Coronavirus is the word on everybody’s lips currently. Were it not an unfortunate turn of phrase, we’d say that the media has a bad case of Coronavirus ‘fever’. This article is here to separate the facts from the myths.
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First things first. What exactly is Coronavirus? Coronavirus is not a single condition – it’s the umbrella term for a family of viral infections. The common cold is a form of Coronavirus, but so is SARs. As you can see, it’s a far-reaching definition.
The condition that has reached global epidemic status is the COVID-19 strain. As we all know, the condition was first brought to national attention in China. At the time of writing, Chris Witty – the UK’s Chief Medical Officer – rates Britain’s public risk as moderate. Now that the first person in the UK has died from the virus, he may be reviewing his statement.
Naturally, with everybody talking about this viral outbreak, misinformation is rife. In the age of social media, everybody appears to know a virologist that has inside information into what is afoot. Before panicking, it’s best to separate the facts from the fiction.
In order to manage Coronavirus for your business and employees, it’s essential to share appropriate information. A big part of this is ensuring that harmful myths about the condition – and how to manage it – are not needlessly spread.
One popular theory has claimed the COVID-19 virus cannot survive in cold weather. As Britain has recently been battered by rainstorms and snow is an ever-present threat, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the outbreak will be killed in its tracks.
Equally, some people have claimed that taking a hot, steamy bath will kill off the Coronavirus. It has also been stated that using a hand dryer will kill germs. Sadly, none of these theories are true. Weather and ambient temperature play no role in how long COVID-19 survives in the human body.
Our body temperature remains consistent, regardless of external factors. By exposing yourself to hot or cold temperatures, you’ll just make yourself uncomfortable. With the world already fearing the impact of COVID-19, nobody should expose themselves to further stress.
In addition, there is no need to boycott any goods and items imported from China as some businesses have allegedly attempted. Yes, COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for several days. By the time something has travelled through land, sea and road, however, the virus will have died off. It may have impacted workers that interact with the items in question, but that’s another story.
Finally, there is no point in investing in a thermal scanner to assess whether employees are infected with Coronavirus. These scanners will detect anybody with a fever, but this symptom could take up to five days to manifest. By this point, somebody infected with COVID-19 will already be contagious. A thermal scanner is basically locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
So, now that some of the less helpful untruths have been debunked, what are the cold, hard facts surrounding Coronavirus – and what can you do to prevent your entire staff team from being struck down?
First, let’s discuss what the NHS have described as the symptoms of Coronavirus.
Now, do you see a problem here? These are very generic symptoms. They could relate to COVID-19 – or they may be a result of living through a British winter, when a variety of less significant bugs are doing the rounds.
Err on the side of caution. Tell your staff not to come to work if they show any of these symptoms (though that’s sound advice anyway). It’s best to seek a formal diagnosis for Coronavirus, though. There is no need for an employee to stay away for a prolonged period if they just have a cold. If you are in doubt then alldayDr can consult via video consultation. Do not hesitate, download the app and book a same day appointment.
Whether you are a company owner, MD or a member of staff, whilst you are in your premises, take care of cleanliness and disinfection of surfaces. There is no need to wear a mask – in facts, there is little or no point, as airborne particles can still penetrate a face mask. Hand washing with a soap sanitiser and hot water is the best precaution, and self-isolation if you think you could have the virus.
Coronavirus has had a significant impact on global business. People are understandably reluctant to gather in masses, which means that many conferences, meetings and flights have been cancelled.
The truth is, unless somebody is unwell, business should continue as usual. People should feel comfortable going about their usual daily routines and commutes as long as they remain healthy.
If you are concerned about a staff member – or an employee is worried about the virus – a little flexibility is advisable. Permit your team to work from home if that is a realistic solution. If somebody turns up to work showing symptoms of Coronavirus, they should be sent home immediately and told not to return for 14 days. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
It may also be advisable to have a contingency plan for any staff shortages caused by Coronavirus. You may find your business short of multiple team members at once, which will obviously impact productivity.
Have a think about your sickness policy surrounding COVID-19, too. If somebody is infected, as discussed, the NHS advises a two-week quarantine. This could make some employees nervous. Two weeks without pay can have a significant impact on somebody’s life. Ensure that your staff members are looked after, so they do not return to work too soon in an act of financial desperation.
The Government are putting in place various guarantees on pay and tax breaks, but as usual, nothing is simple to understand, and it seems to depend on your contract of employment. A company owner needs to check out the rights of their staff if people are on particularly low wages.
The facts are this, anybody that suspects they may have Coronavirus should stay calm and dial 111. This is an NHS hotline dedicated to advice surrounding COVID-19. Alternatively, alldayDr can give a qualified GPs opinion in moments, you decide.
Under no circumstances should anybody rush to their local GP surgery or A&E. This will risk spreading the virus further – potentially infecting vulnerable individuals. For a one-on-one professional consultation, a service like alldayDr could also be considered.
There is presently no cure for Coronavirus, beyond letting the virus run its course. That means self-enforced isolation, plenty of fluids, and bed rest. Antibiotics will be redundant, as these are ineffective against viral infection.
Coronavirus, like Avian Flu, Swine Flu and Equine Flu before it, is concerning. Ultimately, however, it need not disrupt the running of a business too drastically. Be safe and sensible and encourage your employees to practice self-care. Eventually, the outbreak will pass – hopefully just in time for the sun to start shining again.