The new Corona crisis is the first pandemic that we experience everywhere, in every continent, in every community. Much has been said and shared already on fb and twitter, but here will be all in one place.
Frodo: “I wish it need not have happened in my time.”
Gandalf: “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring”
The coronavirus nCoV-2:
Viruses are in itself pretty helpless. Every bacterium, every single-cell organism is much better off, they can actively find their sources of energy (being it light or food), and move into better environments. Viruses lack this faculty of sensing, and they lack metabolism – therefore the question whether viruses are alive can be answered with yes or no, depending on what we consider essential for “living beings”. Nonetheless, viruses can do big harm to us, if they find ways to get into the cells of our body where they take over the control over the control of the cells that start producing new viruses en masse.
Coronaviruses have RNA as genomic information. The name “coronavirus” is derived from Latin corona, meaning “crown” or “wreath”, itself a borrowing from Greek κορώνη korṓnē, “garland, wreath”. The name refers to the characteristic appearance of virions (the infective form of the virus) by electron microscopy, which have a fringe of large, bulbous surface projections creating an image reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona.
For a good general introduction, read this article on Wikipedia .
The most important measures to combat the spread of this epidemic:
- Wash your hands frequently because soap disrupts the lipid envelope of the virus
- Maintain Social Distancing – Dr. Sy Garte, biologist and believer in Christ, explains in eight minutes why social distancing is so important. He says: “With school and church closures, cancellations of so many public events, working from home, some people are asking if this is a panic reaction. No, it isn’t. I have just uploaded a video showing why it’s necessary to practice social distancing NOW, even if not a single case of Covid 19 has appeared in your community. Please watch and spread the word.”
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Practice respiratory hygiene: Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene – covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze -, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
- Follow all instructions from your national and local Authorities
We need to flatten the curve
This article in the NYT explains why slowing the spread of the infection is nearly as important as stopping it:
“There are estimates that if nothing goes right and if we fail to flatten the curve and if health systems are overwhelmed, we might see the deaths of as many as a million and a half people in the United States”, says Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH and founder of Biologos, in an interview in which he not only takes a thorough review into the Covid-19 pandemic, but also delves into his deep faith, and his friendship with Christopher Hitchens. On his Blog, he has a post explaining that a recent genomic studies points to a natural origin of COVID-19: Do not listen to rumors, is an important advice.
In response to this ongoing public health emergency, we developed an interactive web-based dashboard hosted by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, to visualize and track reported cases in real-time. The dashboard, first shared publicly on January 22, illustrates the location and number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries for all affected countries.Mapping 2019-nCOV
This phylogeny shows evolutionary relationships of hCoV-19 (or SARS-CoV-2) viruses from the ongoing novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This phylogeny shows an initial emergence in Wuhan, China, in Nov-Dec 2019 followed by sustained human-to-human transmission leading to sampled infections. Although the genetic relationships among sampled viruses are quite clear, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding estimates of transmission dates and in reconstruction of geographic spread. Please be aware that specific inferred transmission patterns are only a hypothesis.Nextstrain.org/ncov