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COVID-19, Measles and the Flu

COVID-19 is a Coronavirus that has caused recent outbreaks around the world. One infected person can give it to 3 people. The fatality rate is about 2-3%. There are 80 cases in Australia and 3 deaths (as of 9/3/2020). The chance of people living in Foster to contract COVID-19 is low.

However, if you develop symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) within 14 days of leaving an overseas country, or contacting a suspected or confirmed case, you should call the clinic or hospital before going in. You will be assessed promptly. You can also call the national hotline 1800 020 080.  There is no vaccine or specific medicine yet; antibiotic, Vitamins, Garlic, or Sesame oil can’t kill the virus either.

Measles, on the other hand, is an old virus that has made a comeback in the last few years. There are 286 cases in Australia in 2019. It is highly contagious. One infected person can give it to 18 people, one in 15 gets pneumonia, and fatality rate is also about 2%. However, you can get 95% protection, by getting a MMR vaccine. It has now become available, free of charge, for people born during or since 1966 and aged from 20 years without evidence of immunity.

A further comparison, the Seasonal Flu. There were 313,060 cases in Australia last year, 13,507 so far in 2020. The transmission rate can be as high as 20-30% at homes and schools, and 72% on a plane. The flu vaccine, although not perfect, provides 40-60% protection. Good hand hygiene, as well as timely vaccination are the most effective ways to equip ourselves, and protect others more vulnerable. Please check with your doctor and nurse, and look out for the vaccination reminders.

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