Corona virus (COVID-19)
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
(Photo by CDC on Unsplash)
It must be noted that Switzerland is a confederation and that the federal government has taken control on a national basis through national emergency measures which have not been engaged since general mobilization during the second world war.
Their first action was to restrict gatherings to no more than 1000, individual cantons able to lower that, Bern, for one, immediately said maximum 50.
Geneva’s largest event, the annual motor show (estimated 600,000 visitors over 10 days) – was cancelled; a good decision particularly for those employees who would have needed to interact with visitors from all over the world really closely face-to-face; but it could have been catastrophic to have it go ahead.
A piano trio concert in late February went ahead but with “some sections of the hall closed” – the hall has a capacity of 1640 so the number of people was reduced to below the 1000 limit – were we safer? In the hall maybe, but the crowded bar at the interval brought home the inadequacy of the action.
Very shortly afterwards, schools were closed, non-essential activities shut down and gatherings reduced to a maximum of five. Public transport runs on a much reduced schedule, but still runs for those who have need, but the ‘stay-at-home’ requirement for others is clearly being followed. Social distancing and public ad-hoc gatherings are being policed with fines applied.
There is no miraculous response – we must all follow, responsibly, guidelines for avoiding and not helping to spread the virus; staying home, social distancing, stopping unrestrained coughs and sneezes. Both masochists and egoists all have some changes to make to help contain the virus.
As of mid April the numbers show the infection curve flattening and so now the very gradual and phased relaxation of restrictions is beginning.
One of Europes’s largest open air music festivals, Paleo, has been cancelled, and so has the Montreux Jazz Festival – both were scheduled to take place in July. Sensible decisions which reveal just how fragile any return-to-normal efforts will be — any plan must be ready to be revised if the infection cases do not continue a solid downward trend.