Here’s an update on the situation of the Coronavirus epidemic.
Relevant news as of 02/02/2020:
These days, there has been a lot of news about a virus spreading in China. What is going on? Here are the most relevant news at present.
- The virus is prevalent in China, however, it is increasingly present in other countries around the world.
- There are more than 300 deaths and 14,500 infections in China alone.
- Critical patients are approximately 15%.
- The current number of critically ill patients exceeds the amount of ICU beds available in the city.
- The construction of the new hospital should partially compensate for this serious need. According to official data, mortality remains around 2.5%, a little more serious than the normal flu.
- This figure is still clearly at odds with the huge containment measures put in place by China.
- It has been ascertained that the virus can be transmitted before symptoms appear.
- The average incubation period appears to be around 10 days.
- Direct flights to China have been suspended in many countries.
Many countries have blocked flights to and from China, Hongkong and Macau.
- Those who get off the planes from China are subjected to a 15-day QUARANTINE before they are declared to be no longer a potential threat. The data is NOT CERTAIN. It is based on the estimates of the official data released by the Chinese authorities, who are CERTAINLY unable to make real-time estimates of infected, critical, and deceased patients.
- The first death due to the Coronavirus outside of China has been reported to be a Chinese man who had traveled to the Philippines with his wife, who was also infected. Both were said to have traveled to multiple cities in the Philippines before being admitted in Manila.
- Japan and Thailand have confirmed 20 cases of infection. Other countries will also soon hit double digits.
- We begin to understand that the Chinese authorities have hidden the situation of the epidemic until it was clearly getting out of hand wherein they were forced to admit its existence. This conscious and deliberate delay in the dissemination of news prevented:
1. Adequate protection of hospital health personnel.
2. The creation of an early health containment cordon to isolate the city of Wuhan in advance and prevent its spread to other regions of China.
3. Early information dissemination to other countries of the world, which would have prevented the rapid spread of infection in various airports.
Symptoms of the Infection
The symptoms of this virus are analogous to those of other human coronaviruses, examples are:
- high temperature
- sore throat
In severe cases, pneumonia, which is the main culprit for deaths, may be present.
There is still no exact data. It seems that 14 days can be considered as the maximum potential incubation period, but it is likely to be about 10 days. It is now certain that the infected person is able to infect others even before symptoms appear.
The official position of the WHO
The new official position of the WHO has changed: It is considered a serious threat to human health, like Ebola, swine flu, and other recent diseases.
It has already passed SARS in terms of infected subjects, apparently not in terms of mortality, even if the rapid spread does not allow to correctly measure the number of killed subjects. The accounts can be done only after the epidemic ends.
Preventive measures adopted
China recently imposed a restriction on the movements of all the inhabitants of the central regions of China. It is unclear whether people in China’s other regions are only advised to stay home or whether some sort of national curfew is in place.
The other countries of the world have implemented controls in the main airports with the establishment of specific health control corridors, in particular with the measurement of body temperature, though measuring body temperature is not a sufficient method to identify suspicious cases.
There are no specific therapies against this virus. Here are the general recommendations to keep in mind in case of infection:
- drink plenty of fluids, particularly those with mineral salts, to avoid dehydration
- take medications such as anti-inflammatory and analgesics to fight symptoms experienced
- follow the prevention rules valid for any form of individual protection
- avoid contact with infected people as much as possible
- protect yourself from infected subjects with the available barrier means – it is useful to wear protective masks when going to crowded places or when in contact with subjects at risk
It is currently not yet available. The genetic code of the virus has been put online, so that all the teams in the world that want it, and have the means to do so, can start looking for the most effective cure. There are at least 5 teams working on it today.
Our team at Med4care will closely monitor the situation and inform you on further updates.
Marco de Nardin M.D.