Here’s an update on the situation of the Coronavirus epidemic.
Relevant news as of 01/02/2020:
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.
- WHO has revised its position: The virus turns out to be a global threat.
- The virus is still prevalent mainly in China, where it has produced around 250 deaths and 10,000 infections. About 1500 severe patients, therefore about 15%. Mortality, according to official data, around 2.5%, a little more serious than a normal flu. This figure is 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 approximately 10 days.
- Various countries are blocking flights to and from China.
- In Italy, schizophrenic behavior has been observed from the authorities. On the one hand, flights are blocked, on the other, those potentially infected are left free to travel or confined to their home, contrary to other countries such as US, Australia, UK, Germany, wherein those who get off planes from China are subjected to a 15-day QUARANTINE before being declared no longer a potential threat to all.
- The data is NOT CERTAIN. This is based on the estimates of official data released by the Chinese authorities, who are CERTAINLY unable to make real-time estimates of the infected, critical, and deceased patients. With this situation, chaos is expected.
Current estimated spread of the virus: About 25 countries worldwide already report cases of people from China who have been infected. Fortunately, there are still very few cases of human-human transmission to those directly in their country. However, it is too early to understand if this is due to the effectiveness of the containment measures or the long viral incubation time.
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.