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15 FACTS you need to know (as it stands now)
- COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) type of Coronavirus and was first discovered in 2019 in China. “COVID-19” is used to refer to the illness.
- COVID-19 is caused by the virus named SARS-CoV-2. This name was designated to mean the SARS CoronaVIRUS from 2019, and is used to refer to the virus that causes COVID-19.
- 88% of all cases of COVID-19 presented with a fever. This is the most common symptom of all, even more than cough. China even has “fever clinics” to test for COVID based on fever alone. The next most common symptom was cough which is present in 68% of those infected.
- Both men and women can get COVID-19 but men in China were significantly more likely to die from it than women.
- COVID-19 is getting controlled in CHINA now… but the U.S. and many other countries are likely to see it get worse before it gets better.
- Most scientists, epidemiologists and physicians believe SARS-CoV-2 will never be fully gone… and may turn into another infectious agent which causes the flu that we have to contend with now - along with other influenzas. Only time will tell.
- No one knows yet if this will die down when the weather gets warmer and return with the cool seasons. The “seasonal” flu isn’t even much of a “seasonal” flu anymore. Though the winter time is far more common… we are seeing more and more “seasonal flu” over the last decade.
- In China, where most of the data is from, most individuals caught COVID-19 from droplets and NOT from aerosols in the air over long distances.
- It is recommended to stay 6 feet away from an individual with COVID-19 without adequate Personal Protective Equipment
- 80% of those infected in China had a mild to moderate severity level of illness. Moderate severity basically means a very bad flu like infection just like a bad seasonal flu we are used to hearing about. The other 20% required hospitalization.
- The recovery time from COVID-19 is MUCH longer than the seasonal flu. 2 to 6 weeks with recovery pushing closer to the 6-week mark being most common.
- SARS-CoV-2 can live from 2 hours to 9 DAYS on inanimate objects including your clothing, faucets, railings, tables, computers and so forth. The LONGER survival times occur on METAL, GLASS or PLASTIC with shorter times on paper. I'm not sure about clothing.
- The overall Fatality rate of COVID-19 is around 1 - 2%. Compare this to the seasonal flu with a Fatality rate of 0.5% to 0.1%. You can see that this is 10 to 20 times HIGHER rate of mortality than the seasonal flu.
- When you expand the Fatality rate further, it is clearly age DEPENDENT. The older you are the higher the mortality rate. The rate of death increases significantly after age 60. From age 60-69 the Mortality rate is double that of the seasonal flu. From ages 70-79, Mortality rate in China is 10% - which is about equal to the Mortality rate of the SARS outbreak that was so devastating. And over age 80, the Mortality rate jumps to over 15-20%.
- SARS-CoV-2 does not seem to effect children like the seasonal flu does. In fact, I don't think there has been any deaths in children under the age of 9. And the Mortality rate is extremely low for everyone under the age of 20 and very low under the age of 50.
- SARS-CoV-2 does NOT infect our pets. Though it is felt that the SARS virus originated in bats, and MERS virus originated in camels… there is no indication that we can pass the virus to our pets or that our pets can carry it and pass it to us.
- Testing for the public is going to get easier over the next coming weeks. The CDC just lifted some restrictions on who could be tested but its going to take a couple of weeks to get this ramped up. Call ahead if you are sick to make sure your doctor has instituted separate locations for “sick” patients and “well” patients and is prepared to see you.