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Research Last Updated: Feb 23, 2020 - 2:01:13 PM

Psychological Impact of Covid-19 Outbreak on Public Behavior
By E. Kalair, N. Abas, N. Khan, Comsats, 21/2/20
Feb 23, 2020 - 9:33:33 AM

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Coronavirus epidemic has affected 77,940 people out of which 2,362 died and 21,295 recovered from 22 January to 22 February 2020. Covid-19 outbreak tests Chinese Government nerves, warning countries unprepared for similar recurrence of pandemic crises. No doubt coronavirus is a big epidemic of our times - causing huge economic losses – however, some blogs use it as an excuse to spread Sinophobia [Lucas 2020]. Coronavirus has killed so far 2,362 and seasonal flu took lives of more than 66,142 in this year. There are 5 million flue cases annually out of which 650,000 die worldwide, but instead of more deadly flu the coronavirus is in headlines [Tom 2020]. The Flu pandemic of 1918 killed more people in one year than four years long World War 1 [Sebastien 2020].

Coronavirus spreading rate (reproductive number Ro) has been estimated to be 2-3 that was 1.3 for common flue and 2 for SARS in 2003 [Shi 2020]. Outbreak disappears gradually when reproductive number is less than 1. Worldometers reported fatality rate for coronavirus to be 2.4% that was 10% for SARS in 2003 and 34% for MERS in 2012. Incubation period for coronavirus varies from 2 to 14 days. The virus is contagious in this period and patient shows no symptoms of disease (asymptomatic transmission). Coronavirus seriously affects old people with diabetes, asthma and heart problems. According to NHC 80% of those who died were over age of 60 and 75% had diabetes or heart problems. However, the coronavirus can affect people of all ages.


See live updates on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Viruses and bacteria enter human body through air, food, water and touch of infected things. Breath of patient is major cause of person to person transfer of coronavirus. Breathing and coughing in close spaces like trains, vehicles and airplanes mediates transfer of infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are caused by invisible microbes. Two major types of microbes are bacteria and virus. Bacteria are tiny microorganisms that are made up of a single cell. They require living cells or tissues to grow and prosper. Viruses can invade the cells of your body, using the components of your cells to grow and multiply. Some viruses even kill host cells as part of their life cycle. Viruses are much smaller in size than bacterium. Virus life span is much shorter than bacteria outside the host. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viral infections as they can't kill viruses. Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originated from food market in Wuhan. Chinese disease control and prevention authority connected dots of coronavirus outbreak to wild animals. Bats were claimed to host this virus which can transfer to humans through snakes, animals and birds. Once the virus reaches humans the person to person spread occurs. China decides to shutdown wild animal market during coronavirus outbreak.

According to New York Times, “Wuhan coronavirus outbreak spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts. Scientists do not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is, however, so there is uncertainty about how much damage a pandemic might cause, but there is growing consensus that the pathogen is readily transmitted between humans. But various epidemiological models estimate that the real number of cases is 100,000 or even more. While that expansion is not as rapid as that of flu or measles, it is an enormous leap beyond what virologists saw when SARS and MERS emerged.” [Donald 2020]. WHO has declared coronavirus a public health emergency, however, coronavirus outbreak is not yet pandemic as this description is reserved for an infectious disease threatening lots of people all over the world simultaneously [Michelle 2020]. Experts think coronavirus might soon become pandemic [Bill 2020].

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) first seen in KSA in 2012 then Korea in 2015 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in China from 2002 to 2003. SARS caused 774 deaths and 8,098 cases in 17 countries. Earlier MERS breakout reported 628 deaths and 1733 cases in 24 countries from 2012 to 2015 [Huizhong 2020]. On February 2, 2020 the Guardian reported 306 deaths and 14,380 cases of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China.  On February 3, 2020 CNN reported 362 deaths, 523 recoveries and 17,300 cases [Joshua 2020]. On February 4, 2020 worldometer reported 492 deaths, 907 recoveries and 24,552 cases [Worldometer 2020]. By February 5 the number of deaths increased to 565, recoveries to 1,173 and total cases to 28, 276. Media reports daily a few dozen more deaths and a few thousand more cases [Jessie 2020]. There are thousands people under observation, experts think the total cases might increase to 75,000 [Kieran 2020]. 

WHO has declared Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a global emergency [WHO 2020].  There are thirteen types of coronaviruses out of which only seven attack humans. Symptoms of coronavirus may appear in 2 to 14 days and more patients recover than die with corona virus. Current death rate is 1 out of every 50 cases. These seven sisters of coronavirus family are human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63), human coronavirus HKU1, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) also known as Wuhan coronavirus. Chinese Government has released $9 billion to disease control and prevention department to contain the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) [Reuters 2020].

Coronavirus is likely to peak by 6 February 2020 [Huaxia 2020].

