Key details from the coronavirus as they unfold, updated on a regular basis –written in plain English so even Aunt Karen can understand it. All information and reports cited are sourced.
Table of Contents
This article was last updated on February 16, 2020 –although much of the information here is ‘evergreen’, and useful in any viral outbreak.
Worth mention; the WHO changed the name of this coronavirus, on February 11, to “CoVid-19” –calling it the official name of the virus, months after the outbreak began and another name was already understood by the mainstream. No explanation other than the previous name (nCoV-2019) may have been ‘too stigmatising’. I use both names throughout this article interchangeably to avoid confusion.
The oddest thing about the beginning of a pandemic is that people generally don’t know when they can break their scheduled, orderly life to take preventive measures or self quarantine.
There’s no announcement telling you to stay home from work or school. The TV keeps telling you everything is fine, even after the first bodies have hit the floor.
It’s a strange time to be in. The edges of it are becoming visible like a tsunami on holiday. You’re not sure what you’re looking at. Your reaction time will either be something you’ll later be proud of, or ashamed of, when the chips land.
Since you’re here, you probably understand that reacting early will allow you to mitigate the first challenges in a calm, courteous fashion. Maybe buy you some time to pay the grocery store a few visits before everyone else does. Maybe start working from home. Minimum fuss.
There will always be those whose final purpose in life is to be a warning to others. Some of us will note the signs right there in front of us early on, others will need their warning clearly typed into a written invitation.
You can’t always control where you’ll be when something like this happens, but you can control how you deal with it.
In our case, it appears that travel in Asia during a global pandemic is going to be one of those awesome digital nomad challenges for my wife and I.
To throw a cherry on top, we also found out we’re pregnant just before Christmas –which we’re over the moon about, in spite of the circumstances.
The chorus of hammers common in our neighbourhood have gone silent, tap water is being turned off sporadically due to a localised drought, and tenants in our building, all of them, are coughing deep sick coughs.
Needless to say, this research is as much about protecting my almost-family as it is about protecting your actual family. If there’s anyone on your friend list you think might need a little suggestion, share this.
At the time of writing this article, the China coronavirus has been in the US, Canada, the Philippines, and other countries for a week.
Most infected won’t show signs for about 14 – 24 days from infection, although they are contagious immediately. That means there’s probably a lot more people out there shedding the virus for others to contract than any organisation is able to report competently.
Only after those infected reveal themselves with visible symptoms will we know how far the coronavirus has spread.
This is different from anything to come before it. Two weeks, no symptoms used to be considered rare for a carrier of a life-threatening virus.
And if the above survives scrutiny, we’re going to see dramatic growth in the number of reported infections in the weeks to follow –as a result, many store shelves will likely be empty or close to it within three weeks time.
Things like water, food, and medicine may be a “human right”, but scarcity is a fickle beast. First come, first serve.
Media reports indicate the virus is a hybrid of both bat and snake coronavirus, and that is already interesting in itself. When the virus was sequenced, HIV ‘inclusions’ were found by a lab in India.
They called it an “uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag”.
How all of these things find their way into one virus is beyond me, although I’m not going to speculate.
A cure for coronavirus may be discovered in as little as 3 to 6 months. The rollout of some sort of vaccine afterwards may take another 3 to 6 months with herculean effort –an educated guess.
If what I see on Twitter is any indication, the body count is much higher than we’re currently being told. Two weeks, or more, is a horribly long time to be making people sick when you don’t even know you’re doing it.
Based on existing models, getting sick from this coronavirus is probable –but it doesn’t mean it’s going to kill you.
Mentally prepare yourself and get into fighting shape. Plan to get sick, and take it from there.
Every morning I wake up and think this can’t truly be as bad as the news I read the day before. And then I have a coffee, read the news again, and discover it’s dramatically progressed overnight.
The situation continues to be exasperated by travellers from China, like this case of one traveller bringing a bag of dead birds on an airplane to the US “for pet food”.
Shocking ignorance (although not uncommon in my experience living in Asia –I’ve seen live chickens on domestic flights), considering that bird flu is also currently making a comeback in the China as this coronavirus runs rampant.
I’d wager Canadian authorities wouldn’t have caught it –they’ve already dropped the ball several times at Pearson Airport in the last week alone.
A full travel ban could be a part of the solution, but I won’t hold my breath.
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How Viruses Spread
This coronavirus has already officially surpassed SARS in a fraction of the time. Generally speaking, there are three ways a virus can spread;
- Droplets from bodily fluids, typically through coughing and sneezing; they’re a little heavy in the air so they don’t float around very long or go very far.
- Surfaces where contagions have landed; tables, walls, counter tops, doorknobs, etc.
- Aerosol vapour; much lighter than droplets, this vehicle of virus spread is perhaps the most dangerous as it can persist in the air much longer than droplets.
