What to Know about COVID-19

24 March 2020

“One love. One blood. One life. You got to do what you should. One life with each other, sisters and my brothers. One life, but we're not the same. We’ve got to carry each other, carry each other.” – “One” by U2

Editor's Note: We are updating this article when new information becomes available. Please continue to check back with us daily for more information.

***UPDATE: As of 23 March 2020

SPAIN NOW HAS THE WORLD'S FOURTH LARGEST COVID-19 OUTBREAK

  • Total lockdown extended to 12 April 2020

***UPDATE: As of 19 March 2020 >> New phone numbers:

  • If you have symptoms: 902 079 079 or 971 437 079
  • If you need urgent help: 061
  • For municipal information: 010

Unless you have been hibernating in a cave, by now you know that the virus officially known as COVID-19 hit the world stage in a dramatic way this winter. This has affected the world in ways we probably won’t be able to accurately assess until it’s all over, but even now, we are seeing ripples of the chaos this contagion is creating.

Wuhan, China, the epicentre, is still suffering with the worst of the outbreaks while northern Italy is in lockdown and the UK is predicting that 20%+ of their workforce will become ill. Europe is having a containment problem and Mallorca, along with the rest of the world, is in economic meltdown mode, as the usual 20 million visitors from over 120 countries are now debating whether to cancel their holiday plans and just stay home.

Affordable Mallorca will share the latest facts about COVID-19 to help you manoeuvre past the panic and take a sensible approach to keeping you, your loved ones, and the public at-large healthy.

First Thing’s First: Don’t Panic, Be Prepared #

So many people keep saying, ‘put things in perspective.' Ok, let’s do that. Currently, there is a rapid rise in cases globally and reported deaths linked to this virus is growing.

The reality is that some countries are managing the Coronavirus outbreak and others are just at the beginning. It is contained in Wuhan. The Chinese have effectively stopped the spread. In other places, Italy, Spain, the UK and the USA, it is spreading each day and we simply don’t know how or when it is going to end. The death tolls are rising and no real end is in sight, so it IS a real problem. Hotels are under lockdown and cruise ships are held out of ports to avoid contaminating cities.

Just try to keep level-headed about this. Some of the stories are written as "clickbait," whilst staying just on the right side of fact. Whipping people into a frenzy sells papers and if people think they’re in imminent danger, they’ll inhale as much information as possible. The dangers are very real, but they can be managed as more individuals and governments react. Remember that forewarned is forearmed.

This, of course, is a double-edged sword. Without the info provided by the media, people would be flying blind on this and many unnecessary infections could occur. On the other side, too much info turns people into crazies and sets them on end-of-days-type food/medicine/face mask buying and hoarding sprees, shunning neighbours with a sniffle out of fear.

There are vaccines against the flu, and we have a fair idea of what to expect from it. COVID-19 is so new that we have no idea when this episode will peak and how to manage long-term consequences.

By following known cases, the estimate is that 80% of the cases of COVID-19 have been mild, though the more severe forms can lead to pneumonia, so prudence is required. No one knows the true infection or mortality rates because governments are doing so little testing. However, for the Asian Governments disclosure, the mortality rate is hovering at around 3.4% of those affected so far.

This is where things get tricky, though. As not all cases are reported or even known, the accuracy of the official statistics could be terribly misleading. If the pre-lockdown cases from Wuhan are used, we can estimate that, without similar measures, the rates will grow exponentially. What this means in layman’s terms is that if 600 cases are reported, the true number will be somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 according to experts.

Furthermore, without the true numbers, hospitals could soon be in for nasty surprises as people flood the care centres looking for help, only to find limited beds, equipment and doctors.

The Good News #

For people older than four and under 65, most infected people will only have the varying symptoms and will recover without incident. This doesn’t mean that you should be careless about hygiene and health, it is simply suggesting that most of us will be fine after getting past the worst of it. Fortunately, the virus spares the very young for the simple reason that in the elderly, the immune system overreacts to the threat whereas kids’ less developed immune system just takes it as any other form of infection to get used to. This means, that in particular for the older populace more care needs to be taken to prevent contraction.

Exceptions to this can be found. Francisco Garcia was coach of the junior team for Atletico Portada Alta in Malaga. Garcia was advised to seek medical attention after struggling to breathe. The physicians found an underlying condition, leukemia, when he was examined. Unfortunately, he died days later at the age of 21. Spain has over 50 million people, with one-fifth the population is over 65.