The symptoms of corona virus are indigestion, cold, high fever and severe cough. The coronavirus (2019-nCoV) enters through nose into lungs to cause severe breathing difficulties. Ebola is not coronavirus, yet it is similar to SARS. Symptoms of Ebola are high fever, headache, Joint and muscle aches, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain and lack of appetite. In worst case, it causes bleeding inside the body, as well as from the eyes, ears, and nose. Some people will vomit or cough up blood, have bloody diarrhea, and get a rash. Doctors can test to rule out other diseases like cholera or malaria. According to a recent report by Lancet 98% coronavirus patients have fever, 76% cough and 55% short of breath. There is no treatment and no vaccine available. More details here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCG3xqtcL3c. According to New England Journal of Medicines, data based on the first 425 cases confirmed in Wuhan shows that 59 was the average age of those infected, 89%were not hospitalised until at least five days of illness, 56%of the cases were men and 55%of cases diagnosed before 1 January linked to seafood market

Human coronaviruses (HCoV) were first identified in the 1960s in the noses of patients with the common cold. Two human coronaviruses are responsible for a large proportion of common colds OC43 and 229E. According to WebMD, the symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper-respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won't know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus. It may be dangerous for older people, especially with weak immune system and other illnesses. Room temperature can kill most coronaviruses in 48 hours. Household disinfectants also kill coronaviruses. There is race among drug companies to develop vaccine for coronavirus patients. Experts see a long road ahead to invent, test and market vaccines for coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in future [Carl 2020]. Outbreak to treatment period is niche window in which conspiracies theories spread in social media.

The United States is expanding screening of arrivals from China from 5 to 20 airports and would consider imposing further travel curbs. There are more than 23,000 Pakistani students and 5000 traders in China. There are 500 students in Wuhan out of which four have been reported infected with coronavirus. According to a student from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, there are about 200 Pakistani students in the institute, and a total of 2,000 in other universities of the city. There are 50,000 Pakistani students studying abroad. Chinese government has quarantined more than 60 million people in 31 cities to contain the spread of coronavirus [Tony 2020; Emily 2020].
According to health correspondent James Gallagher, “Many low and middle income countries simply lack the tools to spot or contain it. The fear is it could spread uncontrollably and that it may go unnoticed for some time. Remember this is a disease which emerged only last month - and yet there are already almost 10,000 confirmed cases in China…The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa - the largest in human history - showed how easily poorer countries can be overwhelmed by such outbreaks….Ebola, 2014 - The first emergency over the virus lasted from August 2014 to March 2016 as almost 30,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in West Africa. Swine flu, 2009 -The H1N1 virus spread across the world in 2009, killing more than 200,000 people.” [James 2020].

Coronavirus symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, fatigue, a cough in rare cases, fever, a sore throat and exacerbated asthma. There is no cure, so treatments include taking care of yourself and over-the-counter (OTC) medication rest and avoid overexertion, drink enough water, avoid smoking and smoky areas, take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and fever, use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer. The virus responsible can be diagnosed by taking a sample of respiratory fluids, such as mucus from the nose, or blood.

According to medical news today, “Coronaviruses can spread by coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth can disperse droplets into the air, spreading the virus, touching or shaking hands with a person that has the virus can pass the virus from one person to another, making contact with a surface or object that has the virus and then touching your nose, eyes, or mouth, on rare occasions, a coronavirus may spread through contact with feces… To prevent transmission, be sure to stay at home and rest while experiencing symptoms and avoid close contact with other people.” [MNT 2020].

According CDC, “There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.” [CDC 2020]. Evacuation of infected people to their countries worldwide is not good idea. Experts may help China by inventing treatment. Honey, olive oil, ginger and turmeric are natural foods increasing internal immunity. A dramatic increase in face mask sale was observed in last week. Experts hold face masks spread virus if not worn properly. A Canadian scientist claims that salty masks can kill corona virus [Ben 2020]. These preventive measures are better than doing nothing, waiting for lighting to strike.

Keeping in mind “prevention is better than treatment” take all possible precautionary measures. Wash hands with soap and avoid touching surfaces outside. Tissue papers used by patient be disposed properly. There is no injection against coronavirus (2019-nCoV) at the moment. Doctors can use fever reducing medicines against high fever. This virus affects lungs that causes short breath. In worst case artificial breathing might be required. In case of cough put two spoons honey and little black pepper in warm water to drink. In case of infection put one spoon of turmeric, one spoon olive and one spoon honey in one cup of warm milk to drink. Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah proposes to take mint, fennel seed, cinnamon, and turmeric tea for running nose and throat infection [Asif 2020].

Use honey and little black pepper in warm water to treat the cough, and use turmeric, olive and honey in warm milk to treat infected persons. Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a real global emergency that needs to be dealt with accordingly. Many countries are evacuating their citizens. Chinese government has allocated lot of funds to control and contain coronavirus. They are building coronavirus (2019-nCoV) hospital in Wuhan in ten days as they built SARS hospital in seven days in Beijing in 2003. China is fighting back to contain the deadly virus but globalization, human rights and activists decelerating her efforts. Evacuation of American, British and Japanese nationals in China has increased chances of global spreading of this deadly virus to more people half-a-world away.