Not every virus can be easily spread by all three vehicles, however reports are coming out that 2019nCoV can —and it’s a “hardy” virus, meaning it’s more resilient outside the body than the typical flu, SARS, or MERS.
The virus can enter the body through lungs, sinuses, ears, and eyes. Touching plays a factor, as you may pick up the virus on your finger tip and then rub an eye or scratch your ear.
A Japan study also revealed that half of all secondary infections occurred during the coronavirus’ incubation period, when carriers were not showing symptoms.
Understanding Mortality Rate
Quoting an arbitrary number for the mortality rate is one method used to manipulate optics.
How the Mortality Rate for this virus is being calculated, country to country;
Death toll from a particular disease in a country is dived by the number of the total population of that country.
Throwing the entire population of a country into the equation, in my view, is just a way to dilute the danger for the sake of optics, and prevents people from preparing in time.
It would make more sense to count the number of deaths resulting from said disease, and then divide it by the number of reported infections. And then do it by race, age, and gender, as well as country of origin.
The latter is called a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) and that is the number to keep your eye on. It’s also the number not being reported in most cases.
Think of that as you look at the numbers going forward (video).
In my research I’ve found a few additional resources to keep an eye on; the first being a collection of confirmed information, and the latter being speculative moving targets that are updating in real time.
All information is from the scientific community writ large.
- This manually updated global coronavirus map that’s populated with confirmed, official outbreak reports.
- There’s also a Philippines coronavirus map, useful for myself and my friends where I currently live –although, like China, this country doesn’t have the resources to report all cases in a timely manner, if at all.
- Data visualisations aggregated by 2019nCoV.report that present how gravely this virus differs from other viruses (ie. Swine Flu and SARS).
- The H5N6 bird flu is back, too –China is facing down more than one outbreak as we speak.
- US military is reportedly preparing tertiary quarantine centres as of February 7.
- Asymptomatic cases in China are no longer being added to WHO reports; this sudden change in how reporting is done may actually appear to be an improvement in the overall situation.
Beyond that, I like what I’m hearing from Peak Prosperity. If there are any YouTube videos you’d like to share in the comments, they’re very much appreciated.
Get travel medical insurance before they stop insuring people –because they might stop issuing new policies, like a flight ban, without warning.
A new study from China has revealed the no-symptom incubation period may actually be 24 days, not 14 as previously thought.
This article was written on the premise it was 14 days. If it’s 24 days, the situation will be much worse than all models prior to this finding.
That means that 14-day quarantines may ultimately be ineffective (ie. all those passengers from Wuhan now in the US under a 14-day quarantine).
This new finding may have been what led to a leading epidemiologist putting his reputation on the line, claiming that this coronavirus could affect 60% of the global population.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has challenged the hypothesis.
I believe the truth lay somewhere in the middle –especially when mistakes like accidental hospital releases are happening.
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In the West this is likely a non-issue, but if you’re in Asia; coronavirus may have spread through shoddy plumbing work in Hong Kong.
Anyone who’s been in Asia knows that what comes out of the tap may have diseases as it is; if a rat dies in the metal tank on the roof, or a bird drops feces into it, or what have you.
Further to that, people jack into the system on their own all the time, like they steal free cable TV in the West.
However –a lot of bodily fluids splash in a toilet and flushing can throw contagions into the air, no matter where you live. You may want to get an automatic chlorine bleach toilet bowl sanitiser like 2000 Flushes.
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And finally, a report out of Taiwan claims that re-infection is possible, meaning that you’re not immune after you recover from the coronavirus the first time.
Virus Outbreak Shopping List
Your lungs are important, so let’s start with those and then work our way down to suggested additions to your diet, and what you may need to go out in public should things escalate.
It is widely understood that existing prescription antibiotics have little effect on this particular virus, so the same will follow that ‘natural home remedies’ are futile –sorry Aunt Karen, you can keep your essential oils.
I will however make a few dietary suggestions that could potentially boost your immunity to help your body fight any infection off the best it can.
I am not suggesting that anything on this list will serve as a coronavirus cure; they are only intended to lessen your suffering. The only cure to the coronavirus seems to be not dying, for the moment.
In addition to the items on this list, be sure to stock up on hand sanitiser pump bottles like they’ve got at the hospital, and bleach to clean surfaces in common areas (ammonia is not recognized as a disinfectant by the EPA, it doesn’t kill viruses like bleach can).
Dealing with Symptoms
According to WebMD, a coronavirus is a common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat.
Extremely virulent cases like the one we’re currently dealing with can also bring on pneumonia, which is the ‘nail in the coffin’ complication for many who have died from contracting the coronavirus.
The following suggestions will help your body lean into it and cope with symptoms of pneumonia, while helping to improve your immune function.
