What will get us back to normal?
As I shelter in place waiting out the novel coronavirus storm, I can’t help but to reflect that by doing this, I am doing my part to reduce the chances of transmission and fight this pandemic. With this extra time on my hands (and further reflection), I believe I’ve identified five crucial areas that will get us back to normality.
1. Personal protection equipment and beyond
Most of us think of safety products and personal protective equipment (PPE) as the face masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer and face shields that are needed by our health professionals to treat patients with this disease. By extension though, social distancing, sheltering in place, and constant hand washing are crucial in our protection and the protection of others.
When you know who is sick, you can prevent the transmission of disease and treat accordingly. For those who aren’t sick and remain vigilant, be confident they will not put others at risk. This information offers a better understanding of the virus’s progress through the population, where to focus preventative measures, and how those measures are working. Virus testing using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is used to help identify the genetic material of the virus to indicate if you are infected, and serological testing identifies the antibodies indicating your body has been infected. Testing offers the data to know what is happening around the world.
3. Medical intervention
As we better understand Covid-19 and its pathology, we now know that the virus has an R naught value of 2 to 2.5, making it very infectious. We also know people will go to the hospital and an unacceptable number of people will die. With this type of respiratory virus, a patient’s ability to breath is impeded and medical intervention including additional oxygen and even ventilation becomes necessary. As institutions work hard to prepare for and deal with this front-line response, there’s an effort to develop more PPE and ventilators, as well as identify existing drugs for clinical trials to determine efficacy against Covid-19. Along with looking at existing therapeutics, there are also efforts to develop new drugs and antibody therapeutics but these will take time. In the mean time, is imperative to keep our medical professionals healthy, arm them with the equipment they need, and fast track any potential therapeutics.
4. A vaccine
The development of a safe and reliable vaccine is the endgame in our fight against Covid-19. With a vaccine, we can inoculate ourselves against the disease. The development of a vaccine is a global effort between governments and private companies to identify potential vaccine candidates, take them through clinical trials, and scale up vaccine production for billions of people. The prospects for a vaccine look promising. Innovation, creativity and necessity will make it a reality sooner than later.
Cole-Parmer has been identified as an essential business in the fight against this novel coronavirus, because we support the essential businesses working on virus testing and vaccine research and development with equipment, instruments, and supplies for research and testing, fluid handling, temperature monitoring, and more.
As I reflect on the fifth crucial area it is apparent it is not based in the science of combating this pandemic but maybe the glue that holds everything together.
We have all found ourselves in a common fight; a fight that has us isolated, uncertain about the future, and struggling with the news each and every day. I would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t had everyday life disrupted. More than ever, a smile, a wave, a phone call, or a helping hand (when someone can’t get to the store) can make a big difference. These are simple reminders that we are not alone in this fight, and that together we will get through this.
Stay safe and stay healthy.
Read more about virus testing.
Image courtesy of Jayakumar Ananthan, public domain.