The COVID-19 Infection
Infection is spread through usual means for respiratory viruses: mainly through hand contact or contact with airborne droplets from an infected person. The incubation period is up to 14 days, but symptoms typically show up from 4 to 7 days after exposure.
As stated before, a significant percentage of those infected are completely asymptomatic, and a majority (over 80%) have mild illness (mild cough, fever, upper respiratory symptoms). The more serious illness is generally in the lungs: lung damage, pneumonia, shortness of breath. This is much more common in the typical ‘vulnerable’ populations: the elderly, diabetics (especially those with poor control), and people with significant lung disease. It is not expected (at the time this is being written) that there will be a significant number of healthy individuals getting the serious life-threatening disease. Of note, infants and young children have not had an increased death or disease rate in the areas of high rates of infection.
At the present time, the COVID-19 infection has a 2% death rate associated, which is more than 20 times that of influenza. There is not a rapid test to diagnose the infection at the present time, so most diagnoses will be made by sending samples to national labs or just presuming the diagnosis where and when the infection rate is high.
What is Being Done
As of now, there is no definitive treatment for the infection, other than supportive measures to help the person while their body deals with the infection. There are some medications under investigation for this, but none of the medications we typically prescribe have been found to be effective in treating the infection. Specifically, antibiotics and antiviral medications (like Tamiflu) have not been helpful in treating this. Vaccines are being developed, but even at the rapid pace these are being done, the most optimistic time frame for a vaccine is 12 to 18 months from now.
The main effort presently is focused on slowing the spread of the virus by isolating infected individuals and quarantining communities when appropriate. The hope is that this will slow the spread while treatments, public health measures, and vaccines are developed. The more time we have, the more prepared we will be to handle the problem.Поділитися цим: