Despite the apparent increase in the number of cases of the new coronavirus infections in Slovenia last week, the Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and the Director-General of the National Institute of Public Health Nina Pirnat insisted that there was no need to panic. That the professionals should be trusted and schools and kindergartens should stay open. This sort of thinking has cost us a lot of time, which can clearly be seen in the latest official statistics. As many as 253 cases of infection have been recorded by Monday, March 16th, by 2 PM, which is 34 more than the day before.
»We need to listen to the professionals. We need to act accordingly. We need to act in a way that does not cause even greater consequences,« Šarec stated, while Pirnat emphasized: »At a time when the virus is not spreading through the population, we need to ask ourselves why we should close schools and kindergartens? What effect will this have on the children, the parents, and the entire community?«
Prime Minister Šarec and that chicken from NIJZ THREE days ago! This was a sabotage!! pic.twitter.com/Uagcv0v0kv
— slavc (@slavc7) March 14, 2020
As you can see from the graph below, the number of new coronavirus infections is steadily increasing. We recorded the first official case of infection on March 4th, a week later, more specifically on March 11th, the picture was completely different, as many as 57 cases of infection were recorded. The largest increase in the number of infections so far was recorded on Friday, March 13th, when as many as 45 new patients became infected with the new coronavirus. This is what happens when a situation is not taken seriously, and action is taken way too late. Instead of taking the measures while we were still monitoring the situation in neighbouring Italy, the first serious measure, the closure of schools, was only adopted last week.
Given how fast the virus is spreading, Janez Janša‘s government decided to halt all public transport other than taxis and order the closure of non-essential stores, restaurants, and bars. Despite the warnings from the professionals, during the weekend, many people went for drinks and a careless chat, as if they were immune to the new coronavirus.
Two people in critical condition
Bojana Beović, Head of the Expert Group that provides support to the Crisis Staff of the Republic of Slovenia for the containment and control of the COVID-19 epidemic, said at a press conference on Monday afternoon, that the health of 130 patients is being closely monitored. Of these, twenty-nine people have been hospitalized, two of which (one in Ljubljana and one in Maribor) are in intensive care, and their condition is rapidly deteriorating. Approximately half of the patients in intensive care units recover, she said. »With the worst cases, the stage where the condition worsens, when severe pneumonia occurs, happens about one week after the onset of the disease. Given this and the aforementioned number of infected people, we can expect more patients with severe symptoms in the coming days,« she emphasized.
Today, on March 16th, 2020, by 10 AM, 249 confirmed cases of infection with the new coronavirus (SARS – CoV – 2) were reported to the NIJZ. According to the epidemiological data we have received so far, the sick persons come from the following statistical regions: 102 from central Slovenia, 48 from southeastern Slovenia, 38 from Savinjska region, 25 from Podravska region, 17 from Gorenjska region, ten from Primorsko-Notranjska region and Koroška region, eight from the coastal-Kras region, seven from the Pomurje region, three from the Goriška region and one from the Posavje region. Six of them are foreign nationals. The epidemiological treatment of confirmed cases is ongoing. 130 of the patients are women, 145 are men. The data for patients by age group is presented in Table 1.
Table 1: Number of confirmed cases by age group, 16. 3. 2020, 10.00
0 – 15
16 – 29
30 – 49
50 – 59
According to Beović, the disease has a typical course: »The data collected so far, mainly from China, shows that it takes five to six days from the infection to the onset of symptoms, and in about five percent of those infected, signs of the disease could only appear after 14 days or more. The symptoms of the disease can vary in the first few days, they may seem like those of the common cold, and as such, the disease could also pass,« Beović described. »In about 20 percent of patients, pneumonia develops, and about five percent require intensive treatment.«
If the symptoms are mild, people recover in one to two weeks, but if the symptoms are severe, recovery takes four to six weeks. When the patient’s medical condition is back to normal, he or she no longer eliminates the virus, she added. According to STA, Beović also confirmed that there have been allegations that some painkillers and fever-reducing medications could have an adverse effect on the disease. She says things are not clear yet, however, paracetamol-based medicine should be used as the first choice to help alleviate pain, rather than the non-steroidal anti-rheumatics.
Translation: STAY AT HOME! STOP
Five to ten times more people are actually infected
The fact that the number of coronavirus infections and deaths around the world is already higher than in China is concerning. The words of the Slovenian health expert and immunologist dr. Alojz Ihan are very telling. He made it clear that we should not believe the numbers from the press conferences. »These are only the numbers of the infected people that have been tested. In reality, five or even ten times more are infected. If we do not maintain distance from other people, we aren’t helping in limiting the spread of the infection. This is something we will have to live with for a while, and I hope that we will be a country that successfully ends this epidemic.« According to him, smokers, the elderly, and the chronically ill are the ones most at risk. He stressed that the fallen Šarec’s government made a crucial mistake by not reacting after the first week of the winter holiday when the coronavirus epidemic unofficially began in Slovenia. As there is no cure, according to Ihan, the only solution is social isolation.
The past can not be changed, but we can make sure that the infection does not spread by behaving responsibly. Let’s be responsible and stay at home, is the advice of the Crisis Staff of the Republic of Slovenia. We do not want the Italian scenario to happen to us.