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Coronavirus

Posted by Margaret Donohue on February 13, 2020 at 9:00 PM

The novel Coronavirus now known as COVID-19 started in Wuhan in the provence of Hubei, China.  This is a slow onset, significantly contageous illness, believed to originate from bats and perhaps pangolins and morphed to infect humans.  It is fatal about 10% of the time.  at this time there are more than 100000 cases in the United States and 1,000,000 worldwide.

Contagious illnesses are referred to by the letter R and a subscript.  COVID-19 has between an R 2.5 and an R 4.2.  influenza A or B has an R 1.4 to 2.8.  The common seasonal flu kills 70,000 unvaccinated, older or infirm people annually.  Each infected person infects two others on average.  COVID-19 has no determined treatment or vaccine and each infected person can infect 3 people on average.  The main difference is the latency of onset of COVID-19 and the fact that it can kill otherwise healthy people.

In the United States the rate of infection has been limited to an R of just 1.  That is due to the quarantine and screening and isolation procedures.

It is unlikely COVID-19 will stop and disappear with seasonal changes.  The possible transmission routes of airborne, droplet, fomite (surfaces), and bodily waste combined with a long viral life of up to 14 days, make it likely to be around seasonally, or transmitted through other vectors besides humans.  It is far more likely that the infection will mutate and eventually become less fatal over time. 

The best defense against the virus is to be as healthy as you can be.  Get a seasonal flu shot for some antiviral protection. Stay home from work when you are sick.  Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.  in the United States, unless you've had direct contact with an infected person, you are unlikely to contract the illness and more likely to get the flu.

Categories: Health Psychology, Diagnosis

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