I wrote an article a few days ago about the new Chinese coronavirus expressing my opinion that it was unlikely to spread rapidly, mainly because it appeared to not spread from human to human. Some of the reporting misled me. Additionally, at that time, China had not decided to quarantine anyone in China. Today is a different world. Forty million Chinese are now under quarantine.
From less than a handful of confirmed cases to over 900 probable cases in the world. Twenty-six deaths (mostly elderly) have been attributed to this virus in China. Europe (France) has announced a confirmed case. The United States is claiming two confirmed cases. American media outlets report that 63 cases might exist in 22 states. The United States stock market dropped rapidly today on the news of the virus spreading.
Wuhan, China, with over 11 million people, is the center of concern. Transportation services were terminated today in Wuhan. A new 1000-bed hospital is being expeditiously constructed in Wuhan. It is modeled after the 2013 SARS outbreak that killed over 800 people in China.
Is it expanding as quickly as reported; or, is monitoring picking up typical colds and other flu virus cases? Many of the symptoms are the same – cough, fever, and shortness of breath. There is always the danger of this coronavirus or other flu/virus growing into pneumonia.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva tells us that it is still too early to make a confident call on this massive outbreak being attributed to the new virus. The WHO has declined to designate this Chinese coronavirus as a global health emergency formally. Air travel today is not adequate in containing a contagious outbreak.
The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) has not raised the risk level yet. It takes the CDC four to six hours to confirm a test. A few days ago, the human-to-human spread of the disease could not be confirmed. Today it has been.
Runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and fever are similar symptoms to many other upper respiratory infections. The coronavirus can be killed with standard household disinfectants. The virus is considered dead after 48 hours at room temperature.
Beware of those around you coughing and sneezing. Be extra careful shaking hands or touching objects (glasses, doors, toys, etc.) that any infected people may have touched. Wash your hands often during the day, even if you have not bumped into anyone sick. You don’t know when or where an infected person might have preceded you. Try as much as possible to keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes and mouth.
The coronavirus is treated like any other influenza virus. Get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take over-the-counter medicines for sore throat and fever. A humidifier or steamy shower can help alleviate some of the symptoms.
If you have symptoms lasting more than ten days; or, if they escalate rapidly (especially in the elderly and small children), consult your physician as quickly as possible.