We are entering a long and difficult to win war… These were the words I wrote 15 days ago in a chat shared with some Spanish colleagues, in which some of them claimed that it was just another simple influenza strain. Today, in Madrid’s hospitals alone, there is a death every 16 minutes. Who are we fighting against? It’s called SARS CoV 2 (COVID-19) which, compared to its 2003 predecessor, turns out to be less deadly but with an incredible transmission capacity. Sars is an acronym meaning Acute Severe Respiratory Syndrome, while Covid 19 stands for COronavirus Disease 19, which indicates the year of onset. How and where did this virus originate? We still don’t know for sure but, in all probability, it followed the same steps as its predecessors. Or rather that of the spillover, the steps of the “jump of species”. This probably happened in the chinese markets of Wuhan, where, traditionally, wild animals are sold and consumed. Due to the lack of refrigeration, food and people are easily contaminated. Currently this practice has been finally banned. But let’s go back to our country which, today, exceeding 40,000 infections, has reached the sad record of the worst hit nation in the world. The mortality rate in Italy is a stagerring 7.2%, while it is lower in China, with a rate of around 3%. The reasons for this gap are partly due to the fact that the Italian population is, on average older but, above all, because we have chosen to only carry-out tests for symptomatic people only. A fact of concern that should be studied is the difference in mortality between men and women, respectively 60% and 40%. To explain this phenomenon we talk about the effects of estrogen on the female sex and the response of the female immune systems which, is more effective in virus protection. But there is far more: Men, according to a Swedish study, have an added inherent risks of underestimating the consequences and acting more impulsively. And it turns out that men are often more negligent in washing their hands, after: having caressed animals, sneezed, blown their nose, handled money, changed a diaper or after using the bathroom. Finally, we must consider the percentage of smoking men who, being higher, negatively affects the severity of symptoms since smoking is a pejorative factor What other factors increase the mortality rate? According to the ISS, having comorbidities such as cardiovascular and kidney diseases, but also diabetes and obesity would drastically increase the possibility of death. After analyzing 355 cases of deaths from covid-19 “Only” 12, or 3%, did not have previous pathologies. Particular attention must then be paid to hypertensive patients who use ACE inhibitor drugs. A Chinese study conducted on 2,173 coronavirus patients who died showed a correlation with the blood group. Blood group A statistically exhibits double mortality compared to group 0, which would therefore be more protected, while B and AB would be in the middle position in this ranking. Why are the regions of the “Pianura Padana” more affected? Air pollution in the form of atmospheric particulate matter as already reported in several studies performed on the transmission of other virus strains, would seem to facilitate the transmission of virions in the event of an epidemic. Furthermore, the resistance of the virus is greater in cold and humid places. As this recently published Chinese study shows us, persistence on surfaces varies from 2h* to 9 days, while at fridge temperature up to 4 weeks; therefore remember to also clean your refrigerators. The products useful for breaking down the proteins of the virus are bleach and 60-70% pure alcohol on surfaces; both would act in less than a minute. What are the main symptoms and how do I recognize them? Tiredness, persistent fever, cough, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal syndromes. All symptoms similar to normal seasonal flu, but as we approach the warmer seasons these are more typical indicators of Covid-19. The symptom that must alert us more than others is dyspnea, or the shortness of breath, which occurs after a slight physical effort like that of climbing a flight of stairs! It is good to add that further possible signs are the loss of smell and taste. How do I prevent the virus? Our main defence is social distancing. Those who have to leave the house will have to protect themselves with masks, like the surgical one. The most exposed subjects are of course doctors, who have already paid dearly 17* dead and 2,800 infected Not having appropriate personal protective equipment has added to these tragic numbers. How has the shortage of N95 masks (FFP2 or FFP3) exposed the medical class in high risk The shortage of these devices, in particular of masks, must lead us to find alternative solutions of insulation, some of which are basically impossible to implement. A study published in the journal of Nature has shown that the masks could be sterilized in 10 seconds with UV lamp devices. The problem is that even these devices have now become expensive and difficult to find. Are there therapies against the virus? For the moment there is no vaccine, it is estimated that it will take about a year before it is available, nor is there a specific drug, even if various therapies are being used, which act either directly on the virus or by blocking the inflammatory cascade at lung level thus increasing patient survival. Is it important to stick to a healthy lifestyle? We should focus on everything that strengthens the immune system, since it is a clear fact that the immunocompromised are more at risk of mortality. Healthy nutrition rich in antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, good hydration, moderate physical activity, restful sleep and positive thoughts. Don’t forget the sun! But how during quarantine? Just look out the window! When necessary, an integration based on vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and the precursor of glutathione i.e. N-acetyl cysteine and intestinal bacterial flora. All this does not make you immune from contracting the virus, for which the fundamental factor still remains the absence of contagion. So please, STAY HOME.