Table of contents:

How to survive during a pandemic
How to survive during a pandemic

All of us need help to contain the spread of the virus.

How to survive during a pandemic
How to survive during a pandemic

What happened?

On March 11, the World Health Organization officially named WHO Director ‑ General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID ‑ 19 - March 11, 2020 the situation with the spread of COVID ‑ 19 a pandemic. This is not the first such announcement in history. For example, in 2009, the same status was given to swine flu, a viral strain of H1N1.

Then, more than a decade ago, everything ended pretty quickly and relatively well. Therefore, you should not be too nervous this time either. But one must be prepared for a possible development of events.

Today, the coronavirus is not officially called 2019 ‑ nCoV, but SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2. The disease it causes is called Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it COVID-2019.

What is a pandemic?

From ancient Greek, this word is translated simply - "all the people." Hence the meaning: a pandemic as defined by WHO What is a pandemic?, - the rapid spread of a new dangerous infection on a global ("nationwide") scale.

Over the centuries, a variety of pathogens have killed millions of people. For example, in the 20th century, humanity suffered three global outbreaks of influenza. The worst of them - the Spanish woman - claimed the lives of 50 to 100 million people, or from 3 to 5% of the total population of the planet 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics.

But why do pandemics happen in the modern world?

Diseases today are spreading faster than ever. This is due to the growth of cities, the popularity of long distance travel, lack of sanitation and control of disease vectors in some countries. The most famous dangerous viruses today are the pathogens of SARS (SARS ‑ CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS ‑ CoV), Ebola, and the Zika virus. And, of course, the SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 coronavirus is a close relative of SARS.

Until recently, doctors believed that the Pandemic Basics influenza virus would cause a new pandemic. It mutates easily, is transmitted by airborne droplets, and spreads widely before the first symptoms appear in patients.

But SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 appeared. And it's just as dangerous as the deadliest strains of the flu. For example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded many programs in the field of medical research and bioengineering for many years, has already suggested Responding to Covid-19 - A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic? that SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 is the "one in a century pathogen that we feared."


Bill Gates

First, in addition to the elderly with poor health, it can also kill healthy adults. Secondly, COVID-19 is extremely efficient in transmission. On average, one infected person infects two or three people - this is an exponential spread.

Why is a pandemic dangerous?

First of all, a large number of infected. As a consequence - the collapse of the health care system.

According to the latest data from the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), about 20% of those who become ill with COVID-19 require hospitalization. And 6% of them will not survive if they do not end up in intensive care units (intensive care units) equipped with artificial lung ventilation (ALV) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines. What is ECMO? …

The problem is that the health care systems in most countries are not designed to handle this burden.

If, for example, 100 thousand people fall ill at the same time, 20 thousand of them will need hospitalization. And 5 thousand - resuscitation. Meanwhile, the number of hospital beds is limited.

For example, in China there are 4 Hospital beds, 3 hospital beds for every thousand inhabitants. In the USA - 2, 8. In Italy - 3, 2. In Japan - 13, 1. In Russia - 8, 1.

This means that for an average city with a population of one million, for example, the United States has only 2,800 hospital beds. If 100 thousand people fall ill with coronavirus in the same conditional city, there will simply not be enough places in hospitals. Even for those who need intensive resuscitation.

Doctors will have to choose who to save and who to refuse treatment (and in general the ability to survive).

But problems will arise not only for those who get sick with COVID-19. Appendicitis, heart attack, stroke, anaphylactic shock, serious injuries sustained in road accidents and more - all patients with such deadly conditions, not to mention lighter conditions, will have to “queue up” for medical help. And it is far from the fact that it will be rendered. After all, there are also a limited number of doctors, and in a pandemic they will have to work literally for wear and tear.

Thus, mortality from coronavirus (and only in the United States, doctors predict One slide in a leaked presentation for US hospitals reveals that they’re preparing for millions of hospitalizations as the outbreak unfolds up to 480 thousand victims) will be complemented by a sharp increase in mortality from other causes. The inevitable panic and chaos will only exacerbate this situation.

What am I supposed to do?

First of all, do not ignore the calls of doctors and authorities. Do not try to calm yourself down with the illusions that this is a world conspiracy and, in general, "more people die from the flu - and nothing." Unfortunately, the current pandemic is much more serious than the flu.

A simple example: in Italy, for example, from all causes, including old age, illness, accidents, road accidents, and so on, die up to 1,800 people a day. The population of Italy. 10% of them are victims of the coronavirus (according to WORLD / COUNTRIES / ITALY data for the second week of March). No flu even dreamed of such figures WHO Director ‑ General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID ‑ 19 - 3 March 2020.

Most likely, there are now much more infected people than according to official figures. The fact is that COVID-19 has a long incubation period and symptoms that are often similar to SARS. Therefore, people tolerate it without going to doctors and without doing tests.

The experience of previous large-scale outbreaks of various diseases was not in vain for our civilization: experts have drawn conclusions. And the main one is Steps to Prevent Illness: each of us must do everything to avoid contracting the virus and not spreading it further.

This will not only save your and your family's health. But it will also help reduce the burden on the healthcare sector. This means that doctors will have more resources to help those who really need it.

That is why many countries are taking severe quarantine measures: they order citizens returning from "dangerous" countries not to leave their homes for two weeks, close schools, universities, entertainment centers, ask businesses to transfer employees to remote work, cancel mass events, restrict freedom meetings and even movement on city streets …

In China, it was this strategy that made it possible to stop the epidemic: it was only after almost two weeks of strict quarantine that the curve of new COVID-19 cases and deaths began to decline WORLD / COUNTRIES / CHINA.

What if there is no quarantine in my country yet?

You have to understand that it can be introduced. Therefore, it is worth thinking about the possibility of self-isolation now.

