Here is our third special SDG Dispatch communication regarding the current virus situation.
Treatment and vaccine of the virus is currently being developed and while mankind is waiting for those – the best way we can fight a virus is to prevent infections in the first place.
Q: What can you do to prevent infections?
- Wash your hands thoroughly for about 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face and eating with unwashed hands
- Cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow or upper sleeve instead of your hands
- Wink as a form of greeting instead of shaking hands / hugging / kissing on cheeks
- Practice social distancing – refrain from large gatherings and crowded areas especially for those who are over 60 and/or have chronic medical conditions
- Wipe your phone, wallet, watch regularly
- Change your clothes before getting comfortable at home (ie. lying on bed)
- Do not spit in public (ie. grass patches, drains, dustbins)
- If unwell, wear a mask, see a doctor as soon as you can, avoid social contact and refrain from doctor-hopping
Q: Why is COVID-19 a pandemic?
There are three main reasons as to why the World Health Organisation (WHO) has labelled the virus as a pandemic.
1) Sudden – in a relatively short period of time (a few months), the virus has spread and many cases of outbreaks are being reported, above what is normally expected.
2) Widespread – The virus has spread through all continents except for Antartica. Starting from Wuhan, a city in China, the virus has since spread to other parts of China and is in more than 80 countries.
3) Mortality rate – While scientists are still working on the actual figures, the estimated mortality rate among Chinese patients is 3.6%. While outside of China, the mortality rate is about 1.5%.
Past coronaviruses have been dangerous but they had never been classified as a pandemic. SARS had a higher mortality rate of 10% but only 26 countries were affected with mostly being in China and Hong Kong (ie. not as widespread). The disease was also swiftly contained and hence never a pandemic. As for MERS, it had an even higher mortality rate of 35% but was not as contagious and circulated slowly (ie. not sudden nor widespread).
A pandemic means that the virus must be battled at an international level. Governments will shift focus from containment to mitigation, introducing various plans such as social distancing measures and everyone must work together to overcome this.
Q: Why do we need to be gowned up in dental clinics?
In a dental clinic, we come in close contact with patients and aerosol generating procedures are being carried out. Therefore, in order to protect our patients and team members, we have ensured that our colleagues are fully dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as long sleeved gowns, masks and gloves.
We also continue with a thorough two-tier screening of patients/ visitors who come into the clinics. First being carried out by Parkway Hospitals at the Medical Centre’s entrances and the second being at our front office counters. Hence, anyone who comes for their medical/dental appointments can feel reasonably safe.
Remember, we are all in this together, fighting a common enemy, COVID-19. Let’s continue to be vigilant and socially responsible as prevention is the best way to stop this virus.