Badrudeen Olaide D.
On Wednesday (22/04/2020), I read and learnt that about 25% of those with Covid-19 in Nigeria have no travel history or contact with infected persons. That’s according to the NCDC. Now, this is possible, it was first observed in Italy some months back, and later in the US.You can be locked in at home, and the virus still meets you there. The means is MONEY, cash!
Yea, long ago during one of my safety, I learnt that money(cash) is the most exposed ‘entity’ in the universe. That money in your hand, depending on how long it has been in circulation, most likely has travelled more than you. So even before Covid-19, I had learnt to wash my hands after every contact with cash. This is difficult, but I have done it for over 6years now and it has become part of me.
This is important because people can sanitise that hands, and right afterwards dispense or handle cash. Our idea of washing hands is mostly after meeting people or touching frequently touched surfaces out there, and not after touching money, especially at home. So we may buy biscuit or groundnut, pay for it and start eating right away. It’s normal, but it may be risky at times.
The coronavirus is said to be able to live for about three days on some surfaces, like plastic and steel, new research suggests. Experts say the risk of consumers getting infected from touching those materials is still low, although they offered additional warnings about how long the virus survives in air, which may have important implications for medical workers.
When suspended in air, some of the Coronavirus don’t remain active in air or surfaces for as long at temperatures higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). The authors also found that these coronaviruses can be effectively wiped away by household disinfectants.
For example, disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can “efficiently” inactivate coronaviruses within a minute, according to the study.
It was also added that this novel coronavirus may spread through currency notes, credit and debit cards, according to the World Health Organisation. The means of reducing the spread of the disease has now been suggested to include the use of contactless payment systems like UPI, IMPS, RTGS, Mobile wallets and Net banking aside the other recommended preventive measures (Hand washing, covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing, maintaining distance from other people), experts feel.
The virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy (it can only stay suspended for about a half-hour, researchers said, before drifting down) to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 metre of a person who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands according to World Health Organization.
After entering the body, the virus spreads to the back of the nasal passage and to mucous membranes in the throat, attaching to the body’s cell receptors i.e ACE-2.
The viral particles hook onto the outer walls of the host’s cells, the virus’s genetic material breaches the cell membrane, and it then hijacks the cell into making more copies of the virus. The virus copies proliferate, break out of the cell, and infect other cells in the body. A single cell can churn out millions of copies of the virus before it dies.
The virus then moves from the back of the throat down the bronchial tubes toward the lungs, according to a report from The New York Times based on interviews with leading experts in infectious diseases.
The infection can then reach the lungs, causing inflammation in their mucous membranes and damaging their air sacs. The inflammation hampers the lungs’ ability to oxygenate the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the bloodstream.
The inflammation in the lungs, and their reduced efficacy, can cause them to fill with fluids, pus and dead cells, and cause an infection, leading to pneumonia.
Some people who are infected have difficulty breathing and require a ventilator, and for others, the lungs become so inundated with fluids that even with intervention, they die.
People suffering from pneumonia are also at a heightened risk for secondary viral and bacterial infections.
Pneumonia caused by the coronavirus appears to be more severe than most cases of the disease, and affects a greater portion of the lungs, experts told The Guardian newspaper. Pneumonia is usually caused by a bacterial infection, which can be treated with antibiotics.
The virus can also enter the bloodstream, and may be able to infect the gastrointestinal system, causing symptoms like diarrhoea and indigestion. The infection can also directly damage organs including the heart, kidneys, and liver, and cause bone marrow to become inflamed. Small blood vessels may also be vulnerable to inflammation.
The body’s own immune response to the infection can cause inflammation and organ malfunction. It is still unclear if the brain is affected.
The Centers for Disease Control said the virus has been detected in blood and stool specimens, but it is unclear whether it can spread through any bodily fluids.
Now scientists have not really proven how long the virus can last on things like paper money. You may not sanitise every cash with you, but you sure can sanitise your hands after every cash transaction. So add that to your routine this season, to wash your hands after every contact with cash.
May God almighty help us in conquering this COVID-19 pandemic as soon as possible.
May God bless.
Badrudeen Olaide D.
(Department of Medical Laboratory Science)