The world has changed forever.
COVID-19 or CoronaVirusDisease19 or SARS-CoV-2, is a virus that is “novel” because it previously solely affected animals. The virus originated in Wuhan, province of Hubei in eastern China and through genetic sequencing and analyzing the earliest cases of infection, it has been traced to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. 27 of the first 41 patients hospitalized with the virus had contact with the market, which sold live animals and meat from animals including bats, snakes and pangolins. In reporting from the BBC – “The hypothesis that the outbreak started at the market and could have been transmitted from a living animal to a human host before spreading human-to-human is still considered the most likely, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).” Bats, transmitters of other zoonotic diseases such as Ebola, Rabies and HIV, are particularly abundant in this area in China and it is possible that the origin story for COVID-19 is similar to the wildly prescient film “Contagion” from 2011.
COVID-19 can cause acute respiratory distress, and ultimately death. WHO also concludes that 80% of people that become infected with the virus recover on their own without needing treatment and 6% will develop severe respiratory illness with pneumonia like symptoms. On average, 3.4% will die from the illness, but this changes according to age and other variables such as pre-existing conditions. As of March 24th, in Canada, we have almost 3000 cases of the virus and 24 deaths. What is most worrying is the fact that cases are doubling every five days which is the same doubling rate that has occurred in Italy. Italy now has almost 64,000 cases and over 6000 deaths and the country has ground to a halt.
A week ago, I decided to temporarily close worldSALON. Although gut wrenching, it seemed like the responsible thing to do to play our part in slowing the rate of transmission. A week before, I had a health care professional in my chair explaining the difference in infection scenarios between COVID-19 and measles. With measles, the virus particles can be aerosolized making an entire room pathogenic in no time at all. COVID-19 is spread by droplet spray, thusly an area of separation six feet from one another has become a crucial requirement we all must adopt to keep each other safe, whether sneezing, coughing or laughing. Social distancing, however, makes it impossible to cut someone’s hair, or refresh their balayage, and today, the Ontario government made it mandatory for all non-essential businesses to close for at least 14 days. Health experts are concluding from models of infection rates we have seen in China, Italy and other countries, that we are going to need potentially two months of social distancing to slow the disease, and even with this the virus will not peak in Canada until September. This scenario is unfathomable, the economic devastation is hard to imagine.
As a hair stylist and salon owner, I have been lucky in our niche until now. So many business owners are in this horrible limbo, not knowing what is to come or how to adequately prepare. It is like a bizarre split screen nightmare, however because on the other side, in hunkering down, my partner and I have been cooking up a storm, experimenting boldly since it’s just us eating these new recipes and going for walks with the dog every day. We have been having great talks with our neighbours – from a safe distance of course, and also slowly tackling some projects around the house. We are extremely lucky in spite of the stress that these uncertain times bring. I know many people are ill or struggling to stay afloat and my heart goes out to all of them.
One thing that has been shared often in recent communications is the desire people have to focus spending on local, small businesses. To help our community access the clean and healthy products that we offer, WORLD Hair and Skin – world.ca – will be reducing our pricing Please stay tuned for information coming soon.
In these turbulent times, be safe, stay healthy and stay at home! We will get through this if we are all careful and do our part to be responsible citizens.