We continue to learn more about coronavirus. This information is what we know on January 30, 2020.
For up to date information see the CDC Novel Coronavirus
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different animals.
Most human cornoavirus infections cause symptoms of the common cold: runny nose, cough, fever, and headache. Most of us have had coronavirus infections.
The coronavirus making the news was first identified in Wuhan, China. It is thought that this virus had an animal host initially, then spread to humans. There is evidence of human to human spread in China. In the United States at this time all of those infected were infected outside the US. No person to person spread has been seen here yet.
How is this coronavirus spread?
Some viruses, like measles, are known to be highly contagious. Others are less contagious.
Because so little is known about how the new coronavirus is transmitted, this risk is not yet known. Scientists around the world are working on learning about its transmission, prevention, and treatment.
The CDC states that at this time, the risk to the general US population is low.
What's the US Situation?
There have been people in 36 states, including Kansas, who have been tested based on risk factors for coronavirus. No one has been confirmed to have the virus in Kansas to date.
So far 5 people in the US have tested positive
. These were in Arizona, California, Illinois and Washington state.
There have been no deaths in the US.
At this time only supportive measures are available to treat symptoms. There is no antiviral medicine known to help.
Supportive measures include things we would typically do for similar symptoms and listed on our cold and cough
At this time there is no vaccine for this coronavirus, but there are things to do to help prevent spread of this and other viruses.
- Wash hands.
- Rub the soap onto all surfaces of your hands and wrists for 20 seconds minimum before rinsing with water.
- Use hand lotion if needed. Dry cracked skin can harbor germs.
- Teach kids to do the same.
- Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose and mouth unless you clean your hands before and after touching. These are the portals into your body.
- Wash hands before and after eating.
- Avoid going into any public areas when sick, especially within 24 hours of a fever.
- This includes work, school, and running errands. Even a superbowl party.
- What seems like a mild cold to you could lead to significant illness in an infant, elderly person, or immunocompromised person. You never know who you'll expose.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, then clean your hands as above.
- Clean and disinfect objects around you often. This includes toys, door knobs, phones, remote controls, keyboards, countertops, and more.
- Avoid travel to areas with known person to person spread of this coronavirus or contact with people known or suspected to have this virus.
- If you have been in an area with confirmed person to person spread (ie China) see this CDC page.
What if you think you or your child has coronavirus?
First: don't panic. Most of the people with suspected coronavirus in the US have tested negative. It is far more likely at this time that influenza or another virus is causing symptoms unless you have been in an area of high risk, such as China.
If you have traveled to China or have been around someone who has suspected or confirmed coronavirus and develop fever, cough, runny nose, or other illness, call your physician.
Do not go to any public building, including a medical clinic, without calling first. Precautions will be taken to prevent exposing others.
For those who like to watch videos
I really like this one about coronavirus. Well done and helpful. Dr. Mike reminds us to be Alert, Not Anxious.