Is it just me or is the world going more than a little bit crazy about Coronavirus? Being 59 and a sufferer with mild asthma I’m on the cusp of the more vulnerable part of the population and I take all the health advice very seriously.
But locking down entire countries, closing schools, stopping flights to the USA and parts of Europe, cancelling most sporting events seems excessive to me.
Sure, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions need to be protected with all the resources the NHS and our various care and support services can muster.
With the vulnerable safeguarded as much as possible surely though it makes sense for the rest of the population to lead their normal lives taking care, of course, to not spread infection.
For eight out of 10 people Coronavirus is a mild infection with the core symptoms being just 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 the result of our 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 which rally the immune system, but also cause the body aches, pain and fever.
Self-treated at home
These symptoms are self-treated at home with bed rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol. As with most viruses this stage lasts about a week – at which point the vast majority of us recover because our immune system has fought off the virus.
In China, the virus death rates for people in every age group up to 39 stands at just 0.2%, it’s 0.4% for those aged 40 to 49 and then up to 1.3% for those up to 60 years-old when people are more likely to have underlying health conditions.
None of this suggests there should be any level of complacency about the disease and I know it will be a worry if I, family members or friends catch it but putting whole countries in lockdown seems excessive.
Surely these draconian measures need to be considered alongside the affect this is having on the world economy, potentially affecting people’s businesses and livelihoods, the social structures and the routines that boost people’s well-being and mental health.
All things considered I’m in favour of the UK’s more low-key approach to the pandemic but I know it’s only time that will tell whether this is the right strategy.