There is a lot of confusion and apprehension about the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. It is important not to panic and to be cautious about where you source your information in order to stay up-to-date on this rapidly evolving public health concern.
Important Facts and Updates
Coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China and, as of February 29, has been detected in 60 countries. 1 Below is a map 2 which show the distribution of the COVID-19 cases globally, which can help gain perspective on how rapidly it is spreading as well as how relatively few cases there are in the United States.
COVID-19 is a “novel” virus, which simply means that it is a new virus that people have never been exposed to previously. As can rarely happen, this virus made the jump from animals to humans, similar to the SARS outbreak of 2003. Coronavirus refers to a group of viral pathogens that can infect animals and humans and whose name is derived from the crown-like appearance seen under high magnification. Below is an image of what the virus looks like when magnified 144,000 times 5.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has recommended that people do not travel to countries where there is widespread illness, but the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has declared that there is currently low risk to people living in the U.S.
While most cases of infection are mild and appear similar to the common cold, some cases have led to serious respiratory illness (pneumonia) and, in rare cases, death. Statistically, seasonal influenza remains a much larger health concern presently.
As an upper respiratory virus, COVID-19 virus is transmitted in a very similar way to the cold or flu by surface contact and airborne respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze.
Currently test kits are very limited, however, in collaboration with the CDC and WHO, our state and local Departments of Public Health are working on creating a solution to increase the availability of testing.
What you can do to stay healthy
COVID-19 is spread much like the Flu. Since seasonal flu is still active in our communities,
taking practical precautions to prevent the flu will also give you protection against contracting COVID-19. Be sure to get your flu shot to help protect against the flu. We still have the flu vaccines in stock, so don’t delay in coming in to get your vaccine.
- Steps that you can take to avoid contracting any viral illness include:
Frequent hand washing.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Maintain a distance of at least three feet from someone who is coughing and sneezing.
If you are coughing, maintain distance from other people and cover your cough or sneeze.
If you are ill with upper respiratory symptoms, we encourage you to book a telemedicine consult and discuss evaluation and treatment options with our licensed provider. You are also welcome to come in-person to our clinics.
1 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
2 – https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200229-sitrep-40-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=849d0665_2
3 – https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx
4 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
5 – https://www.uptodate.com/contents/coronaviruses?search=coronavirus&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~55&usage_type=default&display_rank=1
Sean Parkin, MS, PA-C, CAQ-EM
Mr. Parkin is the CEO and founder of CityHealth Urgent Care. He has a passion for creating innovative solutions for the delivery of medical care where the patient is put first.
Past experience includes:
- Co-founder of Direct Urgent Care, Berkeley, CA
- Co-founder of ER Direct Mobile Urgent Care, Oakland, CA
- Over 13 years of clinical Emergency Medicine experience.
- 15 years of Emergency Medical Services experience as a paramedic for public, private, hospital based and air medical services.