Update on Coronavirus

February 25, 2020 – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. This disease was first identified in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. As of February 25th, 2020, the virus has been found in affected individuals in over 3 dozen countries. 

The virus is spread between people by small respiratory droplets produced during coughing, sneezing, or breathing. To reduce the chance of infection, health organizations recommend: (1) avoiding close contact with sick individuals; (2) not touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and (3) frequently washing hands with soap and water. They also remind people to practice good respiratory hygiene (covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing) and to clean and disinfect regularly used objects and surfaces.The time between exposure and onset of symptoms is typically 2 to 14 days.

Most people who develop Coronavirus Disease exhibit symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In some cases, the illness may progress further to pneumonia, and even to multi-organ failure. There are currently no vaccines or specific antiviral drugs to prevent or treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (although several organizations are currently trying to develop vaccines and treatments). Management of this disease involves treatment of symptoms and supportive care. The fatality rate associated with the recent Coronavirus outbreak is estimated at between 1% to 3%. According to China’s National Health Commission, most of the individuals who died after being infected were older individuals (over the age of 60), many of whom had pre-existing health conditions.

If you suspect that you may have been infected with the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019, it is recommended that you wear a surgical mask around other people to limit the spread of disease. It is also recommended that you call ahead before visiting a doctor. This will help the doctor’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Person-to-person spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 has been observed in the U.S. among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, China. However, at this time (Feb. 25th, 2020), this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.

Further information about Prevention and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

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