imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

Living or dead: Who spread the virus more?

If given the choice, whom do you want to get near you: the living virus COVID virus carrier or a corpse who died of the disease?

Sounds weird, fellas?

Flordeliza, a former high school teacher now working in Rome said that deaths escalated very fast in Italy because the government acted too late.

“For example, in Milan, Cremona and Bergamo where the pandemic has extended through whole communities or villages, the people did not mind it at first. They thought ‘being healthy’ is all that matters until it’s too late. Little did they know that they have been spreading the virus all along,” she said.

The same is true with Spain and France where the funeral parlors have a hard time servicing all these Covid-19 deaths.

So, who spreads the virus more, the living or the dead?

The answer: the living.

A study by researchers in Singapore became the latest to estimate that somewhere around 10% of new infections may be sparked by people who carry the virus but have not yet suffered its flu-like symptoms. The rapid spread, too, of the disease in the United States is spread by people who show no clear symptoms and the federal government issued new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a carrier.

Health experts said that the disease multiplied rapidly because seemingly “healthy people” who are already carriers of the virus but are asymptomatic continue to mingle with people and spread the disease unknowingly.

Of the 243 cases of coronavirus reported in Singapore from mid-January through mid-March, including 157 infections among people who had not traveled recently, scientists found that so-called pre-symptomatic people triggered infections in seven different clusters of disease, accounting for about 6% of the locally acquired cases.

One of those infections was traced in a church. A 52-year-old woman’s infection was linked to her sitting in a seat at a church that had been occupied earlier in the day by two tourists who showed no symptoms but later fell ill. The incident was retrieved through the church’s closed-circuit camera recordings of church services.

The study also suggested that more than 10% of transmissions were from people who were infected but did not yet feel sick. In the initial months of the pandemic, health officials based their response on the belief that most of the spread came from people who were sneezing or coughing droplets that contained the virus. The seemingly healthy people who can transmit the virus are believed to fall into three categories: pre-symptomatic, who do not have symptoms when they spread but develop illness a couple of days later; asymptomatic, who never develop symptoms; and post-symptomatic, who get sick and recover but remain contagious.

The lesson was concluded late, fellas. Health experts initially focused only on the infected or the symptomatic ones while the asymptomatic ones continued to spread the disease like what happened in Italy, Spain, France and the United States!

This COVID-19 is a variation of the 2003 corona virus SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) identified in Asia which caused a frightening but relatively short-lived international outbreak that never spread as widely as COVID-19. The big difference is that although some asymptomatic SARS infections were discovered, none were found to have spread the disease. Because symptomatic people were the spreaders, health officials were able to focus their attention on them and hence, the disease was controlled in due time.

How about the dead, fellas?

My research says that the bodies of patients who die from COVID-19 are not contagious. The virus dies when its host dies and there is no chance of it being transmitted to another person.

In Italy, when a COVID-19 corpse is brought to the mortuary, the body is immediately disinfected and wrapped in sealed plastic before being placed in a coffin. The dead is next sent to the church for the final religious rites and then brought to the crematorium.

In India, there’s this story of a 70-year-old after a 50-day battle with the virus. News of his death was posted on Facebook by his son. The elderly man worked as the driver of a tourist bus for Chinese tourists in which the son also wrote that many temples had refused to perform funeral services for his father out of fear that the disease could still be communicable. A local doctor assured the son that the virus stops spreading once its host dies and in the elderly patient’s case, checks confirmed the coronavirus had left his system long before he succumbed to severe illness. The son said the virus had damaged his father’s lungs to the point where they could not be repaired.

 Hence, the Extreme Community Quarantine (ECQ) imposed on the Luzon Islands.

So, whom do you fear more, the living or the dead?

Mang Maing says: “Sa buhay ako takot, hindi sa patay o multo!”

Mang Maing is correct, fellas. So, keep on social distancing. Except, of course, with the missus!