Some useful information on Coronavirus

Like almost millions of people on Earth, I have been occupied by the development of the Coronavirus around the world and the potential outbreak here in the US. There is no shortage of coverage and information regarding the pandemic. The challenge is to verify information. Given our limited time every day, the pace at which the developments take place and the inaccuracy of reports spread out by some authority, it’s exceedingly difficult to feel 100% confident in the information received, at least personally for me. Nonetheless, I’d like to share a highly helpful blog post by Elad, which contains a great summary of the virus and other resources for reference, and a report by WHO China.

Here are a few highlights for those of you who are lazy enough not to read either.

The reported death rate has hovered around 2% but may in reality be 0.2% to 1% depending on country and healthcare system. Many estimates tend indicate an overall expected mortality rate of ~0.5% globally.  The current existing fatality rate is biased upwards by Wuhan cases dominating the mix (which are closer to a 3-4% death rate and make up most cases). It is possible the virus is being undertested for in China / rest of world driving the real death rate down (as many more people are infected than is reported).

Source: Elad Blog

In many epidemics disease course follows two waves. In wave one, an initial infection happens followed by governments tightening movements, shutting schools, and in general decreasing the spread of the diseases. Controls are eventually relaxed (people need to work, kids need to go to school etc.) and then a few months later a second wave of the disease hits and infects a subset of the people who were not infected in the first wave. Eventually, enough people get sick, develop antibodies, and there is a strong enough herd immunity in the population to decrease future out breaks in size.

Source: Elad Blog
Source: Elad Blog

COVID-19 is transmitted via droplets and fomites during close unprotected contact between an infector and infectee. Airborne spread has not been reported for COVID-19 and it is not believed to be a major driver of transmission based on available evidence; however, it can be envisaged if certain aerosol-generating procedures are conducted in health care facilities. Fecal shedding has been demonstrated from some patients, and viable virus has been identified in a limited number of case reports. However, the fecal-oral route does not appear to be a driver of COVID-19 transmission; its role and significance for COVID-19 remains to be determined.

Source: WHO China

Typical signs and symptoms include: fever (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), fatigue (38.1%), sputum production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), myalgia or arthralgia (14.8%), chills (11.4%), nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), and hemoptysis (0.9%), and conjunctival congestion (0.8%).

Individuals at highest risk for severe disease and death include people aged over 60 years and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. Disease in children appears to be relatively rare and mild with approximately 2.4% of the total reported cases reported amongst individuals aged under 19 years. A very small proportion of those aged under 19 years have developed severe (2.5%) or critical disease (0.2%)

Source: WHO China
Source: WHO China

As opposed to Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, pregnant women do not appear to be at higher risk of severe disease. In an investigation of 147 pregnant women (64 confirmed, 82 suspected and 1 asymptomatic), 8% had severe disease and 1% were critical.

There is a global rush for masks, hand hygiene products and other personal protective equipment. The relative importance of non-pharmaceutical control measures including masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing require further research to quantify their impact. 

Source: WHO China

Also, the Minister of Health of Singapore shares details on the virus in layman’s terms

2020 has been an absolute disaster so far in my opinion. Hundreds died from the virus and millions more are in danger. Economy is badly affected. Lives are seriously disrupted. My hope is that things will look brighter shortly in the near future.

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