Dengue killed around 45 last year and we did not have a quarantine.” — Luis E Bravo

With all due respect Luis E Bravo, Covid-19 is treatable, but at this time, it is not curable. Most victims recover, but they are not cured by any medicinal remedies because there are none.

Transmission of coronavirus is dangerously stealthy and communicable, so Covid-19 is exceptionally contagious. In essence, you can catch it without ever noticing the person who gave it to you; it can linger in the air for several hours (4-6) and remain on surfaces for days ready to infect.

With a CFR or fatality rate of 1-4%, it is like flu on steroids. And though 1-4% does not sound too concerning, it becomes very significant when it happens all-at-once and overwhelms the health care system of a stricken city or nation. 

To give it some perspective: one to four percent of the population of a country like the USA would equal 3.3-13,200,000 million people. Three to thirteen million deaths in one country in a period of a few months is unimaginable.

In the DR, where the fatality rate is at least 4%, there could be as many as half a million fatalities within two-three months. And, while it is true that dengue does kill scores of people in a year and malaria even more so, neither has an exponential rate of infection. If you have 45 people infected with SARS-CoV-2 today, you will have 90 people tomorrow, 180 the day after that, and 360 by the third day. At the end of a 7-day week, 45 infected people become 5,760 people contaminated in a week. And that would result in anywhere from 58 to 228 fatalities. 

As if the situation wasn’t confusing enough, not everyone infected with coronavirus is tested and properly diagnosed as being infected. And since a person can have a SARS-CoV-2 infection without showing any signs or symptoms from 5 to 12 days, you could pick it up without even knowing it and also infect others without realizing it, and they go on to infect others, etc., etc.

Thus there are legions of people out there infected by the virus who have no idea that they are infected and who go untested. So accurate numbers and rates are nearly impossible, which leads to more confusion and misunderstanding about what we are up against.

Dengue is the most prevalent viral infection transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. More than 3.9 billion people in over 129 countries are at risk of contracting dengue, with an estimated 96 million symptomatic cases and an estimated 40,000 deaths every year.* 

By comparison, 96 million cases of Covid-19 at a 4% CFR would translate to 3,840,000 deaths within weeks.

So SARS-CoV-2 is much worse than seasonal flu or dengue—by far and not curable at all.

Regardless of what the actual cause of this pandemic may or may not be or what motivations may be behind it, the fact is that SARS-CoV-2 is new and not well-understood, it is incredibly contagious, it overwhelms health care systems and organizations. It is potentially lethal in ways and magnitudes that common illnesses are not. 

Be extremely careful and discriminating about your sources of information regarding this crisis.

And please; stay home and wash your hands.


*Source WHO. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/vector-borne-diseases

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