While mainland Spain has suffered catastrophic infection rates and the hospitals are over-burdened, Mallorca has a relatively low rate of infection with fewer deaths. The hospital system is operating at full capacity but able to process the most severe cases. We had a depletion of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) but Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez order 50,000 sanitary masks to be delivered to the island. You can still protect yourself and your neighbors by making masks using this article for guidance >> How to Make Sanitary Masks

Methods on how to prevent infections are found later in the article and are quite basic and simple to adhere to.

Vector map 2

Actualities #

COVID-19, the name given by the World Health Organization, started at the end of last year. It is believed to have been transmitted by a virus spread by bats in a rare case of a virus being able to leap the barrier between animal and human, similar to theories about EBOLA spread. This is called a spillover event. After that, the virus spreads from person-to-person, potentially affecting a large number of people.

Spain's Ministry of Health has announced that in Madrid from 11th March, all educational institutions, including private universities, must suspend face-to-face classes for 15 days. The rationale is that mainland Spain’s healthcare system is not built to withstand this kind of epidemic. Recently, the number of cases in the capital more than doubled literally overnight, placing the government on high alert and causing them to re-evaluate previous measures.

From 16 March at 08:00, all non-essential businesses will shut nationwide. Police will carry out patrols and have the right to interrogate people to impose heavy fines. If anyone is out for any other purpose than purchasing basic food and medicine, conducting essential banking business or for work, that person will be fined.

In the coming weeks, there is a chance that news will begin to come out that sounds terrifying. Details are changing hourly, but the point is that the Spanish Government is taking this seriously and using science as well as their connections to other governments to support mitigation efforts.

For a free global map link in real time of virus locations, click here >> Coronavirus Dashboard

Chances of Catching COVID-19 #

The WHO has announced that COVID-19 is a global pandemic but the Director General says it can be controlled. “The decisions we make can affect the trajectory of this epidemic,” he said recently. Each country needs to make certain simple and reasonable measures to protect their citizens and people in other countries.

Finding, testing, treating and isolating cases make common sense. Ways to do this include not traveling to places where the infection is widespread, steering clear of large indoor gatherings, avoiding close contact with anyone showing signs of illness, covering mouth and nose when sneezing, regular hand washing, and wiping down frequently touched objects in the workplace and at home...and yes, as the spread of the virus grows, lockdowns may be necessary. But many are starting to believe that it is better to suffer this short-term inconvenience than to have six more months of fear and uncertainty.

Masks are NOT deterrents but are super helpful. This may surprise many, but they will not save people from contracting COVID-19. They are useful, though, for those who have the disease already to stop them from infecting others. A shortage of masks was at the forefront of the news but Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez ordered immediately manufacturing

A scientist explains how the virus works in the video below.

Symptoms and Treatment on Mallorca #

  • in some cases, loss of smell and taste
  • fatigue and general muscle weakness
  • headache
  • general agitation that leads to trouble with deep sleep
  • dry cough that becomes deep and can be debilitating

COVID-19 looks an awful lot like the flu, and, for most people, will act like it as well. For those such as the elderly, babies and infants, those with compromised immunity systems, heart and lung disease or people who suffer from general respiratory weaknesses, the risk of developing a severe case is higher. The extreme precautions taken by governments are to protect the most vulnerable in the population. And, remember, most people look quite healthy until an event like this so no one can truly assess who will or will not fall ill.

There is no specific treatment, folks. This is one you simply have to ride out for the most part. Of course, if you find yourself with flu-like symptoms and respiratory distress, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, or bluish face or lips, call your doctor toute de suite. Do NOT just turn up at a health centre, as you could infect dozens of people, making things significantly worse for your community.

If you have been in a high risk area and you have the symptoms, you are obliged to call 061 for guidance on your next steps. This is not to single you out, but to keep you and others safe.

Mallorca has four major hospitals and most major villages have a PAC. We are working on a comprehensive guide to Healthcare on the island that will include a map with all locations. Please check with us at Ultimate Guides for a complete listing.

Mallorca Impact #

Now that the facts have been laid out, plotting a rational course using the tips above to prevent catching or spreading COVID-19 is the best way forward.

Understandably, people are reacting to the latest news. According to a recent report by The Olive Press, “villas rentals are being cancelled and hotel bookings are down on the island, with people in the hospitality business putting it down to coronavirus fears.”

Events and conferences are being postponed or cancelled, including a convention expected to see 500 guests hosted by Italian multinational Luxottica Group. The Spanish Society of Glaucoma also cancelled their event at the Palacio de Congresos as authorities feared having this many medical professionals together in one place. The Government is making pro-active decisions to limit the risk to the general public.

