A localized lockdown is currently taking shape as the CoVid-19 started to spread fast in the country. The possibilityof declaring a localized lockdown on areas with significant number of coronavirus cases was announced by Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

Late last night, President Rodrigo Duterte, together with Metro Manila mayors, announced the suspension of classes in cities where the novel coronavirus has been detected on PUIs. However, shortening the immediate end of schoolyear was not an option, according to Education Undersecretary.

The threat is real and what we can do now is to keep us safe from getting infected.

Dr. W. Ian Lipkin is an infectious disease expert at Columbia University who is fresh out of quarantine after traveling to China, where he was studying the coronavirus outbreak, sat down for an interview with Walter Isaacson to explain how the virus spreads and how people can avoid catching it.

The virus has now infected nearly 94,000 people around the world with more than 3,000 deaths.

Fresh from self-quarantine after his visit in China to study the coronavirus, Dr. Ian explained on Amanpour & Co. how people can avoid the contagious disease.

What is a coronavirus exactly?

So, most people don’t know what viruses are. So, it’s probably good to start with that. So, people talk about microbes or bugs or what have you, and that they lump everything together. So, we’ve got — we have fungi, we have bacteria and we have viruses. So, fungi are multi-cellular organisms and they have complex structures. Bacteria have the ability to grow on surfaces. They have everything they need in the way of collection of nutrients, ways to metabolize nutrients. Viruses, in contrast, are just pieces of genetic materials. They are obligate intracellular parasites. So, they have to get inside of a cell. They have to subvert the cell’s own machinery so they can reproduce themselves and go through their life cycle,” Lipkin explained.

Contrary to earlier reports, the coronavirus is not a livong organism as explained by Dr. Lipkin. “They’re not living organisms, although many people think of them in those terms, and they have morphology. So, you know, we take typically Greek terms, but sometimes not to give them names. So, there are viruses called arenavirus. Arena mean Sam, like the arena in the coliseum, and they have a sort sandy appearance under electron microscopy. And coronaviruses have a shell of protein and there are little spikes of sugar that stick out that look like a crown.”

Tips to avoid getting infected by the infectious disease according to Dr. Lipkin

Wear Gloves

“So, because we don’t have a vaccine, the only thing we really have is those kinds of things which are practical and, frankly, should be obvious. You’re inside of a public conveyance, do you really want to hold on with your bear hand onto a strap in a subway or bus, whatever, probably not. I wear a glove when I use the subway. Things that people don’t think about as being contaminated like the, you know, remote control when you go to a hotel. These things are never cleaned up. When I fly, I wipe down all surfaces.”

Wipe down all surfaces with alcohol

“I wipe it down with alcohol. A chlorine product would work too but it’s quite smelly and it would also bleach out whatever you touch. 60 percent to 70 percent alcohol works. And, you know, is it 100 percent? No, nothing is 100 percent. So, what we’re talking about here is mitigation. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about mitigation until such time as we have some sort of definitive approach to deal with this.”

Social distancing

“Right now, all we really have is social distancing. It’s not full isolation, but we find ways in which we minimize certain types of contact.”

Avoid shaking hands

“In the film ‘Contagion’, there’s a scene where the son of a CDC, you know, maintenance worker gets his vaccine. And Laurence Fishburne is having a conversation with this youngster and they go to shake hands and he says, you ever know where this came from? And the idea was, you know, in the Middle Ages, this is the way you showed that your sword arm was encumbered, and you didn’t have to worry, right? So this, unfortunately, means now that we — this is a potential threat. Why? Because people are continually touching their face. They’re putting their hands in their nose, their mouth, other mucus membranes. So, not only do I carry what’s down here to myself, and inoculate myself, but I then inoculate you. So, some of these things we do, which are part of our social mores, I think we’re going to have to forego for a while.”

Fist bump or elbow bump instead

“If you want to shake hands. Otherwise, I think a fist bump or an elbow bump or simply, “Namaste,” whatever you want to do, probably a safer approach.”

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