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SARS-CoV-2 virus

With the first case of COVID-19 now confirmed in Ireland it's important to stay abreast of the latest developments.

Let's start with some statistics.

Incubation period

It is widely reported that the incubation period for SARS-CoV-2 is between 2 to 14 days, however there are also reports of up to 24 days or more before the symptoms develop. The average incubation period appears to be less than 7 days and in some cases as little as 24 hours.

Coupled with suspected asymptomatic transmission this makes the virus very difficult to stop.

R0 (reproduction number)

The R0 number indicates how transmissible a virus is, i.e. how many people get infected from a single carrier. Because this is a brand new strain of the virus there is no herd immunity in the population and it can spread very rapidly.

Current best estimates place it between 1.4 and 6.49 with the average of 3.28 and a median of 2.79. WHO's R0 estimate is 1.4–2.5.

If an infected person takes part in a massive public gathering or visits a healthcare facility, school or creche, this number can easily grow far beyond just three new cases per infected individual.

Anything above 1 is bad as it means the spread will continue to grow, less than 1 means it will slow down.

Mortality rate

Mortality rate of COVID-19 is estimated between 0.4% and 3%, compared to 0.05% for seasonal flu epidemic, which is at least 8x worse at best and potentially as bad as 60x worse.

Males appear to be roughly twice as likely to die from complications than females.

WHO released a mortality rate figure of 3.4% but stressed that this is the global average including the Hubei province in China that was hardest hit and where healthcare facilities were unable to cope, which resulted in a significantly higher mortality rate than elsewhere. - NEW 5th March 2020

Rate of compilations

The regular flu has a rate of compilations requiring hospitalisation of about 0.9% of patients compared to 19% for COVID-19, with 5% being critical.

Up to 50% of critical patients die even with the best treatment readily available.


19th April 2020 South Korea* D. Princess** Italy*** US# Spain****
Death rate 2.19% 1.83% 13.22% 5.31% 10.29%
Critical rate (active) 2.31% 12.73% 2.43% 2.08% 7.31%
Total cases 10,661 712 178,972 764,636 198,674


* Best quality data (most people tested)
** Older population on average (Diamond Princess cruise ship)
*** Worst outbreak in Europe
**** Biggest outbreak in Europe
# Biggest outbreak in the world

Test kit sensitivity

RT-PCR test kits which are widely used for confirming COVID-19 infections have been shown to be only around 70% sensitive, meaning that 30% of infected cases are not detected with this testing method. It can also take up to 2-3 days to receive the results because this is a fairly complicated and slow test.

more reliable and faster method is a chest CT scan, where the presence of ground glass opacity has been shown to have 98% sensitivity for COVID-19 disease.


Some encouraging news emerging from research into chloroquine's effects on COVID-19. The hypothesis is that it acts as an ionophore (substance that transports particular ions across a lipid membrane in a cell) for Zn2+ ions, which in turn hinder the action of virus' RNA polimerase, impeding it's replication.

Recommended dose of chloroquine phosphate is 500mg twice per day for 10 days. Additional Zinc supplementation may improve the results somewhat, but Zinc on its own will not help as it cannot enter intracellular space without the help of chloroquine.


Your input

Please share your experience in the comments below and on our dedicated forum thread as to how you are preparing to deal with this outbreak. Are you facing shortages of any supplies (face masks or hand sanitiser gels) or medicines? How are you protecting yourself from infection?

Join our chat room

NOW would be a great time to join our News & Alerts Channel and Chat Room so that we can communicate in real time (think WhatsApp for large groups).

We will update this page as new information becomes available so be sure to BOOKMARK IT (Ctrl+D) and follow us on Facebook and Twitter (more links below).




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In the daily deluge of COVID-19 information it's hard to discern between relevant and high quality information and background noise/fake news.

We do our best to stay well within the scientifically verified information realm and with that in mind here are some high quality trackers of COVID-19 treatment developments:

COVID-19 Vaccines in development

We've never before had more technology and brain power focused on any single issue than we do right now on this virus, so it's perfectly valid to be very optimistic of a breakthrough coming soon.

In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy.

Let's connect:

What's your risk of COVID hospitalisation?

It's been a while since our last update, but things are again becoming very interesting on the COVID-19 front, so we're back to help shed some light on recent developments.

Immunity to COVID-19

Top on our list of concerns are of course the new strains of SARS-CoV-2 with higher infectivity and mortality. It's now more important than ever to be very vigilant of any symptoms developing and to immediately contact your doctor should you become concerned.

With that in mind we have prepared a COVID-19 symptom tracker based on the ZOE COVID Symptom Study led by Dr Claire Steves from King’s College London. You can download it below to easily track your symptoms for the first 5 days.

The study has shown that there is a strong correlation between the number of symptoms developed during the first 5 days and the risk of becoming seriously ill and requiring hospitalisation later on.

They produced two charts based on sex, age, the number of symptoms and the risk of hospitalisation with some surprising findings. Based on their research, men can display many more symptoms without later becoming seriously ill as compared to women.

This goes slightly against the well established data that men tend to be at a higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19, but on the other hand it also makes sense that men would display more symptoms under the same viral load.

While perhaps somewhat amusingly making a case for man-flu being a real thing, these findings more importantly mean that women need to be more careful should they develop even a modest number of symptoms.

Download tracker:


Let's connect:


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