We began blogging about coronavirus in early February as a way to manage stress and promote facts over fear. Since then, there have been major changes in what we know about the virus and the risks it presents.
The Importance of Social Distancing
Mortality rates have been very high, in part, due to overwhelmed medical facilities. The virus moves into an area, gets a lot of people sick and then the hospitals don’t have the resources to take care of them properly.
Social distancing – staying away from crowds and other people unless absolutely necessary – will help slow the spread of the illness down enough for hospitals to treat people who need it.
What Is Coronavirus?
The most important thing to understand is that most coronaviruses are not dangerous. The coronavirus in China is a mutated strain authorities believe transferred to humans via animals in a marketplace in Wuhan, China. This variant is now known as the 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV – and now, the illness the virus causes is called Covid-19.
Other dangerous coronaviruses include:
- SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and
- MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
What is the Covid 19 Mortality Rate?
It is still too soon to tell.
At the origin in Wuhan in Hubei Province, China, the mortality rate is near 2 percent. That doesn’t mean the mortality rate for the disease is 2 percent. In South Korea, it’s under 1 percent. In Iran? 14 percent.
That’s the problem with figuring mortality rate. Beginning results must consider a population’s access to adequate health care.
As of March 16, 2020, experts believed the mortality rate to be under 1% when patients have access to medical care, though the rates are still much higher for people 60+.
How Does a Coronavirus Spread?
These viruses spread the same way as the common cold. Sneezing and coughing release droplets into the air carrying the virus. People cough on their hands, wipe their eyes or nose, or put their hands in their mouths and transfer the virus that way as well.
Preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the USA or anywhere begins with basic hygeine. Washing your hands with soap and warm water, using antibacterial hand gel, covering your face when you cough and sneeze, wearing a medical mask if you are sick, taking cold meds to cut down on your coughing/sneezing if you’re sick, and being mindful of when you touch your face.
Is There a Coronavirus Vaccine?
No. There are three groups currently working together to create a vaccine for 2019-nCoV. Human trials are expected to begin in roughly three months. A working vaccine isn’t expected for at least 18 months.
What Are Coronavirus Symptoms?
Covid-19 symptoms primarily include coughs, fevers and breathing difficulties. Recovered patients have described the feeling of having marbles in their lungs or trying to breath with a bag over their heads.
Once infection spreads to the larynx, trachea and bronchi, pneumonia is a serious risk. That is the condition responsible for the deaths from coronavirus we’re hearing about.
What Coronavirus Treatments Do We Have in Place?
According to the BBC, the Washington patient in Everett, Wash. is completely isolated from hospital staff and being monitored and serviced by a robot, just in case. That may be for the best as the first coronavirus related death of a doctor in China has been reported.
In the past, patients with coronavirus have been treated in much the same way as patients with colds. Thankfully, our experiences with MERS and SARS should help medical teams against 2019-nCoV.
- Steroids to help reduce swelling in lungs and other infected areas
- Antiviral and antibiotic medications used to fight infections
- Breathing assistance, generally through a ventilator
These methods are used to help the patient fight off the coronavirus, as there is currently no known cure. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean someone who is infected will die. Just like people recover from colds, people recover from coronaviruses. (Check the recovery rates at the end of this article for more information.)
Still, this is not an illness you should attempt to treat at home. The implications for the people around you are severe enough for you to contact your doctor immediately by phone if there is a credible risk of you having 2019-nCoV. Medical personnel can safely test you for the virus without increasing the chances of it spreading to anyone else. (As of March 16, 2020, this is more true than it was a week ago, but tests are still scarce!)
Worldwide Spread of the 2020 Coronavirus
While the coronavirus started in China, it quickly spread to other countries around the world. While at first these were from people who had traveled to the area, it quickly changed from those who’d been there to those who’d been around someone who was sick. This is called “community spread,” which is dangerous for coronavirus because we know some people can spread the illness without having any symptoms.
The first known death from coronavirus to occur outside of China took place in the Philippines Jan. 31, 2020. However, there is speculation that this disease has been active since September 2019 with the first major spread occuring in Wuhan in January.
As of March 16, 2020, many U.S. schools are closed, many organizations have closed their doors, and in some areas, restaurants and bars have been ordered to shut down for now. Unfortunately, people have also been panic buying, so the shelves at local stores are nearly bare.
According to John’s Hopkins University, 182,405 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed at this time.
China and U.S. have both been criticized for their initial reactions to the virus. China censored the doctor who first raised concerns. He has since succumbed to the illness. In the United States, testing was not – and is still not – widely available for most people. Sadly, there are rumors this was politically motivated.
Is the Flu Vaccine Effective Against the Coronavirus?
Update: As of March 16, no one seems to be doing this anymore. The backlash must have been so severe that it stopped. In addition, several people have been sued by state attorney generals offices for presenting false cures.
NO. Sadly, we’ve seen major news sources attempt to exploit the fears regarding deaths from coronavirus infection to sell more flu vaccines here in the United States.
There has been a growing trend toward more vaccination – more vaccination than the CDC knows to be safe – in regard to influenza A and B. In 2013, the CDC made the decision to redefine what constituted a “flu-related death” in order to publish numbers in the tens of thousands instead of the low one-thousands as in the past.
Proponents of the vaccine are quick to say vaccination will help you fight off a bug, even if it isn’t the flu. That is factually incorrect. The flu vaccine may help defend you against variants of Influenza A or B that are not in the flu vaccine for the season. That is much different from improving a patient’s immune defenses against something unrelated like 2019 novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
The flu vaccine will not protect you against any strain of coronavirus.
Should you get the flu vaccine anyway? This is the big question and one you have to answer on a case-by-case basis. Be sure to pay attention to the CDC recommendations found on the vaccine insert or in the center’s warnings for who should and should not get vaccinated here.
How Many Cases of Coronavirus in US Patients?
There are currently 4,661 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US. 85 people have died. 17 have recovered.
How Many People Around the World Have Been Cured of the Coronavirus?
In addition to tracking the number of deaths from coronavirus infection, we’d like to shed some light on the positive developments. According to the latest data available, 79,433 patients have recovered.