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  • Coronavirus is a human virus as well as a virus that can affect certain animals,

  • and there are two kinds of SARS coronaviruses that have caused diseases in humans. The SARS-CoV-1

  • and the one that's circulating now is SARS-CoV-2. It's an RNA virus that causes predominantly

  • respiratory problems. COVID-19, by the way, is the name of the disease that SARS-CoV-2

  • actually causes: coronavirus infectious disease of 2019. The nucleic acid structure is known

  • and we're still learning about where its vulnerabilities are. We don't yet know what kind of anti-viral

  • agents will be most effective. There are clinical trials that are being done for countermeasures

  • and then of course there are vaccines that are being developed. So I think whenever you're

  • confronted with an unknown virus, be prepared to be surprised in its biology and its pathogenesis.

  • So there are similarities and there are differences. The similarities of course is that the disease

  • is caused by a virus. The influenza virus is different from the SARS virus. We don't

  • yet understand the spreadability or the contagiousness of this particular virus. One thing that's

  • significantly different though is the subsequent problems that one faces if one does get infected

  • with the SARS-V2, and what I mean by that is that many of the deaths that were seen

  • after the 1918 flu were due to bacterial infections and bacterial pneumonias. So we really didn't

  • have adequate therapy for those secondary infections. Thankfully, now, we are much better

  • in terms of diagnosing the disease, of understanding the subsequent nature of secondary infections,

  • so there's a world of difference between what was happening in 1918 compared to the 2019

  • outbreak of this particular virus. The lack of diagnostic tests back in 1918 could have

  • been reflected in the lack of speed of getting out diagnostic tests in this particular outbreak,

  • but now the community is stepping up to provide way more diagnostic tests, which is really

  • what we need. We need the data. So it appears now that the elderly, and I hate to say this,

  • that's people over the age of 60, are more susceptible to getting a more severe illness,

  • and it ramps up with age. Over 70, over 80 get more and more severe disease. It appears

  • that children aren't getting as ill with this particular virus. So it's mostly the people

  • who have preexisting conditions, preexisting lung disease, preexisting heart disease, immunosuppressed

  • patients, as well as healthy elderly. When we think about preparedness or protection,

  • I like to think of it as in three stages. One is the individual and what the individual

  • can do is use hand sanitizer or wash your hands in good old fashioned soap and water,

  • which is equally if not maybe more effective. One can cover their mouth with either a handkerchief

  • or your elbow when you're sneezing or coughing. One can practice social distancing if somebody

  • is ill. Apparently the spread is by droplets and heavy droplets will basically fall to

  • the floor after a couple of meters. But in saying that, the virus can live on tabletops

  • and keyboards, on cloth, for anywhere from several hours to even perhaps several days.

  • So being aware of your surroundings and being aware of your place in your surroundings.

  • Are you 80 years old? Do you have preexisting conditions? Have you been in contact with

  • somebody who's either traveled to an area where there's an outbreak, and that could

  • be even in the United States of course. So being aware of your surroundings and being

  • aware of your place in your surroundings, very important. That's what an individual

  • can do. What the community can do is be aware of folks in the community, people are who

  • more vulnerable, keep an eye out for them. Businesses in the community can actually put

  • in place work at home policies. And then of course the federal, state, and local governments

  • are very responsible for getting testing out and making countermeasures available when

  • they do become available. So preparedness is not just what you or I can do as an individual,

  • but what our communities and our culture can do as well as what our government can do.

  • So it's really an entire population that needs to be prepared.

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B1 US sars disease surroundings sars cov diagnostic aware

An Infectious Disease Expert Weighs In On COVID-19

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    林峰生 posted on 2020/03/27
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