COVID-19 spreads by airborne droplets, so it is important to avoid crowded places: subways, airports, train stations, schools, supermarkets (try to move from the habit of making small purchases every day to buying in bulk once a week), hospitals.

Remember, the less often you go out and meet other people during a pandemic, the more likely you are to survive.

If a visit is still necessary, choose the most deserted time and strictly follow the basic rules of hygiene:

  • wash your hands more often - with soap and warm water, for at least 15–20 seconds;
  • if you sneeze, do it not in a fist, but in the bend of the elbow;
  • wean yourself from the habit of touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
  • for a while give up the tradition of shaking hands with people - even those in whom you are sure;
  • Get enough sleep, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, try to minimize stress, and be physically active. These healthy habits will support your immune system.

What if the authorities have imposed a quarantine?

This means that the situation is getting really serious. It should be borne in mind that quarantine and quarantine are different.

As a rule, at the initial stages, the authorities close schools, kindergartens, universities, entertainment centers and, in addition, even more urgently than usual, ask citizens to limit contacts. This is inconvenient, but still not too critical: offices, shops, ATMs work as usual, public transport runs, utilities perform their duties.

If this is enough to stop the spread of the infection, after a few weeks of minor inconveniences, the quarantine will be canceled and life will return to its usual rhythm.

But already at this stage, you need to understand: the situation with the virus may not improve, but worsen. And then quarantine measures will become more stringent - with the possible closure of many shops, offices, the cancellation of public transport, disruptions in the work of utilities and other services, as well as chaos and riots provoked by panic. Prepare for this eventual development.

Leave home even less often

If your profession involves this option, try to start working remotely. If this is not possible, try taking a vacation for at least 2-3 weeks.

Create a food supply at home

With the expectation that, perhaps, for some time you will have to live on it without leaving the door. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends Pandemic keep a two-week supply. These recommendations related to the influenza pandemic, but they can be considered relevant today.

And given that the incubation period and course of COVID-19 are longer than that of influenza, it is better to play it safe. It is not worth picking up matches-salt-buckwheat from store shelves, but buy more groceries than usual every time you go to the supermarket. Your task is to make supplies for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Pay attention to the expiration date of the food and do not keep anything perishable.

Buy medicines

This is especially true for people with chronic illnesses. Make sure your first aid kit contains:

  • your regular medications for 1–2 months;
  • pain relievers - ibuprofen, paracetamol, aspirin;
  • cough and cold medicines;
  • sorbents;
  • remedies that you take for stomach upsets.

Also, rehydron and isotonic drinks, which are necessary for dehydration (it is likely during a period of high temperature), as well as vitamins (consult a therapist about them - better by phone), will not be superfluous.

Prepare for drastic changes in your life

Build up water supplies. Now such a measure may seem redundant. But imagine a very likely situation during a period of hard quarantine. There is an accident on the water main, which there is no one to repair, because the services are working intermittently. The company that supplied you with drinking water is temporarily closed. Water is sold out in supermarkets. Have you presented?

Expect about 4 liters of water per person per day. This is the optimal amount for drinking, washing and preparing food.

Stephen Redd Flu Fighter: Dr. Stephen Redd, MD, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also recommends preparing warm blankets and clothing for the season in case of possible heating and power outages. And also purchase a battery-powered radio. And, of course, a sufficient number of batteries and external accumulators to charge mobile devices.

Another important tip is to keep cash at home: ATMs can also work intermittently. Be prepared for a possible shortage of fuel for your car and stock up on gas in advance.

But if I can't stay at home during quarantine?

It is a good idea to wear a mask to protect against infection. Medical disposable and more serious means are suitable. For example, Respiratory Protective Mask No. 95 blocks over 95% of small particles that are present in the air. To put on a respirator, strictly follow the instructions that come with the kit. Guys will have a harder time in this case: the mask may not fit tightly due to the bristles or beard. Save your blades and shaving cream in advance.

But a biological and chemical protection suit is too much. To use it correctly, strict adherence to the instructions is required. It is unlikely that you have enough time and patience for this.

What if I get sick?

Most importantly, do not behave like a super-spreader (as they call those who infect more people than the average for the disease). During the last outbreak of Ebola, only 3% of patients became the cause of Spatial and temporal dynamics of superspreading events in the 2014–2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic infection of 61% of all people infected.

A small number of people are responsible for the spread of the pathogen. Therefore, at the first symptoms of the disease, contact a therapist at your place of residence, that is, to the clinic. There is a nuance: if you or those with whom you spoke have returned in the last two weeks from countries where the coronavirus is spreading (China, Italy, Spain, France, Germany …), you should call an ambulance.

Even if, after the examination, you were not found to have a coronavirus and were sent home to treat ARVI, try to avoid public places.

It is better to stay at home so as not to infect others. Even if we are talking about a common cold.

Protect your loved ones who live with you. Take a separate room for the duration of your illness, if possible, and wear a medical mask. Do not forget that the mask collects the virus, so it is worth changing it every 2-3 hours. The same applies to disposable respirators No. 95.

How long will this all last?

It is difficult to know how long the pandemic will last. Chinese experts suggest Coronavirus pandemic “could be over by June” if countries act, says Chinese adviser, that if affected countries mobilize and impose strict quarantines, the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak could end by June.

But even if this optimistic scenario comes true, the disease can return in a series of relapses. At best, scientists will develop a vaccine or drug to treat the virus. But it will take months and even years.

It is possible that the disease will remain at large, like HIV and many other diseases that have become familiar to us.

Are these tips sure to help me?

Nobody knows what will work in your situation. But the precautions won't hurt. Take the threats posed by the pandemic seriously. And take care of yourself and your loved ones.


Coronavirus. Number of infected:

242 972 175

in the world

8 131 164

in Russia View map