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Signs of the Times: What is a Virus? What is COVID-19?

Signs of the Times! What is a Virus? What is COVID-19?

Hello brothers and sisters in Christ, 

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:3-8

Signs of the times are all around us and none so obvious in March 2020, as this new viral disease sweeping through earth’s population. Firstly, and most importantly: Wherever you are on this world of ours, I am praying for you, your friends and family, and hope you are praying for me too! We all need the loving prayer of a brother or sister in Christ.

A couple of nights ago, I woke up at midnight, bright and sparky, threw on some warm clothes and sat down at the computer. Six pages of stored information tumbled out of my mind! That’s why we need more than one post.

In this post there is information on viruses, and this particular new virus. Information helps us understand, think and respond.  You can read:

  • How viruses and bacteria are different,
  • how this virus is different,
  • why hospitals are struggling to cope with sick people,
  • why “asymptomatic” is COVID-19’s most dangerous and sneaky tactic.

This is important, for the opposite is true: If we do not understand, we might react from an emotional feeling, and make some poor choices.

If you are already informed and would like to skip straight into preparation (important), care and some interesting health steps, then wait for the next post.

I pray something might be useful for you now or later. Selah.

Viruses are not bacteria.

They are completely different.  A virus is not really an organism, bacteria is. Instead a virus is described as particles made up of some nucleic acids, (some genetic material DNA or RNA), and a protein shell. Some viruses have an envelope as well – as this new virus does. The thing is, virus particles do not have the components necessary to produce energy or reproduce – but bacteria do.

Virus particles are many times smaller than bacteria – bacteria can be seen with a usual microscope, viruses need an electron microscope.

To make more copies of itself, called “replication” a virus has to take off part of its protection to inject its genetic code into a “host” cell, invade, take over and instruct the host cell to begin making more copies through the organelle of the host cell.1 If you breathed in an airborne virus particle, you would become the host. The virus literally hijacks your own system so the virus can grow stronger and stronger.

The “undressing” of virus particles mentioned above, is an early opportunity to battle the virus.To me, this means you need to be taking simple steps to protect yourself and your loved ones now, BEFORE you have any symptoms at all. More about this soon.

Antibiotics do not Cure Viral Infections

So, a virus is not bacteria, and that’s why an antibiotic medicine will not cure a virus. Many times people will visit their doctor with a cold or  ‘flu and ask for an antibiotic. The doctor will explain that antibiotic medicine does not help a virus. The doctor may advise rest, plenty of fluids, some sunlight, fresh air and healthy foods, and please avoid alcohol, smoking, fast food and sugary foods.

Many patients with a viral infection will listen to the doctor’s wise advice and then say, “Yes doctor can I have my antibiotic now!”

If that viral disease multiplied without help from the person’s immune system, and became serious, then “complications” might occur.

Then the person’s immune system (their white blood cell army) could be said to have weakened and may have been unable to stop a bacterial infection from taking hold of their body. So now the body has the original viral infection, as well as a bacterial infection, for instance pneumonia. I hope that makes sense. In this situation, antibiotic medicine could be used to battle the bacterial infection. So the simple message is: keeping your immune system strong is a God-designed defence system against viral AND bacterial infections.

Virus Name: COVID-19

This new virus, named COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation, has some interesting features. Let's separate from any anxiety we might have, and investigate.

COVID-19, is a coronavirus. As you may know there are many different coronaviruses which can cause illness in humans, and animals too.

What is a Coronavirus?

The first coronavirus began to be understood in 1965, when scientists discovered an infectious agent in a culture taken from the respiratory tract of an adult with a common cold. So, the common cold, and there are at least four varieties of common cold, with lots of history in the human race, is a coronavirus.  The influenza or ‘flu, is a coronavirus. Swine ‘flu (H1N1) is a coronovirus. SARS is a coronavirus. MERS is a coronavirus. Ebola is a coronavirus and so is Zika.2 Interesting how many “new” coronaviruses have surfaced since the year 2003. In humans, most coronaviruses attack our lungs. And COVID-19 seems to be a particularly nasty kind of deep lung virus for people who become quickly and seriously ill.

Shape of a Coronavirus

The shape of a virus particle might be circular, rod-like or look like a corkscrew. COVID-19 particles appear to have a spherical shape, if you look carefully at the image at the top of this post.

But scientists also say while the internal structure (image below) is quite similar to the SARS (Serious Acute Respiratory Symdrome) coronavirus of 2003-2004, there are some parts of the structure which have not been seen before. If you look at the atomic level image of the internal structure of COVID-19 you can see a green tail. (These colours are put on the image to help scientists understand different parts of the virus.) Well, the green tail is the bit that injects into a cell, to begin the dastardly invasion.

Reference (3) below.

The “corona” in the word “coronavirus” refers to the little spikes that cover the surface of each particle of the virus, these little spikes look like the projections on a king’s or queen’s crown.

Too Many Sick People at Once

This virus is spreading quickly throughout many countries, at last count 104 nations. You can find the reason below: "Asymptomatic" is a dangerous and sneaky COVID-19 tactic.

