Coronavirus Live Update


You have probably heard lots of bits of information about coronavirus outbreak. Some of its true, but some of it is so misleading. So in this article, we're going through a summary sticking with the facts about what you need to know about Covid-19.

What is Coronavirus

Is the coronavirus disease the same as SARS?

Coronavirus Live Update

Coronavirus is a whole family of viruses that have little spikes on the surface that look like a crown, which is how it got its name. You have probably heard of other types of coronavirus. There was the SARS coronavirus and the outbreak was in 2002. 

There was the MERS coronavirus, with an outbreak in 2012. And there are actually a lot of other types of coronavirus, but they don’t have special names and they just cause the common cold.
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What is the official name of the coronavirus disease?

The virus we are dealing with is called SARS-COV-2 and the disease that it causes is coronavirus disease in 2019. Or COVID-19 for short.

Coronavirus Outbreak Origin 

How did the coronavirus start?

Bats are actually a natural reservoir for many viruses, so the virus can actually replicate inside the bat without making it sick and then the bat passes it on to other animals and then finally that gets passed on to humans. And that is what happened in Wuhan, China. After the first person was infected by coronavirus china, the virus got passed from person to person by people coughing and sneezing.

 Did you know that in just one cough it can spray 3000 droplets that can go all over the place. If you get smacked in the face by someone’s cough, you can get a direct transmission of the virus. But if it lands in the air, the virus can land on a particle and stay floating there for up to 3 hours. If it goes on to a box, a cardboard box, it can last there for about 24 hours. And then if it goes on to plastic, it can be there for 2 to 3 days. So let’s say you get in touch with the virus and then you rub your face and then you get infected.

What happens next? When the virus enters the body, it uses those proteins on its surface, the ones that look like a crown, to get into our cells. Those proteins are like a key that unlocks receptors on the outside of the cell. We believe that it is specifically the ACE 2-receptor on our lungs that coronavirus is using to get inside our cells. Once the virus is inside, it then releases RNA, its genetic material, and it tricks your cells into making copies of the virus. So your cells actually become like a factory producing thousands of viruses without even realizing it. So at the beginning when the virus is replicating, you don’t actually have any symptoms yet. And this is called the incubation period. It’s different for lots of different viruses, but in the case of SARS-COV-2, we think that the incubation period is 4 days. 4 Days where you have been infected and you don’t have symptoms yet.

As the virus was spreading, doctors in China started seeing more and more pneumonia and one doctor, in particular, Dr. Lee wen Liang, became concerned when he saw 7 viral illnesses that reminded him of the SARS outbreak in 2002. He immediately started telling his colleagues that he was concerned, but 4 days later the authorities told him to stop spreading false comments. But the number of cases continued to grow and on January 9th China Central Television officially announced that there was a new coronavirus. At this point there were at least 50 people with pneumonia and the first fatality, a 61-year old man passed away. To complicate things Wuhan was a major hub for travel in China and it was less than 2 weeks away from Chinese New Year when there lots of travel and this huge celebration. By January 23rd Wuhan was officially in quarantine. Nobody in or out of the city at all.

But unfortunately, 20 people had already passed away from the virus. It seemed like every day we were hearing about coronavirus news that new cases of SARS-COV-2 in different countries. It was sweeping the world and the World   Health Organization labeled this outbreak a pandemic. So what kind of symptoms are people actually presenting with? So we're lucky that we have got information coming out of China to know what to prepare for and what to expect.

Coronavirus Symptoms

Who is most at risk for the coronavirus disease?

So the coronavirus symptoms are fever, sore throat, cough, some shortness of breath. And we look at fever, People who are coming into the hospital, only about 43% of them had a fever. When they were in the hospital about 88% of them developed a fever. So what that tells me is that if you don’t have a fever, it doesn’t guarantee that you don’t have coronavirus. Less common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea in about 3-5% of people.

So that what you need to watch out for: Fever, cough, shortness of breath. And I know what you are going to say: But that sounds like the flu, that sounds like a cold! And you are absolutely right and that’s what makes this so tricky.

So if you do get mild symptoms: Cough, fever, sore throat. What you should do is actually stay at home, don’t panic and pick up the phone and call your health care provider, rather than going and sitting in waiting rooms and public transportation and spreading that virus everywhere.

If you are quarantining yourself at home while you are sick but you live with other people, try to have like a sick room. And in that room you try to stay there most of the time, you have your own dishes and utensils, try to use your own bathroom if you have that option. Just to prevent the other people in your house from getting sick.

And the most important thing is to really be monitoring your own symptoms and seeing if anything is getting worse. So seeing if you are getting really short of breath if you are getting chest pain that’s not going away or if you find you are getting really high fevers, you are getting confused or even having a blue-tinged lip. All of that would be signs that things are becoming quite severe and you should be going to the emergency department. Okay, I just want to say this one more time.

Coronavirus Treatment

For most of us if we get Covid-19 we are going to be okay. Don’t panic, most of us can recover at the Hospital. We just have to watch out for those severe symptoms.
But unfortunately, some patients do become critically ill, so let’s talk about that. What’s happening? What they develop is something called acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. And this is a condition where the lungs develop so much inflammation and damage, that it becomes difficult to get oxygen out of the air through the lungs and into the red blood cells.