Guaifenesin is sold under brand names Mucinex and Robitussin, among others. It is an ‘expectorant’ that thins mucous and helps the body clear phlegm from your airways.
People with pneumonia and weakened immune systems may have trouble removing mucous from their lungs, and suffocate as a result.
With this in mind, stock plenty of Guaifenesin; I understand that regular doses are to be consumed every 5 to 6 hours (unless you get the 12h extended-release above), and at the worst, things could be touch and go for two weeks. I am personally stocking 70 doses for myself, and another 70 doses for Oshin.
Guaifenesin is available over the counter and online without a prescription, and you can get it in a syrup, tablet, or gel capsule.
This blue teapot-looking thing is used to put a room temperature salt water solution up your nose to clear out mucous and kill viruses and bacteria on contact.
I also drop some solution into my ears for good measure –you can get a cold through your ears because they’re connected to your sinuses.
The instructions are easy to follow; tilt your head and put the tip in your nose. Allow water to pass into one nostril and out the other. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds for a thorough cleansing.
We use sea salt or Himalayan salt if we ever run out of the little packets provided, not table salt, that burns and dries you out too much.
Use it before you go out, and when you return so your sinuses are good and salty when it matters most. It doesn’t hurt to drop it into the eyes, as I’ve learned recently –saline kills viruses.
A lot of bodily fluids splash in a toilet when you’re sick, and flushing can throw contagions into the air.
You may want to get an automatic chlorine bleach toilet bowl sanitiser like 2000 Flushes. Especially if you have little kids, who’s face is closer to the bowl than an adult.
Vapouriser or Humidifier
Breathing in steam or humid air has long been a way to break up phlegm and improve breathing when you’re sick with a flu or pneumonia. There are two kinds of vapourisers I’d like to suggest; a room vapouriser, and a personal face vapouriser.
If you use a room vapouriser/humidifier, a cool mist is better than a warm mist, as warm moisture can breed bacteria on surfaces around the room. If you use a personal face vapouriser, a warm mist is fine.
Note from Aunt Karen: If you choose neither of these devices, consider boiling water with garlic and/or onions in it on the stove and breathe it in. Garlic and onions may be able to inhibit the population of viruses and bacteria in your lungs. Even leaving a chopped onion on your night stand isn’t a bad idea if you can stand the smell, although it isn’t a cure.
Combined with a Neti Pot and some form of Guaifenesin, breathing in vapour will help keep airways clear.
Goldenseal, Probiotics, Vitamin D and Fish Oil
Now let’s take a look at some food-based dietary supplements that can help to boost your immunity. I’ve been taking Goldenseal and probiotics for years to combat traveller’s diarrhea, fungal infections, and other ailments I’ve acquired while living in the tropics.
Each of the following dietary supplements may be a little too Aunt Karen for your liking, feel free to skip this part and move onto gear.
Goldenseal is used to treat a number of health issues, ranging from upper respiratory tract infections to whooping cough according to WebMD. I’ve also found it to be useful for food poisoning and diarrhea, and it can reduce stomach swelling which is great when you spend as much time at the beach as I do.
Vitamin D is an oil soluble vitamin, so take it with fish oil or olive oil, or whatever you have around the house.
WebMD reports that a study showed people who maintain vitamin D blood levels of 38 nanograms per milliliter or more are less likely to get viral infections such as flu than people with less in their blood. Of 18 people who maintained that level during the study period, only three developed viral infections.
There is no sure way to prevent getting sick in every situation, but these suggestions could give you and your loved ones a fighting chance if this pandemic lingers longer than SARS.
An N95 mask when fitted properly can prevent harmful viruses and bacteria from entering your airways, however your eyes and ears are other holes you’ll have to plug for this to be effective.
Those hospital masks people are always wearing are merely a feel-good fashion statement, they won’t protect you from viruses. They barely seal the gap on your face, they’re a joke.
An N95 mask by 3M is your best bet, as it prevents viruses, bacteria, and air pollution from passing through its membrane.
Any gap (or beard) between the mask and your face will break the seal; for best results, throw an additional fabric mask that’s really tight over top of it.
These N95 masks are single use, and only work effectively for a few hours. These sell out insanely fast –pick up as many as you can, while you can.
Full Face N95 Mask
If you’ve got the budget and want to settle in for a longer pandemic with the ability to move around in public, get a full face mask.
If this thing goes full Hollywood dystopian future and people start to act a little crazy, this mask is also a big “rob me” sign –but it will get the job done and cover your eye holes, too.
These may be easier to acquire right now because everyone is buying the paper versions above. Just be sure to pick up plenty of replacement filters.
They’re better than nothing.
