Where the Virus Began
Of the 3,118 deaths attributed to COVID-19 so far, 2,900 of these deaths have occurred in mainland China. 2,800 of these were in Hubei Province, which is considered the center of the outbreak.
The Spread of the Virus
The Spread of the COVID 19 virus is attributed to close contact with an infected individual. It is transmitted similar to influenza, through respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing. The time between exposure and the onset of symptoms is between 2 and to 14 days. The virus is expected to become more widespread in the United States.
The Risk of Infection
Most people in the U.S. will have little immediate risk of exposure to the virus. People who are having the most severe impact from this disease are those who are older, and those who are medically fragile (underlying medical conditions). This is very similar to the risk groups that are at serious complications for seasonal influenza.
Infections by Age
When considering the ages of those affected, the China Center for Disease Control reported that 87% of those infected were between the ages of 30 and 79. Just over 8% of cases were 20-somethings.
Symptoms of Infection
Symptoms often involve fever, cough, and breathing difficulty. Approximately 16% of those contracting the virus will experience serious effects involving pneumonia.
There are no specific treatments for coronavirus infections. Most people will get better on their own.
- Stay isolated in home and rest.
- Avoid infecting others via close contact.
- Take over-the-counter medications for pain, fever, and cough.
- Use a room humidifier to ease sore throat and cough
- Drink fluids
- Since this is viral, antibiotics are of no use. And antiviral drugs used for the flu will also not work.
There is no vaccine currently available. Pharmaceutical companies are in various stages of development of vaccines, with most only in the pre-clinical phase.
Protection from the Virus
The CDC recommends the following prevention practices:
- Wash your hands several times daily with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid touching or shaking hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are showing signs of illness (sneezing, nasal secretions, coughing, fever, chills, aches, fatigue).
- Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces (work and food tables, radios, cell phones, computer keyboards, touch screens, resuscitation devices, rescue tubes, whistles, railings, sinks).
Stay Abreast of Changes
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remain the best source for frequent updates: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html