Coronavirus: Black Bag’s report

Mar 19, 2020 | feigonhamilton | Uncategorized

Black Bag is a concierge emergency medicine firm that works with many of our clientele across the nation. Dr. Christopher Sidford is the founder of Black Bag and can be reached at:

Coronavirus: What it is, here’s what we know, what you can do to prepare

What is the coronavirus (COVID-19)? The coronavirus is not a single entity. COVID-19 is from the family of coronaviruses, named as such for the crown-like spikes on the surface of the germ. Its distinguishing trait is respiratory distress. The resulting illnesses from this coronavirus may range from the common cold to more severe cases of MERS and SARS, both of which have a considerably lower infection and fatality rate than COVID-19.

Origin: This strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, was identified in January 2020 out of Wuhan, China and was tied to a public market that sold live animals, though the specific animal has not been identified. It is now clear that the virus is being spread by human-to-human contact and not limited to animal-tohuman. There is now also distinct evidence of community spread; that is, diagnosed individuals with no known or apparent contact with another case.

Spread and outbreaks: As of March 3, 2020, there are close to ninety thousand cases worldwide, 96% of which are in China. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 3000 deaths have been attributed to the virus and the strain is already identified in 40 countries. On February 29th, the first fatality in the United States was reported in Washington state, followed in the next two days with an additional five deaths. The virus appears to be very fast-moving and a vaccine will likely take 12-18 months to develop and test.

Symptoms: The symptoms of COVID-19 typically cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory illnesses that may feel very similar to the flu or a bad cold: fever, runny nose, headache, sore throat, and a cough, which may sound very dry. Although 80% of the cases will likely be mild, the other 20% will experience more severe symptoms which include difficulty breathing, pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory distress requiring a ventilator.

Incubation: What makes COVID-19 challenging to contain is that the incubation period may be up to 14 days. This is a substantial amount of time and means, even if people are monitored for a fever and other symptoms, they may be walking around unaware, unaffected, and unintentionally infecting others in their orbit. A person can be exposed on day one and not exhibit any symptoms until the second week.

Transmission: Like other viruses, 60% of COVID-19 cases are spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing in the vicinity of others, where germs are transmitted by air droplets. As well, a smaller number of cases (20%) are spread by touching an infected object or surface. A final 20% are infected by touching contaminated surfaces then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.

Who’s at risk? Unlike influenza, which typically poses a greater risk to the very young, the very old, and the immunocompromised, currently COVID-19 appears to be affecting the latter two populations most, as well as healthcare workers who are around the virus daily. The elderly appear to present with less fevers, so assessment of cough or difficulty breathing should be closely monitored. While the flu has a fatality rate of about .1%, right now, COVID-19 appears to have about a 2-3% fatality rate. This may change, depending on the care of those sickened and the ongoing response to the spread of the virus.

Treatment At present, there is no identified treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a diagnostic test, which has been distributed, but not nearly in great enough numbers.

Prevention • Currently, the best prevention remains vigilant, consistent, and thorough hygiene. • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds ( As soon as you arrive at a destination, particularly after having used public or mass transit, wash your hands. • If you don’t have access to soap and water, travel with a small bottle of hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. • Routinely clean frequently touched common areas and surfaces, in offices and homes (doorknobs, desks, etc.). • Keep your hands away from your face (eyes, nose, mouth), as these are the gateways through which germs enter the body. • Get a flu shot. It’s not too late and will protect you against this year’s flu strain. Even if it’s not 100% effective, it generally lessens the course of the illness, and may keep individuals out of the hospital. Further, getting the flu shot hopefully lessens the risk of having both the flu and getting COVID-19. With fewer individuals being admitted with the flu, hospitals and staff will be freed up for dealing with much sicker and more vulnerable populations. • If warranted, either by age or risk,stay current with other vaccines, especially the pneumococcal vaccine. • Do your best to stay away from people who are visibly sick. • Don’t bother with masks. The ones in doctors ’offices are best left to patients who are sick. These people should use masks to prevent the spread of their germs to healthy people. As well, masks should be saved for healthcare workers. • If you are sick, stay home!

Preparation for an extended homestay • Experts agree: it’s not a matter of “if” the general public is affected by COVID-19, it’s a matter of “when.” To this end, in the case of a mandated or voluntary quarantine, there are some suggestions to have on hand the following: • Potable water (at least three days ’worth). • Shelf-stable food, including protein. • Enough prescription AND over-the-counter medications for a month. • Hand sanitizer, bleach, alcohol and other cleaning products that will help kill germs, bacteria and sterilize common surfaces. • Nitrile gloves. • Dependent care needs (young and old, and don’t forget pets) • Items needed for remote/telework, in the case of an extended homestay. • Entertainment items like books, puzzles, board games, etc., if necessary.

Travel suggestions • If you must travel, stay informed. Be aware of the most recent travel notices, CDC travel warnings, and hotspots for the virus. Currently, key outbreaks are in China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. • Recognize that there are and WILL BE travel restrictions and interruptions, both internationally and domestically. • A number of large events, like conferences or concerts, will likely be cancelled, particularly in cities where the virus has already been identified (currently, Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island). • If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or start to experience symptoms, call your physician immediately.

Above all, stay informed with legitimate and scientific news sources.

Resources CDC website on COVID-19 Infectious Diseases Society of America Live Science World Health Organization European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Wuhan virus tracker and feed General preparedness CDC website on traveling and COVID-19 Global case monitoring General suggestions for travel

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