Monday, February 10, 2020

Coronavirus 4

(Maybe read the previous items in this series on coronavirus first - links on the right.)

Professor Julian Hiscox is Chair in Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool, so that's about as expert as they come. He was talking on Radio 4 Today Programme this morning and a 7.56 said this:

"To me this virus is more like a slightly bad strain of influenza virus and between 6000 and 10000 people each year in the UK die of flu depending on the particular flu strain through the flu season and I think if you're worried about something make sure your flu shots are up to date and then worry about this disease afterwards."

There's a fine line between not frightening the horses and being complacently unprepared for a potential disaster, and Professor Hiscox seems to have decided that this is not the moment to point out that 2019-nCoV might be as deadly as the flu pandemic at the end on World War One that killed between 50 and 100 million, between 3 and 6 % of the then global population.

Of course it might not turn out anything like that serious, but the truth is that we don't yet know.

Were we to apply the precautionary principle enthusiastically, we would be making personal preparations now, planning how to avoid infection in our daily lives. Such planning might be a waste of effort or it might ave lives

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care issued this press release, announcing new regulations to impose restrictions on any individual considered by health professionals to be at risk of spreading the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

I will do everything in my power to keep people in this country safe. We are taking every possible step to control the outbreak of coronavirus.

NHS staff and others will now be supported with additional legal powers to keep people safe across the country. The transmission of coronavirus would constitute a serious threat - so I am taking action to protect the public and isolate those at risk of spreading the virus.

Clinical advice has not changed about the risk to the public, which remains moderate. We are taking a belt and braces approach to all necessary precautions to ensure public safety.

Our infection control procedures are world leading – what I am announcing today further strengthens our response.

The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country.
So that's all right then.

This is a molecular illustration of a 2019 novel Coronavirus comparative model
Source: Gianluca Tomasello 


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