COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new or novel virus that is spread through respiratory droplets or contact with contaminated surfaces. It is a form of viral pneumonia (infection of the lung tissue). Because there is no natural immunity to this virus, millions of people stand the risk of infection. COVID-19 causes Flu like symptoms of dry cough, high fever and body aches. Currently, there is no effective treatment for people who are infected. Fortunately for most people the infection will be tolerable and resolve on its own in 7-14 days. Unfortunately, for elderly people or those with chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, this infection can be much more serious and even lead to death.
How do I prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19?
As a community we can slow the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing. This means avoiding public places where there are large crowds and limiting trips out of the house to things that are necessary. We know that the virus is spread by droplet, which can reach a distance of 6 feet from the host, so while outside of the house, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone that you come in contact with. The purpose of social distancing is to minimize the spread of the virus thus minimizing the impact on the healthcare systems. Hospitals typically have anywhere from 10-50 beds for critically ill patients which are full on a regular basis. If there is a large outbreak of CoVID-19 simultaneously and even a small percentage of those infected require critical care, there will not be enough beds, equipment, or staff to care for everyone. Therefore, it is CRITICAL that we observe social distancing. To protect yourself and your loved ones, please refrain from visiting friends, colleagues, and family for now. Limit trips outside of the house to things that are necessary like food shopping, medical care, and exercise. Wash hands (for at least 20 seconds) or use hand sanitizer after returning home from the store or other public places. Wipe down items such as keys, credit cards, and items you have purchased from the store with disinfectant wipes or spray. Wash fruits and vegetables with soap and water before consuming. If we work together, we can reduce the spread of this virus and limit the impact on our community.
What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?
If you do develop symptoms of COVID-19 don’t panic! Isolate yourself from your family to limit spread and call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and develop a treatment plan. You can visit any of these websites for reliable information on the virus and updates on new developments.
CDC website: www.cdc.gov
NIH website: www.NIH.gov
WHO website: www.who.int
For additional questions regarding COVID-19 please leave your comments below. Stay Healthy and Safe!
Karl Zimmerman, M.D.