Saturday Feb 01, 2020
Infectious diseases specialist Dr Asma Nasim said that people should not fear the new coronavirus, assuring that it was no different from other flu viruses. .
Dr Nasim was invited to speak on Geo News’ morning show, 'Geo Pakistan' to talk about the new virus which has caused panic and hysteria worldwide.
"The mortality rate of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was 20 percent while the ratio of the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is nearly 35 percent. The new coronavirus’ mortality rate is a mere four to five per cent," she said.
She advised people not to panic saying that it is just a virus which causes flu, coughing and cold. Dr Nasim said that it was natural for the virus to cause some deaths as it was new and there aren't vaccines or a cure for it yet.
Nasim said that if there were a vaccine for it, the coronavirus-related death toll wouldn’t have surged to such an extent. She spoke about SARS, which was also a coronavirus that had spread from China to Canada and many other countries, saying that the coronavirus was not as dangerous.
Dr Nasim praised China for diagnosing the virus quicker than expected — within two to three weeks— as compared to diagnosing SARS which took five months to diagnose.
"Ignorance is bliss," she said. "We are worrying about it [coronavirus] as we are aware of it. If we didn't know, we wouldn't be panicking," she added.
She explained that the virus had been transmitted from bats to humans when the former sneezed or coughed and its germs were transferred to the latter.
"Animals also suffer from upper respiratory problems," she said. "All animals that have lungs can fall prey to infections. Hence the virus spread when bats sneezed or coughed and their germs transferred to humans from the air," she added.
“People should avoid coughing and sneezing on their bare hands and use their elbows instead [to cover their nose and mouth],” she said.
“If you cannot use your elbow then take a tissue paper and throw it in the trash can immediately after use,” she expressed.
She told people to wash their hands as soon as they coughed or sneezed to ensure hand hygiene. Dr Nasim also said that hand sanitizers should be used to keep germs away.
“If someone is suffering from severe cough and cold then he/she should wear a mask,” she advised.