The COVID-19 outbreak sweeping the world……

Hi guys! How is your day going? It is currently Week 2 and I am fighting my own laziness… I feel a bit unmotivated and always procrastinate my revision. I really need some stimuli to boost me up, break the cycle of laziness and get back to my peak condition in studying. Maybe I have to plan out a timetable and list out all the report deadlines to break the misconception that there is still plenty of time to get the work done. Hahaha.

Recently, there are virus outbreaks happening almost all over the world: the COVID-19 outbreak (Wuhan coronavirus outbreak) in Asia, and the seasonal influenza cases in USA. The unexpectedly high increase in the number of confirmed cases has greatly alarmed the public and the government. Based on the data from WHO on 13 Feb 2020, there are 46 997 confirmed cases and 1369 deaths, the number is increasing even now when you are reading my blog. This somehow causes people to become panic and anxious.

 As you might have noticed, there is a severe shortage of surgical masks worldwide. In Guildford, I hardly can find any surgical face masks available in Boots and other pharmacies. Eventually, I found that there are some stocks left in a pharmacy of 10 mins walking distance from my house. BUT… it costs me 69 pounds for 50 pieces… Normally, it costs only 15 pounds. The price has increased by almost 5 times! Well, the law of supply and demand has been perfectly demonstrated: If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, then it leads to higher equilibrium price and higher quantity.XD

The Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level was raised from yellow to orange in Singapore, amid indications that the disease known as Covid-19 was spreading in the community. This has sparked panic-buying of essentials by Singaporeans. They even crossed the Johor–Singapore Causeway, bought and stocked up with instant noodles, tinned food, or toilet paper.

Up to the present, there have been nine confirmed cases in the UK. The official assessment of the risk by the UK authorities remains moderate. Therefore, I think that the condition is under control. Hence, we go to the uni every day as usual, without wearing masks. However, the outbreak remains a key issue. Senior staff at the university are meeting frequently to oversee and manage the preparations and response to the emerging situation. Therefore, we are regularly updated about the coronavirus outbreak and some advice via email from our university. Moreover, a number of hand sanitising gel dispensers are now provided across campus, especially in busy locations, in order to help us maintain good hygiene. We can always see posters in both English and Mandarin Chinese to provide students with advice and guidance from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England.

Here are some general advice on stopping infection and viruses spreading from our uni:

(in case you didn’t see the email)

•             Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

•             Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

•             Avoid close contact with people who are sick

•             If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school

•             Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.

hand sanitising gel dispensers in front of Simply Fresh

Interestingly, since I am a biomedical science student, my course mates and I are very into the coronavirus infection. We discussed the possible aetiology, pathogenesis and potential treatment. For example, do you know why there is no targeted medicine for viruses? Unlike bacteria, virus hijacks the host’s cellular machinery. If you target the virus itself, you are targeting your own cells as well. Therefore, current antiviral drugs either inhibit the viral development, or relieve the symptoms. It is all upon your immune system to fight against viral infection. That’s the reason why babies and the elderly are more susceptible to viral infection: their immune systems are somehow compromised.

Furthermore, we also try to predict the development of the outbreak. eg. when the outbreak will come to an end, how the outbreak will end. In addition, my lecturers use coronavirus outbreak as an example during lectures. This further intrigues me to delve deeper about viral infection and coronavirus.

Well, health is wealth. During this critical period, we really have to take care of ourselves. Avoid going to crowded places, do exercise, eat well, and sleep well 😊 This somehow strengthens our immune system to avoid viral infection. Best Wishes to Wuhan, China. Stay Strong!