Commercial Insurance Blog

Preparing for the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus has left China, it is no longer contained and is spreading around the world.   The world’s stock markets are more than 10% off their highs from a week ago, and financial people argue whether the effect will be short (bounce back) or longer.  We don’t know, but will know more about containment within the next week or two.

We do know a little about the Coronavirus.  What we know helps us assess and manage the risk.

What are the symptoms?  Just like the flu:

  • Cough
  • coronavirusFever
  • Shortness of breath.

One of the things about shortness of breath is a higher incidence than flu with CoVid-19 of developing pneumonia: fluid in the lungs.  Think complications.

Does a face mask help?

According to the CDC, a face mask won’t stop airborne particles from entering your lungs.  But if you have symptoms, a face mask will help prevent further spread.  Thus, if you start to feel like the flu, use a face mask to protect others.

How virulent is this disease?

At the latest count from Johns Hopkins, there were 2,867 deaths reported from 83,862 cases, or about 3% mortality, much higher than flu, not close to Ebola nor the 1917 Spanish Flu.    No deaths have been reported in the United States. 

How contagious is the disease?

A patient in California was recently diagnosed with no known recent travel, or connection to anyone traveling from China.   The speed with which this spread in China, and then escaped China, suggest high contagiousness.  It is most contagious when at its worst in the patient, but may be contagious 2-4 days before a patient shows any symptoms.  The CDC suggests keeping at least six feet distance from others to avoid inhaling respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze.

What to do

  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick, of anything, but especially coughing.
  • Wash your hands frequently through the day: soap and warm water.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Did we mention, wash your hands yet?

How long does it last on a surface?

If it behaves like its cousins MERS and SARS, this virus can last for over a week on a dry surface.  The good news is that ordinary household cleaners with a little bleach and / or hydrogen peroxide will kill the virus in minutes. 

Is there a vaccine?

Not yet, but Gilead Science is in late stage studies and Moderna has submitted a batch for clinical trials after sequencing the virus’s RNA.   Mass production won’t be available for months.

What else can we do?

Avoid crowds.  Schools in Hong King have moved most classes on-line.  Teachers work from home and student study from home.  Here at Gordon Atlantic, we are equipping more employees to be able to work from home.  We’re urging everyone to wash their hands after contact with customers, as well as when returning home after work or shopping or other interactions with others.

Be smart, be informed.   Wash your hands.

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