 There are actually lots of things that cause ARDS, things like sepsis or pneumonia, even pancreatitis. So in the ICU, were actually really familiar with how to treat these patients. What you do is they often require intubation. So a tube down the throat, lots of oxygen. Sometimes you need to paralyze and sedate a patient, even flip them over onto their stomach so that you can expand the lungs without injuring them and get more oxygen into the back of the lungs. 
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It’s a really involved process as you can imagine and if that all doesn’t work, then you can consider using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
And it’s like a machine that works like lungs outside the body. So the idea is blood gets pumped out of the body, the machine puts oxygen into it and then the blood comes back into the body. It’s actually really similar to a heart-lung bypass that they use in cardiac surgery.

Coronavirus Update

So who is at risk for catching Covid-19? Well, the answer is everyone. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can catch coronavirus. What we see is the people who are most severely affected are the elderly and those who have underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, Immunosuppression, diabetes. Those people go on to get a worse version of the disease. So to put some real numbers on that, in China about 78% of cases were people aged 30 to 69, and of those people, about 20% of them had severe illnesses by china coronavirus.

So it’s definitely not just the elderly that are affected, but they are the ones who tend to have higher fatality rates. In the US we have seen that 8 out of 10 people that have passed away are over the age of 65 and in even higher proportion if you are over the age of 85 by coronavirus in usa.

Although we know who is at risk, we don’t actually know who is going to become critically ill and need life support. So it’s really important that we all do our part to stop the coronavirus death toll.

Everyone talking about coronavirus treatment. So the idea is that we want to slow the spread of the virus, but not everyone becomes sick at the same time. That way it doesn’t overwhelm the hospital system, it gives us more time to come up with coronavirus treatment and vaccinations.

So here is an example. Let’s just imagine that people got on their minds that they all needed to buy toilet paper all at once. So as you guys have probably seen, there is no more toilet paper after coronavirus in usa. You can’t find it anywhere and some people are left with no toilet paper. It’s a disaster! 
Coronavirus Live Update

The same thing is true for hospital beds, ventilator machines, and coronavirus diagnosis. We just want to make sure that people use them up slowly. And that means there will be enough for everyone and that it’s not all used up at once.

But we still hear people saying like: You know, if we are all going to get the virus, why don’t we just let it happen? The whole answer is that this happened in the past. We have actually seen this play out in the Spanish flu in 1918.

So if we look to history, we can see that Philadelphia took 2 weeks to actually put their social distancing plan in place. And we see this huge spike of deaths and fatalities that happened as opposed to St. Louis that put these measures in place right off the bat and you can see that they had this nice flat curve. That is what we are aiming for.

That’s why we are working so hard to get social distancing in place now. For this to work, for us to really save lives, we need to all be in this together and there are 2 main things that we need to do.

  • Number 1 is washing your hands really well and frequently. So that means 20 seconds of washing your hands, a long time by the way. Make sure you get your fingernails. Make sure you get between those fingers and the backs of your hands.

Coronavirus Live Update

  • Number 2 is social distancing. So there has been a lot of talk about this. This is 6 feet between you and anyone else or 2 meters, but it doesn’t mean isolating yourself. So make sure that you are reaching out to friends, family. We know that there is a lot of financial demand and we just want to say thank you because what everyone is sacrificing is at a community level really helping in saving lives and it’s inspirational to hear these stories.
  • Number 3 is wearing a mask when you go outside. The World Health Organisation says that if you are healthy and you have no symptoms, you also have to wear a mask. Healthcare provider who is looking after someone who has COVID should have a mask on as well.

Coronavirus Live Update

We do wear a pair of thin gloves that we put on, so that if we are touching doorknobs, then it doesn’t get on our hands. And it reminds us not to touch our face as well.

Coronavirus Vaccine

As of now, there are no antivirals that have been proven to treat Covid-19There are lots of other trials going on around the world and we really hope that we are going to come up with some great treatment options in the future for coronavirus cure.

Scientists are working tirelessly to come up with a coronavirus vaccine. And progress has been fast because China early on was able to sequence the genes within the virus so that we can come up with a vaccine quickly. From what we understand there is one in China and there is one in the US and also India that is going to start the testing from overcome coronavirus outbreak.

But even with this fast progress, we are still looking at close to a year before they are going to able to distribute it to everyone for coronavirus treatment.

We have covered a lot of material. The most important thing at this point is each of us playing our parts: Washing our hands, keeping social distancing to stop the spread, slow it down, and flatten the curve of coronavirus outbreak. So we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system.

We also know this is such a difficult time. There is so much uncertainty and things are changing so quickly. And yet every day we look around and we see remarkable things. We see students who are bringing elderly people groceries so that they don’t need to leave the house. We have seen many local distilleries that have stopped making gin and instead is making hand sanitizer that they are giving out for free to stop coronavirus outbreak. And we also have seen countless health care workers who are picking up extra shifts to relieve their co-workers who are getting quarantined.

For now, let’s each play our part: Wash your hands, stay home.

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