What is COVID-19?
The novel coronoavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of the coronavirus, which has been newly discovered. Unlike, the coronavirus that has commonly circulated among humans and has resulted in mild cold like symptoms; the novel coronavirus is a severe respiratory illness. This virus is reported to have developed in Wuhan, China, where the first cases have been identified and documented (CDC,2020).
Observations of Transmission:
This particular strain had not been previously identified in humans and is suspected to have been transmitted from a live animal to human, causing a rapid spread of the virus through person-to-person contact. This outbreak has spread so rapidly that it is considered a community spread virus, highly contagious.
COVID-19 is suspected to be spread between people who are in close contact with each other (about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets (cough or sneeze). These droplets if inhaled or lands into the mouth of others nearby can be inhaled into your lungs creating an exposure (CDC, 2020).
Best Practices to Minimize Exposure:
It is best to avoid public and closed in areas until more information is collected and gathered regarding this virus. It is possible that one can become infected by touching surfaces.
The World Health Organization has the following advice for the public regarding protecting yourself and others from getting sick (WHO, 2020):
- Wash your hands frequently (at least 20 seconds)
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Practice respiratory hygiene: cover your mouth and nose, cough or sneeze in your bent elbow, dispose of tissue promptly
- Clean and disinfect surface areas frequently
- Seek medical care early: if you experience fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, or if you have reason to believe you have been exposed through contact or travel
COVID-19 Cases in the United States:
Currently, there is no antiviral treatment available or recommended to treat COVID-19. However, if you suspect that you have had exposure or are having any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, or shortness of breath – please be advised to contact your healthcare provider immediately or contact your local health department. Although, there is no antiviral treatment for this virus, it is advised to receive supportive health care treatment in order to support vital organ function (CDC, 2020).
Those with underlying health conditions and age which all contribute to a weakened immune system are at an increased risk if exposed. This risk applies to all viruses, and should be noted when comparing and reviewing the data of those who impacted by the coronavirus and seasonal flu.
We all must do our part in responding to this emerging health threat by taking the necessary steps to reduce the spread of this virus. With it still being flu season it is recommended that if you are sick to seek medical attention and stay home from work or school.
If it can be avoided do not visit public areas where you place yourself at risk of infecting others or further hindering your illnesses. If you can postpone travel that is also advised. Be mindful that with travel (via airplane), air is being circulated in a closed and confined space and this is a contributing factor to the spread of airborne viruses, further increasing your exposure.
COVID-19 vs Seasonal Flu:
Continue to implement and encourage healthy habits with yourself and family members. We must treat all viruses with high alert and severity. Data shows that we have had a greater impact of hospitalizations and deaths related to the seasonal flu, compared to the coronavirus.
Data reports that the “new coronavirus has led to more than 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that’s nothing compared with the flu… In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 32 million illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)” (Rettner, 2020). [link to article]
Continue to use precaution and take all the necessary steps to keep yourself well and healthy. As more data is collected I will continue to blog on this issue and source any new information or findings in the coming weeks.
Have a happy Wednesday!
CDC. (2020, March 1). 2019-nCoV Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
Rettner, R. (2020, March 2). How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/new-coronavirus-compare-with-flu.html
WHO. (2020). Advice for public. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public