This is very serious and you should take this personally. The Wuhan virus is now a global emergency as declared by WHO and in Singapore, we are now at the second highest alert level. Yesterday evening, Singaporeans are now worried enough that supermarkets saw significantly elevated buying of essential food supplies and in several major NTUC outlets, even leaving the shelves bare. Forget about the hype and fake news, here is why you need to start taking this personally – if you have not yet!
Reason to make this personal! As of Feb 7, the total worldwide cases increased by about 10% yesterday to 34,546 cases – mostly from China. Total deaths worldwide now stands at 722 cases (don’t let the 2% give you too much comfort – this number is low because the denominator is growing by about 10% daily), with 86 deaths reported in just one day. The percentage that are in critical condition jumped to 17% from about 14%. Singapore and Malaysia now reports 33 and 15 cases respectively. Singapore has the second highest number of reported cases outside of China.
Do this now!
- Experts say that the best thing you can do to protect yourself is frequently washing and disinfecting your hands. Since the disease is known to spread by infected droplets, you can pick up the disease from infected hard surfaces like table tops, trays, hand rails, etc. If you are out and about, using 70% alcohol handrub is the most effective way to disinfect you hands. If you can get to a sink, soap and water with a thorough washing works just as well. Step up the frequency and timing of washing your hands. Remember that most handrub DO NOT OFFER ANY EXTENDED PROTECTION. Another good practice is making everyone entering your home, including yourself, disinfect or wash their hands IMMEDIATELY.
- Experts notes that if you are healthy, simple face masks do not do much to help. The government has given each home in Singapore 4 face masks – and that should only be kept and used by the person who is unwell with cough and fever. Do not reuse any disposable face masks and should be discarded when it is soiled. If not, the moisture and warmth on the inside a soiled face mask can actually be a source of microbial growth!
- If you have any flu-like symptoms, do not delay in seeking medical attention. That can make a big difference to yourself and others. However, you should call first before showing up at the clinic – if you have symptoms. This is the time you should wear your government issued face mask. When you register at the clinic or hospital, make sure to tell the counter that you are presenting flu-like symptoms so they can take appropriate steps to isolate you from others immediately.
- Do not panic. There is no need to rush to the supermarket to stock up on emergency food supplies. But it is a good idea to avoid places with large crowds. Be attentive to advice and announcements from the government. From what I can tell, the Singapore government has been very pro-active and transparent in managing this crisis and has been one or two steps ahead of the problem.