The Wuhan Coronavirus has Arrived in the United States: LINKS FOR UPDATES With What We Grandparents and Our Grandchildren Can Expect or Do About It and What Does Climate Change Have To Do With Super Viruses

corona virusBeing Boomers, we grandparents have many generations to worry about with the flu and viruses.  PopPop’s mother is 96 years old.  Our siblings are hitting age 70. Our children are in their 40’s.  Our grandchildren range from sixteen to two years old.  We refuse to admit that when the news media mentions “at risk” ages for the flu and super viruses that we Boomer grandparents are within the danger age groups as well as our mother, siblings, and our grandchildren.

We Boomer Grandparents can remember SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Then those viruses went away and we forgot about the concerns. . . .and what we now know as super viruses.  Now, we are learning that climate change is fueling more and more super viruses and pandemics, worldwide spread of a disease, are in our future and more worrisome, going to be more common in our grandchildren’s future.

Today, in February 2020, we learn that our risk as Americans is currently low with this new coronavirus.  But that can change.  According to the Journal of Hospital Infection, this “Novel coronavirus is putting the whole world on alert.”

We should be on alert too.

WHAT A CORONAVIRUS IS AND WHERE IT COMES FROM

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals, including camels, cats and bats. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans.  The new name of this disease causing severe respiratory tract infections in humans is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. It seems that bats are a major culprit, having to do with their body temperature being around 105 degrees, allowing disease to grow.  As soon as this issue became known, I received a text from a doctor friend with a video that is scary, but made me laugh when part of the advice was not to eat bats.  As if I would!  I look at the picture of bat soup in the video and become ill.  I have since found out that a cousin who does lots of business in China once was served soup and came up with bat claw!  It might not be so odd in China, it seems.

HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS AND FLU SPREAD:

First, according to “Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and its inactivation with biocidal agents,” in the Journal of Hospital Infection, “human-to-human transmissions have been described with incubation times between 2-10 days, facilitating its spread via droplets, contaminated hands or surfaces. . . .(and) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days, but can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute.

According to the CDC, compared to this new super virus, note that the flu virus can live on some surfaces for as long as 48 hours and potentially infect someone if the surface has not been cleaned and disinfected.

HOW AND WHERE TO GET DAILY UPDATES

The CDC has a link:

World Health Organization (WHO) has a link:

The New York Times has a link (top of page):

WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR GRANDCHILDREN

Our daughter-in-law thinks that the situation will be worse for our grandchildren, and all due to climate change.  She sent me these four links:

Climate Effects on Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The Wuhan Coronavirus, Climate Change, and Future Epidemics,” February 6, 2020, by Justin Worland, Time Magazine.

“Warning: Climate change will bring major new health risks for kids,” by Kathleen E. Bachynski, January 17, 2020, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

“Children to bear the burden of negative health effects from climate change,” January 27, 2020,

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Science Daily. (Starting in utero)

The CDC Fact Sheets on the link above are scary and serious, but that and the other links are informative as to what lies ahead for us, our children, and our grandchildren.  Please pass this blog post on to others to keep as a reference for the future.  Unfortunately, I think we are going to need these links, especially where to find updates and current information, again.

What to do about it?  It seems we all know but the knowledge is not helping to combat the issues, so you can do your part personally and also advocate for our grandchildren’s future.*

The immediate concern for us long distance grandparents is that we must cancel our airplane travel to visit our grandchildren in March for their birthdays.  No, not because of the coronavirus YET here in the United States, but because of the height of the flu season and the likelihood of contracting a case of the flu, even if you have had a flu shot. Yes, the impact on the ability to travel is seen already and is likely to become greater with super viruses. Mentioning this to a friend last night, she said she has known that friends who are entering their 80’s and have stopped cruising.  You would think cruising is a good way to travel when you are elderly, but that cruise ships are petri dishes and you are likely to get sick, with little available medical attention on a cruise or off the boat in a random location with poor medical care.  Then, I saw the article, “Coronavirus Contaminated Cruise Ships Mirror the Global Crisis: Cruises aim to be frictionless, but disruptions from land burst that bubble,” by Nicole Wetsman  The Verge, February 20, 2020.

I learned,

” Ships have been targets for disease control for centuries. In fact, the combination of horrifying illness and ships gives us the modern word “quarantine.” When the Black Death terrorized Europe in the 14th century, the Venetian trading colony Ragusa didn’t close itself off entirely. Instead, in 1377, the city passed new laws for visiting ships. If they came from places where the plague was spreading, they were required to stay anchored offshore for a month to prove that they weren’t carrying it. Eventually, the period was extended to 40 days and called a quarantino from the Italian word for 40.”

Unfortunately, history repeats itself.

 

With Little Joy,

 

Mema

 

*We can advocate for government intervention.  See, “Years of coronavirus warnings got us nowhere. Here’s how to fix that,” by William Haseltine, Washington Post, February 18, 2020.  (William Haseltine is a former Harvard Medical School professor and founder of the university’s cancer and HIV/AIDS research departments. He also serves as chair and president of the think tank, ACCESS Health International.)

Here is more about United States Government Project Bioshield.

Here is more about the World Health Organization efforts. “More than 80 clinical trials launch to test coronavirus treatments,” by Amy Maxmen, Nature Briefing Newsletter, February 15, 2020.

 

 

 

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