Things to know about the novel coronavirus.

A new Coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged in China in December 2019 and in a short 30 days spread across the entire nation. Initially scientists thought human-to- human transmission was rare, and were only mildly concerned about the circumstance. The COVID-19 situation is emerging, and rapidly evolving. Each day we learn more about the virus as new information becomes available. We now know the virus easily spreads from person to person, and even people who have no symptoms are capable of spreading it to others. As of today, March 3, 2020, the virus has been identified in 73 countries across 6 continents. With all that we have learned to date it appears this virus will likely be a pandemic, meaning that it will be present over the entire world. So far COVID-19 has lead to more than 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide, far less than influenza (flu). The CDC tells us that in the US alone the flu has caused 32 million illnesses and 18,000 deaths during this 2019/2020 flu season.

It is concerning that we are only seeing the beginning of the COVID-19 transmission cycle, so it is probable that the number of cases will continue to increase as the disease spreads. At this time we don’t know if this virus is seasonal like the flu or not. In my opinion it is simply a matter of time until we are exposed to COVID-19. Some Key points to remember about COVID-19:

  • The vast majority of cases are not severe, and most people recover without further incident.

  • Elderly people are at the highest risk for poor outcomes from this disease. Those over age 80 have a significantly higher risk of severe illness and death from this virus than younger people.

  • Children typically fair very well with COVID-19 infection and there have been no deaths in persons less than 9 years of age.

It is very important to not allow fear to prevent you from living a happy and fulfilled life. Don’t allow fear of this virus prevent you from doing positive things that are good for you, but at the same time exercise caution and avoid sick people whenever possible. There is a fine balance between caution and panic. Remember there are things you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection.

  • Avoid contact with sick people.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. (It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.)

Additionally good nutrition and proper rest go a very long way in boosting your body’s ability to fight any type of infection, so take good care of yourself. For an interesting article comparing COVID-19 to the flu, please follow the link here. This will help to further understand this new virus and your risk of catching it. In the mean time remain calm and wash your hands!

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