I spent all of Tuesday speaking with infectious disease experts on the coronavirus outbreak and its effects in the US and the globe.
It was not a pleasant conversation, but what struck the health professionals, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak, is that no one is telling the public what will be the real impact of Covid-19 on society.
The number of deaths that these officials have projected in the US may be as high as 450,000, which puts it much higher than a typical flu season. People over 60 years old are more prone, but infectious disease experts cautioned younger people with compromised health problems including being overweight could possible be susceptible as well.
Roughly 80% of the population will experience a mild reaction. They will be infectious for 3-5 days before experiencing symptoms, which allows for community spread.
Once you feel temperature and muscle aches try to self-isolate to curtail further spreading of the virus.
The health pros estimate that this outbreak will be with us for at least 6-8 months from today. This is not a three-day snowstorm as one doctor put it. Warmer weather will not cause this outbreak to die back like the seasonal winter flu.
The outbreak will only subside when most have built up an immunity to Covid-19.
So closing schools and quarantining neighborhoods or countries may be the least of our problems in the months to come when trying to contain the pandemic.
None of the interviewees thought there would be a vaccine anytime soon, despite reports in the news. The timeline for developing a vaccine is the beginning of 2021 at the earliest due to testing and trials needed before being market ready.
As far as bolstering your immune system, there is nothing more you can do than eat a good diet and get plenty of sleep. Vitamins and supplements do little to raise your immunity for fighting off the infection.
The experts said that at some point the panic will subside and the portion of the population most susceptible to require hospitalization as a result of Covid-19 will have to self isolate as much as possible.
None of the experts thought this virus came from a lab in China, but believe it mutated from an animal based on studies of the virus. Whether it began in the wet market in Wuhan is still unknown at this time, they agreed.
My takeaway from the conversations is this: Do not let the media hype throw you into a panic state. This will be with us for a while and you need to get past the initial fears to modify your life in whatever way you can to cope.
A healthy immune system is compromised by stress, so don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the panic. Remember this too shall pass.