To the editor,
Recently I developed a cough. I don’t have a fever (yet) and feel relatively fine. I don’t know if I have COVID-19 because I can’t get tested. As a precaution I am self-isolating for 14 days.
The reason why COVID-19 is so insidious and dangerous is it normally takes several days for symptoms to appear, and 80 per cent of those infected experience only mild symptoms; consequently, many people don’t feel sick and carry on as usual not realizing they are contagious and spreading the virus. You don’t automatically develop a fever when you are infected. A fever occurs when the body is fighting the virus hard, but for many a fever simply doesn’t develop because their immune system is able to stop the virus relatively easily. Without testing everyone, we don’t know what proportion of Nanaimo’s population is already infected with the virus, but it is likely much higher than we think.
This is what keeps me awake at night: if 25 per cent of Nanaimo’s residents become infected, then 1,500 people (six per cent) will be in critical condition and require hospitalization virtually at the same time. Nanaimo hospital has 365 beds and many are already occupied. Our health care system will be completely overwhelmed and many people will die because they cannot get proper treatment such as ventilators. Furthermore, when the system is overwhelmed it is unclear what will happen to existing patients who don’t have COVID, but require care. Many medical professionals will also get sick and not be available to help. This very plausible scenario will be catastrophic for our community.
Nanaimo residents of all ages, please take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please self-isolate so you don’t spread the virus. Lessons from China, South Korea, and Italy show that early, strict isolation measures are required to defeat COVID-19.
Jason Dunham, Nanaimo
The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.