Covid-19: What we know, March 2020...
- Started in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019 and is named COVID-19, after COrona VIrus Disease, 2019.
- It is very transmissible and spreads readily from person to person; we think that most commonly it is spread person to person by "respiratory droplets" as a result of coughing or sneezing. Think of droplets as tiny bits of fluid and mucus that you can feel when someone sneezes near you. Six (6) feet is the magic number of how far these little droplets travel. These droplets can get on surfaces that can last for hours, especially if they are hard like steel and plastic. If you touch those surfaces then you can transmit the virus to your face, eyes, nose, etc. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine states, "The study suggests that people may acquire the coronavirus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. 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." (Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. New England Journal of Medicine, 2020) However, according to the Center for Disease Control, surface touching is not thought to be the main mode of disease transmission.
- What is the incubation period? 2-11 days with a 5 day average.
- What are the symptoms? FEVER, DRY COUGH, DIFFICULTY BREATHING. It typically causes flu-like symptoms. Some patients — particularly the elderly and others with other chronic health conditions — develop a severe form of pneumonia. Patients develop symptoms like fever, muscle and body aches, cough, and sore throat about 5-6 days after infection. Some people will feel pretty miserable for a week and get better on their own. Some people won’t get as sick, but it’s still important not to be out and about, so as not to spread the disease. A minority of patients will get worse instead of better. This usually happens after 5-7 days of illness and these patients will have more shortness of breath and worsening cough. If this happens, it’s time to contact your doctor again or even go to an emergency room. Be sure to call first so they know you are coming. Most people experience minor to no symptoms, making it hard to identify.
- Who is at high risk? Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19
- A stuffy and runny nose ARE NOT common symptoms of this new coronavirus. If you're mostly having those symptoms, then you probably have something else.
- Is everyone at risk of getting COVID-19? YES, due to the fact that this is a new virus to human immune systems; therefore, no one has natural immunity to it. Children are at lower risk, unlike influenza, and older people, especially with coexisting conditions, are at greater risk for serious infection.
- Will COVID-19 end in the spring and summer with warmer temperatures? We are not sure if this bug is seasonal, and there are only hints that it is. Let's hope.
- Public health measures have aided the halt of many pandemics in the past and they have a major role in this one: wash hands and often, do not touch your face without washing hands, practice social distancing, cover your coughs and sneezes, if you are sick contact your doctor and self quarantine, possibly even get tested for covid-19.