How worried should we be about coronavirus?
I ask after waking up to email alerts from both school and nursery with official advice from Public Health England following increasing reports of coronavirus outbreaks in the UK.
It wasn’t long after the aforementioned email alert that our reception class WhatsApp group went into overdrive with – understandably – worried parents seeking reassurance and questioning whether we should even be sending the kids into school.
The question is, how worried should we be? What started on the other side of the world in China has suddenly appeared on our doorstep, and as a (quite heavily) pregnant mama, I’ll be honest: I’m worried.
Coronavirus: just how worried should we be?
According to Public Health England we should continue to treat any cold or flu-like symptoms as we usually would for seasonal flu or the common cold. And although the death rate for patients hospitalised at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak is nearly 20%, the mortality rate could be as low as 1% if all cases – not just the serious ones – are taken in account according to researchers at Imperial College, London.
Yet we’ve never had warning emails from school and nursery before. The kids have even been issued with anti-bacterial hand gel and given a special speech by their head teacher in assembly about the importance of covering their mouths when they cough and washing their hands with soap.
At the time of writing five people in our town (Brighton and Hove) have tested positive for the virus, and a GP surgery has closed because a member of staff allegedly has the virus (although it’s not clear whether they’re included in the five confirmed cases, or in addition to). Back on the reception class WhatsApp group mums are cancelling family celebrations, bulk buying anti bac hand gel and sharing increasingly alarming links to new cases of the virus.
Of course, it’s easy to get carried away and over think these things, and it’s easy to get swept up in collective concern voiced in WhatsApp groups too. Misery Guts is philosophical and reckons there’s not much we can do about it, but actually there is: we could all simply avoid other people and stay at home.
I have to say I’m glad it’s half term next week (not a sentence you’ll hear me say very often!) when we’ll be taking our three away from the city and into the country for a pre-planned visit to grandparents.
Yet the fact remains that not long after that I’m due to give birth in the very hospital where one of the cases of coronavirus was confirmed – and who knows how many cases there’ll be by then? Perhaps I’ll opt for the home birth I said I’d never have after all!
Are you worried about coronavirus? Have you had email alerts from school and nursery too? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!