But potentially harmful things are still falling through the cracks. For example, as some flights are being cancelled, cruise ships from other parts of the Mediterranean are not suspended. This means that thousands of untested people are walking freely around the island at any given time, possibly unwittingly spreading the virus.

In addition to the loss of business generated by the events, the Mallorca Hotel Business Federation has stated that there will be a knock-on effect with regard to employment. Many hotels have decided not to open until Easter or after. Therefore, the majority of temporary contracts are now being postponed, with start dates moving from April to the summer, affecting the livelihood of many people.

Some of the hotels that are open or planning to open will be running special pricing for guests. This is great for those who would love to enjoy the warmer Mediterranean climate without the hordes of tourists.

At the end of the day, we would never tell people whether they should risk travelling or not. What we can say is don't cancel travel plans out of fear. Contact your villa rep or hotel and ask for real-time updates on the situation here. If it’s not safe, no one would encourage you to come, even if it meant losing the business. A healthy guest is a happy one. And on the flip side, owners don’t want a hotel that’s been turned into a makeshift hospital trying to attend to the needs of their sick and disappointed clientele.

The economic impact could be huge, and not just on the island but worldwide. Globally, it is estimated that if the virus worsens, by April the airlines will lose US$23 billion or a total of USD$113 in 2020. A total of USD$2.7 Trillion – with a “T” - could be lost, according to Bloomberg Financial.

This could spell catastrophe for global and local economies, which include many small businesses who can ill-afford to take the hits. Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is working with his cabinet on health and economy solutions related to the effects of the virus.

Empty tables in Puerto Pollenca

What Should You Do? #

  • Book only essential travel off the island and ask your family and friends to not visit you until Summer at the earliest.
  • Avoid all crowds. Social distancing means more than 2.5m between you and the next person.
  • Only leave home if an emergency to purchase food, medicine, attend to essential banking business, emergencies that are NOT related to COVID-19.
  • Only purchase supplies that you truly need.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends via Messenger, WhatsApp, start group chats and have online meetings. Human connection is essential to getting through these times. Just have to be more creative about how to maintain our relationships.
  • Find ways to be entertained. The viral (sorry) video of the people in Italy singing to each other from their balconies shows one way. While that is not the Mallorquin-way, let's be creative and show solidarity in the midst of such a hardship. We are working on articles to help you entertain yourselves, the children in your community and how to remain sane. Keep checking back with us.
  • Above all, keep your routines: wake and sleep at your normal times and eat your meals at your usual time. This is more helpful than you would think.
  • Check back here for more ideas.
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Who Pays If You Are Quarantined? #

No one really knows. The guests on cruise ships have been released like canaries from the coal mine and flown home with no one demanding more money for room, board or flights. Thousands of people are still in limbo in various parts of the world. Truth is, this has not happened before at this scale because mass consumer travel wasn't around for the last pandemic in 1918.

One Last Thought #

We are not recommending that you travel or not. However, we do recommend a few helpful suggestions that you should consider regardless of quarantines, pandemics or whatever comes your way.

  • Keep a 3-week supply or more depending on circumstances of your medications on your person..
  • If you have special needs, make sure those are written out by you and/or your doctor and kept with those medications. In some more extreme cases, otherwise asymptomatic people have been become incapacitated within hours, which makes providing clear instructions close to impossible in a distressed situation.
  • Put ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact on your mobile phone and in your wallet. If you do not have next of kin, make it a close friend. If you don't have one of those, time to get out and make a few.
  • Keep a bottle of water with you. If traveling, learn to take an empty refillable canister with you and make certain the container is NOT larger than 100ml, even if it's empty as officials may confiscate it. Fill it up after you have gone through passport control. Or you can buy water for 1,50€ at a vending machine. This is helpful when supplies might run low. Dehydration does not need to be added to your list of woes.
  • Lastly, when you sit down, introduce yourself to the person next to you. But this time, don‘t shake hands. Do the new “thing“ and elbow bump. You have more than a few thousand 'friends' out there. You just haven't met them all yet.

“The decisions we make can affect the trajectory of this epidemic,” Director Generale, WHO

Sources

  1. The verge.com
  2. Theguardian.com
  3. Majorcadailybulletin.com
  4. Washingtonpost.com
  5. Theolivepress.es
  6. Bloomberg.com
  7. CDC.Org
  8. Euractiv.com
  9. https://www.washingtonpost.com...

24 March, 2020

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