International institute IPAG highlights Slovenia’s efforts as a good example in the fight against the coronavirus

Foto: Demokracija

Through its studies, the Vienna Institute for Policy, Advocacy, and Governance (IPAG) found that Slovenia performed very well in the fight against the novel coronavirus and highlighted our country as a great example of resolving the epidemic, and presented the measures taken by the Slovenian government. In Slovenia, we have recorded 109 deaths since the first case of infection had been detected and performed over 30,000 tests per million inhabitants. Measures to prevent the spread of the disease included the sealing of state borders and keeping people at home, and the government has also allocated 6 percent of the country’s GDP for financial help for the people and the economy.

This year, we have witnessed one of the darkest periods in human history, stretching across almost all countries, regions, and continents. The Vienna Institute of Policy, Advocacy, and Governance (IPAG) thus became a think tank for the fight against the novel coronavirus and presented the best practices that were used to help limit the epidemic, which included, among other things, certain measures that were also implemented in Slovenia. Among other things, IPAG has become one of the fastest-growing think tanks for global challenges. Below, we are presenting the myths and truths about the novel coronavirus, and you can read more about the Institute’s research activities here. Among other things, they studied the practices which were implemented around the world and showed how South Korea fought the coronavirus with the help of artificial intelligence, and also took a closer look at Slovenia, and the measures it took to successfully contain it.

As the study found, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, affects everyone, and not just the elderly. People who already suffer from other diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, are more likely to have worse outcomes if they contract the virus, so they are classified as vulnerable groups. Among other things, there have been rumors that the virus spreads more slowly in hot climates, but this is not true. The virus can be transmitted in all areas, even where the weather is humid and hot. The third myth talks about holding your breath – supposedly, if you can hold your breath for more than 10 seconds without difficulty, you are not infected with the coronavirus. However, holding your breath has nothing to do with the virus, and this myth is also not true. The virus also cannot be destroyed by having a bath or showering with water, as hot as 48 degrees Celsius. To successfully destroy the virus, a minimum temperature of 70 degrees is required, but our normal body temperature can only reach a maximum of 36.5 to 37 degrees Celsius, which in itself is not enough to destroy the virus.

If we catch the new coronavirus, that does not necessarily mean that we are going to die
There was also some information circulating in public, stating that the coronavirus infection surely results in death, which is not true. According to actual data, 80 percent of those infected survive the virus. Another myth that was circulating was that the virus could be transmitted by mosquitoes, which is again not true. The coronavirus is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets, when a person coughs or sneezes, or through saliva and nasal secretions. Disinfection with alcohol or chlorine can help us prevent infection, but only when the virus has not yet entered the body. However, excessive use of disinfectants can damage the mucous tissue in the mouth or eyes. Heat detectors (thermometers) cannot detect the infection as such, but they can detect a fever, which is one of the possible symptoms of the disease. It takes anywhere from two to ten days for the disease to develop, and for the person who is sick to actually have a fever.

Antibiotics cannot be used as a cure for the coronavirus, as they are only effective when fighting bacterial infections, and do not work against viruses. Antibiotics should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor if there are also signs of a bacterial infection during or after treatment. We do not currently have a known, reliable cure for the novel coronavirus. The best protection is to wash your hands frequently and avoid infection by not touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. Among other things, garlic, pneumonia medication, ultraviolet light, or gargling bleach have not been shown to help fight the virus, so doctors also advise against any of these.

There is no need to worry about people getting sick from coming into contact with a package shipped from a country that has been affected by the coronavirus. Internationally shipped packages are usually in transit for days or even weeks, so the likelihood of infection is small, unless somebody who is ill has been in contact with the package a day or two before we receive it. The virus also does not spread through pets, and there is no evidence of pets getting coronavirus from being in contact with an infected human, or vice versa. Experts disagree on whether drinking an excess amount of fluids helps eliminate the virus from the body. According to IPAG, this is not true, as excess water in the blood is supposed to dilute the sodium in the blood, which increases the flow of fluids into the cells, and thus, the flow of the virus.

Many people believe the misconception that only people who have tested positive for the virus should stay at home and isolate. With everyone socially distancing, we are preventing the spread of the disease, primarily with the intent of protecting those from the vulnerable groups, as anyone can become infected and spread the virus further. Therefore, we ourselves can contribute the most to preventing the virus from spreading, by avoiding crowds and reducing our contacts with others. The mortality rate of the coronavirus is much higher than that of the flu, and it has the potential to cause even more deaths.

Sara Kovač