Koman and Kimmell Family Practice
Genesis Medical Associates
Updated: March 11, 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is from a new virus spreading from person-to-person that originated in China. It is approaching pandemic status. The COVID-19 virus is spread from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, close personal contact, or touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth or eyes before washing your hands. The virus enters our body through contact with mucous membranes or inhaled into your lungs. COVID-19 symptoms appear between 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Johns Hopkins University has been tracking data on the global spread of the virus:

COVID -19 virusGlobal CasesUS CasesUS Deaths
As of 3/11/2020121,5641,05029

 

Keep in mind, the coronavirus appears to affect people much like the flu but spreads much easier like a cold. There is no current treatment for COVID-19 virus infection except for supportive care and relief of symptoms, therefore the best way to avoid infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, unless you need medical care.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys or doorknobs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. Wash especially after coughing or sneezing, caring for an ill person, preparing foods and eating.
  • Use an alcohol based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Studies have suggested the mortality rate is between 1.4%-3.4%. The statistics however are fluctuating. At at this time, we are able to identify the number of deaths much easier than confirmed cases due to limited testing. Up until March 2, all samples had to be sent to the CDC and testing was very limited based on strict criteria. In response, commercial labs have developed their own tests and will be in use very soon, if not already. Once the testing is appropriately implemented we could see a significant jump in US cases.