Perhaps the most dreadful buzz word now all over the web and world is “Coronavirus“. Medically termed as COVID-19. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
The health regulatory authority, WHO has cautioned a major outbreak across America and Asian nations. The WHO also describes COVID-19 as deadlier than the flu and has estimated the global death rate to be 3.4 percent, a figure that primarily reflects China’s large outbreak, but also takes into account the spread in other countries.
What’s the Underlying Risk?
The disease is believed to be most contagious when people are the most symptomatic, and there may be some spread before people with the virus exhibit symptoms, although this is thought to be minimal. Symptoms can appear anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure.
Doctors say the most important route of transmission is likely close contact (six feet or less) with sick patients who spread respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze. The risk of spread from asymptomatic people, and from touching surfaces and objects contaminated with virus is much lower than droplets spread from sick patients. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions appear to be at highest risk for the virus, but people at any age have also been infected.
Precautionary Measures to Ensure Safer Train Travel During the Pandemic
- Avoiding travelling to infection-laden areas is your best bet to protect against Coronavirus. If you cannot restrict, change or avoid travelling altogether.
- Wash Your Hands Frequently: A basic hygiene habit, washing your hands rigorously can curb the risk of infection spread. When you travel, you come in contact with a lot of places and things which can be a breeding house for germs. While many use a sanitizer, remember, they can only act as a backup and not replace the effectiveness of hand-washing. It is recommended that you wash your hands under lukewarm (or hot) water for a minimum of 20-30 seconds to kill germs.
- Use Only Bottled Water and Beverages: Perhaps the easiest way to prevent any water borne infection is to prevent consumption of water from any random source. Order bottled drinking waters from e-catering services in train.
- Avoid Food From Random vendors and Order from E-Catering FSSAI Approved Restaurants: Avoid raw fruits and food from random sellers as they are highly prone to contaminations. Order food online in train from e-catering FSSAI approved restaurants only which offer hygienic food with rich packaging.
- Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose and Mouth Frequently with Bare Hands: While masks won’t necessarily protect you from infection risk altogether, what one shouldn’t do is frequently touch the eyes, mouth and the nose, especially with unwashed hands.
- Spread the Hygiene Awareness: As important as it is to limit your contact with those who are sick, it is also crucial you maintain distance from others if you are sick or think you are developing symptoms of any disease when you are travelling, on board a flight, trains where there’s a heavy crowd.
- Walk As Much As You Can: It’s not always possible but the best way to get around virus free is almost certainly to walk or cycle. Regular exercise of at least 150 minutes a week also protects you from heart and other vascular disease – a much bigger risk to your health than coronavirus in the long run.
Is there any Scientific Research Being Done to Get A Quick Fix?
- In a recent development, Google’s AI Wing named DeepMind has helped in predicting the protein layer models of the virus through their AI enabled “Free Modelling” technique. This can help the scientists to develop a, antibody for the target protein in near future.
- Researchers in Seattle have begun recruiting healthy volunteers to participate in a clinical trial for an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, according to news reports. The vaccine, developed by the biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics.
Apart from these, a lot of researchers from Boston are roped in to carry out research and develop a quick fix for the pandemic. One the whole, the current scenario is focused on “Preventive Measures”. Maintain Hygiene, Stay Safe!!
Suggested Read: Updated Guidelines and Safety Tips for Train Travelers in India.