And there appear to be at least two different strains. Many people will sooner or later (see below) develop symptoms and be ill for a week to 10 days, a percentage of people will become very ill and need medical help, and a smaller percentage will die, in fact, people are dying, there's no way to say that nicely. My apologies.

Many of the deaths are occurring because hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with sick people all at once. This is what happened in Wuhan, in Hubei Province in central China where COVID-19 first appeared.

The hospitals are overwhelmed because there are not enough hospital beds for all the seriously ill people, as well as the sick people who do not have CPVID-19. There are not enough ventilators to help seriously ill people breathe oxygen, not enough medical staff to look after the seriously ill people. Every country also talks about a shortage of face masks and protective equipment for doctors, nurses and other health professionals. And of course, health professionals are also becoming infected with COVID-19.

So, COVID-19 is not just the flu. Yes, most people will have a mild version of the virus, yet no-one has been able to determine exactly what factors make you, me or anyone else more likely to develop serious life threatening, deep lung complications.

Yes, the older age groups seemed to be hit more, at one point cigarette smokers seemed more likely, at one point older men seemed to go down swiftly. But at the time of writing, in Italy, younger adults are in serious conditions. Thankfully, children are not as affected as older or already ill people. But children may well be great infected spreaders of the disease, even if they have no symptoms (see below - Asymptomatic).

There are reports of people becoming reinfected and actually getting sicker after they have recovered. Some news from Hong Kong also seems to show that some “recovered” patients may have permanent lung damage affecting their daily lives. So this is a nasty virus, and unfortunately for the human race, COVID-19 is not going to magically disappear. At the time of writing, COVID-19 seems to have impacted our daily lives and changed the world. I would like to explore more of this at a later date.

 Why “asymptomatic” is COVID-19’s Dangerous and Sneaky Tactic

Another interesting feature about viruses is that they can lie quietly, even evading detection for quite some time with no sign of unwellness in the infected person. This is called “asymptomatic” – no symptoms.

Most countries have failed to keep the virus contained to a small number of people because of this asymptomatic stage.

Yes, this is true. You can have caught this virus, and infected others and still feel perfectly well for 2-31 days. I'll repeat that: You may be infected, and infecting other people for 2-31 days!

The average time of carrying the infection before developing any symptoms at all is 14 days.

Imagine how many people you have been close to in the past 2-31 days? One woman in New Zealand, recently returned from a holiday to Italy, had been close to 100 people after returning from holiday and BEFORE she felt unwell. 

But that doesn’t mean you are safe after 14 days of no symptoms.


Reference (5) below

Think of the outside curve of a bell as a line on a graph. Some people at the start of the bell curve may show symptoms of this virus after just 2 days, just as the line curves up to the top of the bell shape, so most people will begin to show symptoms after about 14 days. Then as the line of the bell curves down, we are learning that some people remain without symptoms for up to 31 days.

 

Early symptoms

These appear to be: a new, dry cough; having a raised temperature; maybe a sore throat; alternating chills and fevers and feeling tired and rundown.

Of course there are daily lifestyle practices that make you less susceptible to viruses. You can find clues to these in this post. You can also read about STRENGTH, and throughout all the free ebooks, you will find what I call Seeds of Health, to sow in your life! These are actions you can take that strengthen your immune system, so your body can defend itself against attackers.

Drink and be Refreshed

This action is the most important (to me): Spend time in prayer, meditation and reading your Bible. Most of all being thankful! How longsuffering is Christ and our Father in Heaven! How many blessings have you had today. There is nothing like the glow of thankfulness to impart wellness to the human system.

To someone who thinks the Bible is just a book (as I used to), this might sound strange. However, reading the Bible is not like reading a science book, certainly nothing like a fiction (false) story, nor studying politics or philosophy. Many years ago, before I had a belief in God, I used to try and study the Bible as if it was a text book. Of course, I had 100 unanswered questions in the first few pages!

You see, the Bible is a “living” connection between you and God. Reading the Bible, with honest openheartedness, and seeking for guidance is a little bit like having a long, cool drink of coconut water on a hot busy day: after “drinking” (reading) the Bible, you find yourself refreshed, with more energy, more clarity, more understanding and compassion for others, and more direction in your own life.

All this occurs because reading the Bible supernaturally connects you to the Spirit of Christ. How amazing is that! For this reason, I have found a short prayer of thankfulness and praise before opening up my Bible seems to supercharge my “drink” from the Bible. 

To learn more about the Bible, go here to this free ebook. To read more about God, go to this free ebook.

Until next time...I pray for you dear brother and sister, wherever you might be.

 

References:

 1. https://www.thoughtco.com/differences-between-bacteria-and-viruses-4070311

2. https://journals.lww.com/pidj/fulltext/2005/11001/History_and_Recent_Advances_in_Coronavirus.12.aspx

3. Image (atomic level internal structure  of COVID-19 virus particle) https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/novel-coronavirus-structure-reveals-targets-vaccines-treatments

4. Image (Top Image microscope image of COVID-19 virus particles) https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-new-wuhan-coronavirus-stacks-up-against-sars-mers

5. Image (Bell Curve by mcmurrayjulie on pixabay) https://pixabay.com/illustrations/bayesian-statistics-bell-curve-2889576/ 

Posted: Wed 18 Mar 2020

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