I’m not going to elaborate on a bunch of food for this article. Dried legumes, pasta, sauce, rice, canned meat, bottled water (and a fresh Brita filter) are all obvious choices. Basically, anything your local food bank will suggest as a donation will do.
Just make sure you can cook (with gas on a balcony) in case there’s no power. Same goes for water –the tap may not work where you live if the power goes out. In some cases, a LifeStraw may just be what the doctor ordered –they’re disposable, so buy more than one.
All countries around the world have had less time to react or put money aside for the crisis currently unfolding because Communist China supressed it.
For many of us, that time would have been a luxury –maybe some people wouldn’t have boarded that plane, or put a down payment on a house, to be left with nothing for an emergency.
Reports on CoVid-19 have been quickly distilling, and as I’ve learned by sharing this post on Reddit –anyone can debate you with alternate facts because there’s so much changing, incomplete and/or misinformation available online at this time.
For example, I found this in Google search results, from the CDC:
But when you open the article, that text has been removed:
Or when the WHO changed the “official” name of the virus from nCoV-2019 to CoVid-19, quite possibly to further blur the lines on existing reports, and “not picking a name that could be inaccurate or stigmatising“. (What the actual f***?).
In addition to WHO changing the name of the virus, authorities in China have also changed the definition of an infection (source below), thus lowering the numbers of total infections, resulting in a drop for the media to report.
I understand why they did it –you can’t “see” an asymptomatic case without testing their blood, and the strain on existing infrastructure would be far greater than it already is.
The WHO dictates that all cases must be reported.
The internet is full of examples of moving goalposts if you look for them. Which makes for some heated debates, confusion, and anxiety, to say the least.
An easy solution is to focus on your own people, as to not waste time trying to ‘save’ those being difficult for whatever reason.
You know enough just by reading this article and its sources –even without further updates you’ve got enough information to act on yourself.
Economy first, human capital second. Sometimes article headlines come out that make this point glaringly obvious:
This case in particular is quite disturbing.
Seeing armed men in biohazard suits shoot people to death in the streets for not self-quarantining is downright frightening. Pay attention, Bernie Bros –that’s communism at work.
It seems that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US may also be concerned about fragile economies.
They held back far too long on declaring any kind of emergency or travel ban in my opinion, and the information they provide always seems to be behind the curve –which feeds into an echochamber of outdated or incorrect information.
Just like the contagion, outdated or “spun” data travelled its way into media sources like Bloomberg, who suggest you “forget using masks” and the virus “can’t survive long on seats or armrests” as recently as February 6.
The mask part of the Bloomberg article could be due to that recently changed CDC article I referred to above, but it’s more likely that it’s because the person Bloomberg spoke to was the IATA Medical Advisor –a huge conflict of interest when they’re interviewing someone who lives by airline payroll.
A fact in plain view, and mentioned within the same article.
It may be utter disorganisation, or it may be intentional –it really doesn’t matter.
It’s all gaslighting to me.
Onward and Upward
Although the source links lighting up this article open doors to uneasy information, like a belated Christmas Advent Calendar from hell –I hope you read them all to gauge the situation for yourself.
I estimate that being well-informed early on will give many readers time to react, and eliminate any sense of powerlessness, aggression, or chaos as a result.
As in, avoid Black Friday-esque frenzies at shopping centres.
We live in an era where we have all the tools to live comfortably, in spite of a would-be global pandemic. As long as we remain calm and respectful, and don’t lean on our neighbours too much because we didn’t plan in advance.
If you’ve got a good workspace and everything you need at home it’s easy to quarantine yourself.
Self-quarantine may be the best time to get some life goals accomplished and earn an online income, without interruption.
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If you’re wary of possibly-sick managers hovering over you at your desk, or just want to change your habits because working in an office sucks –you might want to consider getting a remote job. Use Flexjobs discount code HOBO30 to get 30% off.
If you work remotely already, it may be time to get health insurance for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
If you’re like me and travelling as you read this, now would probably be the right time to get travel medical insurance. Safetywing will allow you to do so, even if you’re already in the middle of a trip.
Whatever you do in the coming months, keep a cool head and always weigh outcomes. If your cortisol levels are un-weildly, I use GABA to reduce them –you can learn about GABA on WebMD (PS, it’s also a nootropic).
Remember; you can track this pandemic on a map that allows you to “see” what’s otherwise invisible. You might just be out a few bucks to cope with it.
We’ll continue to see conflicting information, media play-downs, and a general malaise by authorities to strike this head-on. It’s the same song from Spanish Flu circa 1918. They’re worried about the GDP, you worry about you.
I can’t really blame either for doing either. It’s up to you to read between the lines.
By March, my guess is that this outbreak will slide off the TV screen and into your life.
What you do in the next week could drastically affect your survival. And I’d be happy to be wrong about all of this.