Medical Info About COVID-19
INFORMATION ABOUT THE COVID 19 (Coronavirus)
WHAT IS IT?
1. Coronavirus are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others in animals.
2. “Coronavirus” is not unique. EVERYONE reading this has likely had one or another coronavirus infection. This strain/member has been named COVID 19.
3. This strain/member is new to humans so that humans do not have immunity to it like other coronaviruses or viruses in general.
4. It is NOT the flu; it is a completely different virus.
5. You may have heard references to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This virus is in the same family.
HOW IS IT SPREADING?
1. Person – to – Person: meaning between people who are in close contact with another (less than 6 ft)
2. Through respiratory droplets that happens when you cough or sneeze
3. Another way possible, is by airborne. This is when the droplets remaining in the air could cause disease after the person is no longer near (length of time is dependent on filtration systems and how many “virus particles” the person put in the air.
4. People are most contagious when they are the most sick (symptomatic/showing symptoms).
5. There have been few reports that show before people show symptoms, they are contagious. However, this is not the main way it is passed on.
6. It is possible that someone can get COVID 19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. However, that is TRUE with MOST VIRUSES i.e: cold, flu, “stomach flu” (gastroenteritis), etc. However, this virus appears to be quite hardy and transmissible. One study shown “Scientists discovered the virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”
7. “the biology and epidemiology of the virus make infection extremely difficult to detect in its early stages because the majority of cases show no symptoms for five days or longer after exposure.” (UCLA, National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CDC, & Princeton University, 2020).
8. There is evidence that COVID 19 can be spread before a person develops symptoms. When asymptomatic (no symptoms) transmission (passing it along) happens, infection control experts and public health officials may need to take additional measures.
1. The symptoms are the same as the flu, fever, cough, body aches, shortness of breath
2. In general, symptoms appear in 2-14 days (called the incubation period) after exposure.
1. Elderly (especially those with immunocompromise/poor immune system)
2. People with immunocompromise due to chronic diseases such as COPD, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
3. People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
PREVENTION – THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO EVERY FLU/COLD SEASON
1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you’ve been in a public place, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing.
2. If unable to wash your hands. Then use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Coverall surfaces of your hands and rub until dry.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands.
4. Put distance between yourself and other people IF COVID 19 IS IN THE COMMUNITY AND SPREADING.
5. Wear a face mask IF YOU ARE SICK
6. IF you are NOT sick, no need to wear a face mask unless caring for someone that is sick.
7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
8. Currently there are no vaccines, depending on sources, it could take many months to up to a year.
WHY ISN’T EVERYONE BEING TESTED?
1. Healthcare (we) don’t test or know about most people who get the flu or virus infections. That means most people will probably get it and just think they have a cold or “lite” flu.
2. You are only hearing about the worse cases, the most severe – not the minor ones which will be most of the cases.
3. People only who are seriously ill (most severe) will be tested to find out what virus they have, ie flu, RSV, COVID 19.
4. Remember, we (healthcare) don’t test for any respiratory illness, other than the flu. That is because treatment needs to start in 24-48 hours.
5. It can be easy to overestimate how severe or lethal the virus is because the only cases you end up knowing about are the serious ones.
1. There is NO treatment for a respiratory virus infection.
2. Then you ask, “what about the flu”. The treatment for the flu is only good if you start in the first 24 to 48 hours and it only decreases the severity of the symptoms.
3. DO NOT ASK FOR ANTIBOITICS. Those are for bacterial infections – not viruses. They don’t really help you, and if you think they have in the past, it was a coincidence. Taking antibiotics when you shouldn’t can be harmful (resistances, allergic reaction, secondary infection).
1. It’s ok to open packages from CHINA or anywhere else. Viruses only can live a few hours on surfaces.
2. COVID 19 can be KILLED by REGUALR household disinfectants.
3. As of today, NO reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID 19.
4. There’s a story going around that people will lose lung function/capacity after the virus. This stems from a VERY SMALL study in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, doctors found people who were sent home after “full recovered”, 2 to 3 out of 12 saw changes in their lung capacity – meaning they “gasp if they walk a bit more quickly”; “Some patients might have around a drop of 20-30% n lung function, after recovery.
5. NEED TO REMEMBER, it is too early to establish long term effects.
6. Also, has with pneumonia, you can experience the same thing for 6 weeks or more. So, do not read too much into this story. This is FYI.
7. Every respiratory virus as the potential to be lethal. People unfortunately die every year from many upper respiratory viral infections.
8. How severe COVID 19 is not fully known. While most information regarding this virus is mild, a report out of China suggest serious illness occurs 16% of cases.
TERMS (Harvard Health Publishing, 2020)
1. Flatten curve refers to the epidemic curve, a statistical chart used to visualize the number of new cases over a given period during a disease outbreak. Flattening the curve is shorthand for implementing mitigation strategies to slow things down, so that fewer new cases develop over a longer period. This increases the chances that hospitals and other healthcare facilities will be equipped to handle any influx of patients.
2. Community spread (community transmission): is said to have occurred when people have been infected without any knowledge of contact with someone who has the same infection.
3. Social distancing: refers to actions taken to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. For an individual, it refers to maintaining enough distance between yourself and another person to reduce the risk of breathing in droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In a community, social distancing measures may include limiting or cancelling large gatherings of people.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE LAST PANDEMIC
1. The confirmed cases are constantly changing and depending on your source and date the number could be very different. It is too early to say number of confirmed COVID 19, especially since those will only be the serious enough to be tested.
2. However, the last pandemic was in 2009, the “Swine flu”. It was a different strain of flu (H1N1) pdm09. It, has with most virus pandemics, never been seen in humans. The virus spread quickly globally, primarily affecting children and adults under 65 who laced immunity to H1N1.
3. Between 4/12/09 to 4/10/10, the CDC estimates swine flu caused 60.8 million illnesses, 273,304 hospitalizations and 12, 469 deaths in the US.
4. W.H.O declare swine flu pandemic 6/11/09. On 10/5/09, US began administering newly vaccines. On 8/10/10, WHO declared an end to the pandemic.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (2020, March 14). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Frequently Asked Questions About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). (2020, March 13). Retrieved from https://www.nfid.org/infectious-diseases/frequently-asked-questions-about-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/
Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, March 21). Coronavirus Resource Center. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center#Terms
Lockerd Maragakis, L. (2020, March). Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu
UCLA, National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CDC, & Princeton University. (2020, March 20). Study reveals how long COVID-19 remains infectious on cardboard, metal and plastic. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200320192755.htm
World Health Organization. (n.d.). Myth busters. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters