Coronavirus and Malta – should we be all scared? (all facts)


(This is a company email we send out to our people with a lot of facts about the coronavirus. We decided, it`s too good to keep it just for us. You can read the full email here)

Dear all,

I wish to give you more insights about the current topic, that you are able to process the circumstances better.

I do understand that some people have the “fear of the unknown”, but the facts on coronavirus aren’t all scary (source). However, make yourself aware: If you feel afraid, that is absolutely normal (source). All information from below is by 15.03.2020, and updated by 18.03.2020.

Malta

  • The government did precautions (contrary to many other countries) very early and the right ones in my opinion. By the way, South Korea did drastic measures like Italy before and achieved reduction within a few weeks.
  • You are on an island, which is isolated and surrounded by water. Nobody can`t enter, except by ferry or flight, only with going into a mandatory 2 weeks quarantine. Officers are on the streets controlling it. Anyway, I believe that almost nobody from Europe will now continue to travel. All incoming flights will soon be cancelled until further notice.  So from a crime and more importantly health perspective, it`s extremely safe here.
  • For those who still do travel, it`s already extremely restricted. Every arriving person is scanned on the temperature (for fever) at the airport. Every plane takes passenger lists with contact details of all arriving passengers
  • Malta has a warm climate so there is less risk in general to catch flu. The average temperature is 15-18 degree the next 14 days, whilst primarily sun is forecasted. In this Lombardy area in Italy as an example, it was and still is way colder.
  • It`s extremely unlikely that you`ll be one of the people who catch the corona flu here. Winning the lottery is more likely.
  • Cargo, food and drinks are being delivered. In the unlikely case that there won`t anymore, Malta grows a lot of fruits and vegetables by themself, you will be amazed (source).  In the unlikely case of a food import shortage, you might not get chocolate or meat anymore. But you will be able to cover your recommended 2000 calories a day with the local products.
  • I don`t know how it is on Malta, but Germany recommends in general (they always did) to have a supply stock of 10 days at home, in any case (german article, with the list, if you`re interested you can translate it). Don`t forget to include medicine, you may regularly need in your daily life.
  • Malta is able to filter seawater into drinking water by themself (this is f.e. Kristal or San Michel). We don`t need water from abroad to drink.
  • the Maltese population is known for its endurance. During World War II, the British government popularised the endurance of the Maltese people with the awarding of the George Cross (source). It “bears witness to the heroism and devotion of its people” during the great siege they underwent in the early part of World War II. “The George Cross was incorporated into the flag of Malta beginning in 1943 and is still part of the current design”

This is how a Pandemic outbreak “with intervention” would look like (Malta is clearly “with intervention”). The Pandemic outbreak with “no intervention (or “a too-late intervention”) might be Italy in this graph.

In short: In Malta, the spread would be less but over a longer period of time. A collapse of the health system will be for sure avoided in this way.

Summary for all points above: If you`re on Malta, you are in one of the safest areas you can be in the world right now. It is also very likely (due to closure of the borders), that Malta will be one of the first countries, which has Corona completely under control.

Europe/Rest of World

  • It is likely that all/many more countries will do drastic measures like China and Italy in the near future (these measures are effective, as the currently very low new infection rate in China proves already)
  • They might temporarily lock up the entire country abroad (as already happening with more and more countries)
  • Everything might be closed abroad, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies (rather unlikely for Malta, because they intervened so early, see above graphics)
  • There will be most likely more disruptions to public life and health care in the coming month abroad
  • Travel will be even more restricted. Do not try to travel at the moment, to save you the hassle (and most likely additional costs)

Facts about corona:

  • Corona is not more infectious than other viruses. Though these are early numbers, this graphic should be representative. By the way, measles, pox and polio are way more contagious than corona (source)
  • 81% of the corona infections are mild. And when this kind of flu is over, people can join normal life again.
  • The vast majority of people with coronavirus survive.
  • Mostly people who are over 80 and with underlying chronic disease have a chance to die from it (source). As a matter of fact, people at that age have a high chance to die anyway. In Germany alone, about 1 million people are dying every year (source). Germany has a population of 83 Million. That means that 1,2% of the German population is dying every year.
  • Corona has no vaccination yet. But it`s only a matter of time. Vaccination could take 18 months or longer. If you`re waiting for a vaccination, check if you vaccinated on influenza actually, which is far more deadly than corona. Influenza flu infects a lot more people and kills a lot more people than corona, and it does every winter „Typically, in a year’s normal two flu seasons (one per hemisphere), there are between three and five million cases of severe illness and around 650,000 deaths worldwide,” “Flu has likely been around for 2,000 years”. “Influenza spreads around the world in yearly outbreaks” (source)
  • China has a population of 1.400.000.000 people (1.4 Billion) and about 80.000 people are infected (15.03.2020). This is a percentage of 0.000057%
  • Can goods from china be contaminated? The clear answer is no! Studies show that its cousin viruses, SARS and MERS, only live for a few hours on the surface of an object. They are spread most often by respiratory droplets from one person to another (source). So even if an infected person sneezes on your brand new Iphone 11, it`s very unlikely that this will matter to you.