New virus news started coming in early December in China. Chinese officials wasted golden window from 15-12-2019 to 15-1-202 to control and contain the virus. Politicians often ignore technocrats until a visible disaster starts prevailing. Professor Pei says, “I would think first about how it will reflect upon me, then I just kick the ball upstairs. I just keep kicking it upstairs, and wait for decision-making.” According to media reports, “On the first day of 2020, authorities interrogated eight Wuhan doctors and accused them of “rumormongering” for simply posting about the virus.” [Lenora 2020].

Political leaders discourage rumors creating chaos, law and order issues. Deadly virus outbreak is certainly a panic creating news that needs authenticity before declaration. Leaders see many things like business, economy and political fallout of declaring epidemic outbreak. The airlines, trains, buses, markets and roads have been shut down everywhere in coronavirus epicenter. Coronavirus is actually a challenge for Chinese – and global - virologists, not politicians. The political economic systems have evolved so the politicians take decisions, not virologists. Virologists are medical doctors that oversee the diagnosis, management and prevention of infection. They're also scientists, who may drive research on various aspects of viruses. A virologist may be both a scientist and a physician.


Lucas L de A, Coronavirus Is Becoming a Western Excuse for Sinophobia and “China-Bashing”
Global Research, February 10, 2020. https://www.globalresearch.ca/coronavirus-western-excuse-sinophobia/5703277

Tom C, 5 Million Cases Worldwide, 650, 000 Deaths Annually: The Seasonal Flu Virus is a “Serious Concern”, But the Wuhan Coronavirus Grabs the Headlines, Global Research, January 27, 2020, https://www.globalresearch.ca/flu-bigger-concern-wuhan-virus-grabs-headlines/5701932

Sebastien R, Forget the Coronavirus: The Flu Pandemic of 1918 Killed More People in One Year than all of World War I, The National Interest, 15 February 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/news/forget-coronavirus-flu-pandemic-1918-140000412.html

Shi Z, Qianyin L, Jinjun R, Salihu SM, Guangpu Y, Weiming W, Yijun L, Daozhou G, Lin Y, Daihai H, Maggie HW, Preliminary estimation of the basic reproduction number of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China, from 2019 to 2020: A data-driven analysis in the early phase of the outbreak, International Journal of Infectious Diseases - Jan. 30, 2020

Donald GM, Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say, NY Times, 2 February 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/02/health/coronavirus-pandemic-china.html

Michelle R, Coronavirus: Could it become pandemic? BBC, 3 February 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51358459

Bill B, Scientists say the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak could soon be declared a pandemic. Here's what that means, Business Insider, 3 February 2020. https://www.businessinsider.com/wuhan-coronavirus-pandemic-what-that-means-epidemic-difference-2020-2

Huizhong W, Judy H, China virus toll passes 130 as U.S. weighs flight ban, Reuters, 29 January 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/news/chinas-hubei-province-center-virus-224943565.html

Joshua B, Brett M, Adam R, Amy W, More people have died from Wuhan coronavirus than SARS in mainland China, CNN, 3 February 2020. https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-02-03-20-intl-hnk/index.html

Worldometers.Com: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ 4 February 2020.

Jessie Y, Steve G, Ivana K, Nearly 12,000 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, CNN, 1 February 2020. https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-02-01-20-intl-hnk/index.html
Kieran C, The real number of coronavirus cases is more than 75,000, according to a scientific model that says the outbreak will double in size every 6.4 days, Yahoo News, 1 February 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/news/real-number-coronavirus-cases-more-045024008.html

WHO, Coronavirus Live Updates: Number of Deaths Surpasses 200, and W.H.O. Declares Global Health Emergency, New York Times, 30 January 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/world/asia/coronavirus-china.html

Reuters, China allots nearly US$9 billion to contain spread of coronavirus, Straits Times, 27 January 2020. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/china-allots-nearly-us9-billion-to-contain-spread-of-coronavirus
Huaxia, Novel coronavirus outbreak may reach peak in one week or about 10 days: expert, Xinhua, 28 January 2020. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/28/c_138739773.htm

Carl OD, Michael E, Drug makers see long road ahead in coronavirus vaccine race, Physicians Weekly, 5 February 2020. https://www.physiciansweekly.com/drugmakers-see-long-road/

Tony M, Muyu X, China vows to beat 'devil' virus as countries rush to evacuate citizens, Reuters, 28 January 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-records-first-virus-death-044335206.html

Emily F, 45 Million Chinese Now Under Quarantine As Officials Try To Halt Coronavirus Spread, NPR.ORG, 27 January 2020. https://www.npr.org/2020/01/27/800158025/45-million-chinese-now-under-quarantine-as-officials-try-to-halt-coronavirus-spr

James G, Preparing other countries, BBC, 31 January 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51318246

MNT, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256521.php, Medical News Today 20-1-2020.

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html, 2020.

Ben C, Salty masks could kill coronavirus, New Atlas, 31 January 2020. https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/salty-masks-kill-coronavirus/

Asif MJ, How to protect against corona virus, Daily Express, 30 January 2020.

Lenora C, Coronavirus outbreak highlights cracks in Beijing’s control, Yahoo News, 1 February 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak-highlights-cracks-beijing-215649732.html

Source:Ocnus.net 2020

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