DailyOh! Why coronavirus vaccine could be the fastest vaccine ever, to Covidiot Of The Day

The virus outbreak that fizzled out before the vaccine was ready.

 |  6-minute read |   24-03-2020
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Hey there,

India has crossed the 500 mark, with 523 being tested positive for the novel coronavirus so far. Thirty-seven of these people have recovered, while nine have died of the disease so far. Maharashtra alone has reported 101 of these 523 cases. The situation is serious. And that is why we are being told to stay at home. We hope you are being responsible towards your life and the lives of others that you might risk by not being responsible. Stay home. We might sound repetitive, but stay home.

main_students-in-mas_032320113421.jpgMaharashtra alone has reported 101 Covid-19 cases. (Photo: Reuters)

You might already know by now that Bengal reported its first death yesterday. The relatives of the 57-year-old deceased man refused to come to AMRI Hospital fearing they would also get infected with the virus. The man’s wife is already in an isolation ward in another hospital so she couldn’t sign the papers to get the body released. Authorities then went to the other hospital to get her signatures. When the body reached the cremation ground, the locals and staff refused to let the last rites be performed. The body was finally taken to an electric crematorium. So, how dangerous is the body of a person who dies of Covid-19?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says: not at all.

“Contrary to common belief, there is no evidence that corpses pose a risk of epidemic disease after a natural disaster. Most agents do not survive long in the human body after death. Human remains only pose a substantial risk to health in a few special cases, such as deaths from cholera or haemorrhagic fevers,” says WHO.

However, WHO also says, “Workers who routinely handle corpses may however risk contracting tuberculosis, blood-borne viruses (eg hepatitis B and C and HIV) and gastrointestinal infections.”

In times of confusion, ask the expert. And please know that Googling doesn’t make us an expert.

Amid the scare of the coronavirus, a man in China is reported to have died of hantavirus. Since the man had travelled from Yunan province to Shandong, people who were on the bus with him have been tested. Their results are awaited.

However, the Hanta virus, named after Hantan river in South Korea, is not known to pass on from people to people. The virus normally infects rodents, but does not lead to any diseases in them. It gets to humans through contact with rodent urine, saliva, or feces. In humans, it causes fatigue, fever and muscle ache. Do you know how the disease spread in The Four Corners in 1993?

No, by The Four Corners we do not mean it spread to all four corners of the world (the world doesn't have corners technically, but you get our point). The Four Corners was actually an area shared by Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah.

So, it spread in The Four Corners because of a sudden increase in the number of mice. And why did the sudden increase happen? The area had been battling a drought for many years. In early 1993, heavy snowfall and rains revived the growth of drought-stricken plants and animals in unusually high numbers. With plenty to eat, the mice in the area reproduced so rapidly that there were 10 times more mice in May 1993 than there had been in May 1992.

New viruses keep affecting human populations from time to time. Then humans race to find vaccines for them. This is a classic cat-and-mouse game we have been playing for decades. The mice too, as we told you, can pass on viruses to us.

coronavirus-690_032420030412.jpgNew viruses keep affecting human populations from time to time. Then humans race to find vaccines for them. (Photo: Reuters)

Now, talking of vaccines, human trials for the coronavirus vaccine have already started. Read more about that here.

But it will still take about a year to a year and a half for us (we mean scientists) to get the vaccine ready. You think that’s a long time? Well, if that happens, it would be the fastest we would get a vaccine. No other vaccine has come close to being developed this quickly. When the Zika outbreak happened in 2015, the vaccine was ready for testing in about seven months.

Interestingly, the epidemic had fizzled out by the time the vaccine could be sent through clinical trials. We hope the coronavirus outbreak fizzles out too.

For now, it is showing no such signs. It is serious. And we can’t say this enough. Do you know that even during times of war, the Indian Railways had not suspended train services in the country?

But this time, it had to. It is that serious. So please stay in self-isolation.

Since we were talking about vaccines, let us talk about it some more. Vaccine is our Word Of The Day. Did you know vaccine has a cow connection? The word was coined by Edward Jenner and comes from the Latin word vacca, which means cow.

A virus that mainly affects cows (cowpox) was used in the first scientific demonstration to prove that giving a person one virus could protect her against a related and more dangerous one. When you chit chat with your friends over phone, since you can’t meet them, do tell them this. Also, do ask them how they are feeling because many of us may not be finding it easy to cope with this. Tell them this will be over soon, provided we are all careful and not Covidiots.

Wondering who is a Covidiot? Well, anyone who refuses to let go of idiocy even in a time like this. We will be identifying such people every day, starting today, and telling you about them so that you stay away from them, because we know you are not one of them.

So, our Covidiot Of The Day today are the residents of the society in which IndiGo crew member Amrita Saha stays. Listen to how these idiots are treating Amrita’s mother:

Amrita is out helping people reach home because she works for an airline. Back in her society, her mother is being harassed by the locals who are telling her 'you have corona'. She is not allowed to step out even to buy basic essentials.

If this is happening in your society too, please tell them to behave better. Tell them to not be a covidiot. This is a difficult time for all of us. Let’s not make it any more difficult for people.

Amid the despair, some glimmer of hope came in from Italy today. The number of deaths and newer cases are seeing a fall. Even though over 600 people died yesterday, the numbers have fallen for two days straight. Italy has been so badly battered, it will take a long while to find its feet. We hope it recovers well.

There is so much to like and love about Italy – its architecture, its culture, its fashion. But there is something else too that is unique about Italy. The Credito Emiliano bank.

The bank, believe it or not, accepts cheese as collateral for loans. So while banks accept gold and silver as collateral across the world, you can give cheese and take money from the bank. And that’s because it doesn’t accept ordinary cheese. It accepts stuff like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which for example, needs to be aged 18-36 months. Just one wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano could be worth thousands of dollars. Not a bad investment, we say. We just hope the mice don't find it, that's all.

And amid demands that the Indian government take steps to calm businesses and help people who run the risk of losing livelihood, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced some measures. The last date of filing Income Tax returns for the financial year 2018-19 has been extended to June 30, 2020. The last date earlier was March 31, 2020. So you get three extra months to file your IT returns for 2018-19 if you haven't already done it.

Also, the interest rate on delayed payments has been reduced from 12 per cent to 9 per cent. If you want to know about the other measures announced, read this.

We know this is difficult, but you know that it will all pass. 

If the blues are getting on to you, listen to this:

Share with your loved ones. At home, where you are supposed to be.

We will see you tomorrow.

Also read: DailyOh! Covid-19 makes Queen Elizabeth move to Windsor Castle. The royal family hid there during World War 2

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