Safety:

  • ordinary soap kills the virus, you don`t need disinfection (source)
  • If you really think you have something, check the symptoms from Covid 19, common cold, flu, allergies, which are compared here
  • Try not to do sports which has a high risk to get in hospital. Hospitals might be busy with people who want to do tests. Save you the hassle to go there.
  • and again, “the best way to avoid it is to wash your hands often”, according to the WHO. We will attach images next to our bathroom sink, how to wash your hands correctly.

Anxiety:

  • Don’t watch TV and check your Facebook feed every five minutes. Doing so, your actions will become even less proportionate to the threat. Fear spreads faster than infection. Be aware that photos on social media can easily fuel panic. Be also aware that there is already much fake news out there (the problem is so bad that social media platforms in China are heavily censored around anything “corona-related”). A professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California (source), he has spent his career studying epidemics: “He was surprisingly sanguine about the coronavirus, pointing out that common-or-garden influenza was far more deadly, though he said he understood that uncertainty about the nature of the disease was bound to make people fearful. But he said a 24/7 news culture and the rise of social media made that fear spread faster than the virus itself – especially as the coronavirus was being diagnosed far more rapidly than Sars was 20 years ago. “They do the diagnosis, and then we hear about the news of the diagnosis right away throughout the world instantaneously. They’re constantly getting updates on this… and I think that feeds into some of the anxiety that people have.”
  • “Too much exposure, especially from sketchy sources, can make consumers overestimate threat and underestimate their coping abilities, which is a recipe for anxiety.” “If you’re feeling anxiety, lean on each other,” she said, adding that feeling connected and supported is good for the immune system” (source)
  • By the way:

2003, Sars: mortality: 10%, 26 countries affected

2009, swine flu: mortality: 0.02%, 57M affected

2014, Ebola: mortality (WHO): 50%, 11.310 deads

2020, Corona: mortality 2-3,5% (something in that range so far), 5800 deads (15.03.2020)

This is how we process information:

2003: no Facebook, no WhatsApp

2009: Facebook has 150M user

2014: WhatsApp has 450M user

2020: Facebook has 2 Billion users, WhatsApp 1,69 Billion

  • Keep in mind: Anxiety is not good for your mental health

Children:

  • Should parents talk about their children about corona? Yes, say 72% (source). But tell them with rationality, open-mindedness and altruism. They will thank you for it.
  • Small children have a lower risk, actually zero, of dying (0 – 9 years: 0%, 10-39% years: 0,2%) – source
  • Schools are closed because “Flu is clearly driven in part by schools” “there’s reason to think kids may be helping to amplify transmission. It’s a role they play to devastating effect during flu season, becoming ill and passing flu viruses on to their parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers.” by the way “There were few detected infections among children aged 9 and younger — only 416 or about 1% of the total cases. None of them died.” (source)

Why Italy is so affected? 

  • “The interpersonal physical space in Italy is a lot shorter than elsewhere. Their habit is to kiss each other when you say hello.”
  • “many people did not take self-isolation measures very seriously when schools were first closed in northern regions a few weeks ago”
  • “the government had reacted too slowly initially.”
  • “current measures are “excellent” and “entirely appropriate”
    (source for all information above)
  • “EU statistics show Italy has the oldest population in Europe by almost any count […] Its median age is now 45.9 years”
  • “Many were in their 80s or 90s, and were already suffering from serious health problems, including cancer, when the coronavirus infection was detected.”
    (source for all information above)
  • “The vast majority of cases have been in Lombardy” (not in Sicily or somewhere else) (source)

Outlook:

  • Be prepared that we`ll have more cases in Malta and in the rest of the world as well. Covid-19 is nowhere near over. Expect it.
  • Possibly there will be an extended period of the matter due to the second wave of infections expected in autumn
  • Time to permanently reduce infections below a critical level in the world: Unclear, but could take months
  • The coronavirus will have severe economic effects in the world

Opportunities:

  • This doctor said on Facebook (source): “We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.“ […]

Our working situation:

  • Your job is in a closed group here and you don`t have a million customers a day like in a coffee shop
  • We did a lot of actions in the office, are careful and thankfully have Doris who takes care of us, every single day
  • In my opinion, everybody should sustain his/her economic contribution both demand-side and supply-side as much as they can. Prime Minister Robert Abela encouraged the public to “continue the normal workday, while also being responsible”

I hope this information was useful. Our entire team is strong!

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