Coronavirus Key Facts for Gibraltar Workers
Key Facts that affect us all
By Amit Chugani, Managing Director, Netgear Ltd: I am not a doctor, scientist, politician or health care professional, I am a business leader and these are my own thoughts written for my team to ensure that they have a simple guide to understanding facts about the situation we are in at present.
How is Coronavirus transmitted?
- Person to person contact within about 1m. They are transmitted through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes and it lands in the nose or mouth of the other person.
- Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects… It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
What steps can I take to protect myself?
- Wash hands often and carefully (minimum 20 seconds)
- If soap and water not available second best is hand sanitizers with alcohol content of around 70%
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Should I wear gloves to protect myself?
The NHS says that items like face masks and gloves play a “very important role” in a clinical setting but there is “little widespread evidence” that they are useful for members of the public.
Public Health England (PHE) and the World Health Organisation has also not recommended people wear gloves or face masks to protect themselves.
Should I wear a Facemask?
What is the effect of social distancing?
Should I be tested for Coronavirus?
As of today 19 March 2020 there simply are not enough kits to test everyone. The Gibraltar Health Authority is therefore testing those people it feels need to be tested.
The World Health Organisation this week came out with a simple message to all countries: Test, Test, Test. But the reality is that there are not enough tests in most countries to do this for everyone now.
If I get it and I am healthy and under 60 what can I expect?
The coronavirus, can invade your body when you breathe it in (after someone coughs nearby) or you touch a contaminated surface and then your face.
It first infects the cells lining your throat, airways and lungs and turns them into "coronavirus factories" that spew out huge numbers of new viruses that go on to infect yet more cells.
At this early stage, you will not be sick and some people may never develop symptoms.
The incubation period, the time between infection and first symptoms appearing, varies widely, but is five days on average.
This is all most people will experience...
Covid-19 is a mild infection for eight out of 10 people who get it and the core symptoms are a fever and a cough.
Body aches, sore throat and a headache are all possible, but not guaranteed.
The fever, and generally feeling grotty, is a result of your immune system responding to the infection. It has recognised the virus as a hostile invader and signals to the rest of the body something is wrong by releasing chemicals called cytokines.
These rally the immune system, but also cause the body aches, pain and fever.
The coronavirus cough is initially a dry one (you're not bringing stuff up) and this is probably down to irritation of cells as they become infected by the virus.
Some people will eventually start coughing up sputum - a thick mucus containing dead lung cells killed by the virus.
These symptoms are treated with bed rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol. You won't need specialist hospital care.
This stage lasts about a week - at which point most recover because their immune system has fought off the virus.
However, some will develop a more serious form of Covid-19.
This is the best we understand at the moment about this stage, however, there are studies emerging that suggest the disease can cause more cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose too.
Do you know of anyone in Gibraltar who has had it and how did they do?
Given the scaremongering and fears being caused by posts on facebook I feel I have to share my experience in order to provide some reassurance and curb myths.
Having had the misfortune (although some would disagree lol) of being the first person locally to contract Covid-19 I will go through my experience in the hope someone may take something positive from this.
After having returned from Italy during a period where the country had yet not reported any cases nor had even being suspected of being a country of concern, I went about my daily business the following day after my return without a single symptom in sight. It was not until two days after my return that symptoms began to arise.
These consisted of a headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, lack of appetite and loss of taste. It appeared to be a little weird for me given all of the above were symptoms I had previously experienced with the influenza, but however had no mucus, cough or blocked nose, thus experienced no respiratory issues whatsoever. Some of these symptoms persisted for about 10 days whilst other subsided after a day or two. Plenty of fluids throughout and paracetamol together with plenty of rest assisted with a prompt recovery!
Subsequent to going through a period of ten days and after going through the subsequent testing process, I was eventually cleared of the virus.
The important thing to take from this is the following:
1. This is and will be for most of us a flu, nothing more! Yes, it is accepted that some will have it slightly worse than I did, but many will also have it far milder than my experience. Most need to learn to accept it and just go through it.
2. If you feel any of the symptoms provided by Public Health Gibraltar, then self isolate. Don't try and ride it out at work or in public. The issue of social distancing is there to protect our community so that health services can deal with the virus in a more controlled manner.
3. If you have an underlying issue or are over 70, do not be stubborn. Stay home, we will still call you, face time you or even go see you from outside the safety of your door. We appreciate and respect our elderly far too much and want them to continue with us for many years to come.
4. Take heed of the advise being offered by our medical professionals. In my opinion Dr Sohail Bhatti and the rest of the medical professionals are being very clear on what needs to be done. These men and women have dedicated years of study and work in healthcare and I am extremely sure they know very well what they are talking about and what they are dealing with. Pay no attention to those groups, sites or persons who seem to have obtained their medical degree in the space of two weeks from the University of Facebook!
5. Take every opportunity to thank those medical professionals for their dedication and continuous efforts. I have in recent weeks been extremely moved having personally seen the efforts of medical professionals, particularly from staff at Infection Control. Nathan Lightbody and Sandra Netto are daily going above and beyond in everything they do. I am extremely pleased to see that they are now being complimented by additional staff members who possess years of experience in this field too. I will always be grateful for the support they offered. True professionals who truly care!
6. IMPORTANT - Avoid speculation at all costs. This does not help you or anyone in the community. It only helps to spread unnecessary fear and panic without absolutely any need. Respect the privacy of those persons who are self isolating or have tested positive to the virus. We can be a very caring community, but I have personally witnessed and experienced how much damage the same persons can do to those who are isolating or testing positive. Remember at some point YOU will be the Covid-19 Positive Patient, and you will want some privacy to recover and return to normality. There is no need to spread messages or images of persons.
I sincerely hope that my experience and advise provides some relief to those of who need it. If anyone wants to ask anything I am happy to respond via private message (do bear with me if I do not reply immediately)
Tyson (Patient 0)
This article can also be found on: https://netgear.gi/blogs/news/coronavirus-key-facts-for-gibraltar-workers