UPDATED - 3-24-2020 by: Erik Lundquist, MD
Like it or not, coronavirus is descending upon us. School closing, travel bans, and quarantines are happening in and to the majorly affected countries. There is good news and bad news surrounding coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, right now.
The bad news is that it continues to spread worldwide.
Question: What is a pandemic?
A pandemic is when an infection has traveled to multiple countries. COVID-19 is now in almost every country worldwide with hundreds of thousands of total cases.
Question: what is a coronavirus?
Coronavirus is one of the most common causes of the common cold. However, this is a new strain of Coronavirus and what makes this particular strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, deadly, is that it gets down into the base of the lungs and causes the immune system to become overactive. Then, the immune system releases lots of inflammatory chemicals that lead to increased mucus and fluid production in the lungs. If this happens, it leads to a scenario called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in those who are more susceptible. Currently, approximately 20% of infected individuals are developing SARS.
Check out this link to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOV1aBVYKGA&feature=youtu.be
Question: how is coronavirus transmitted?
COVID-19 is highly contagious and transmitted by respiratory droplets. This is why it is so important to protect yourself from getting coughed on, sneezed on or by touching items that someone may have touched after coughing or sneezing.
Question: What are the most common symptoms?
An article released by the Lancet on some of the first infected with COVID-19 from the Wuhan, China area became the world’s first detailed case analysis. Chen and colleagues looked at 99 individuals and reported that fever (83%), cough (82%), and shortness of breath (31%) were the most common symptoms among the patients. Other symptoms included muscle ache (11%), confusion (9%), headache (8%), sore throat (5%), rhinorrhea (4%), chest pain (2%), diarrhea (2%), and nausea and vomiting (1%). NEW REPORTS OUT OF NYC SHOW THAT ALMOST 50% OF PATIENTS HAVE GI SYMPTOMS.
Question: what is the incubation time and infection time?
The incubation time is still unclear but it is assumed that it is somewhere between 4-10 days once exposed and it can last for at least two weeks. However, there are some people who are shedding virus who do not have any symptoms. Therefore, quarantine of exposed individuals is 14 days. For infected individuals it is recommended to be quarantined for 14 days and then to get retested before going back out into the community.
Question: if I have been exposed should I be quarantined?