Latest on COVID-19 in March
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The Latest on the Coronavirus — March

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Thursday, March 26th has shared the latest information learned concerning COVID-19:

  • The new coronavirus disease outbreak, initially identified in China, is continuing to grow. Reported U.S. cases are at least 82,000 with over 1,100 deaths. Cases have been found in all 50 states. Due to limited testing supplies, health experts believe the number of U.S. people with the disease is likely much higher. And, as of today, Friday, March 27th, has reported Florida has reached 2,484 coronavirus cases, up 129 cases since yesterday at 11:00 a.m.

    • Sumter County: 24 cases
    • Lake County: 26 cases
    • Marion County: 5 cases

    No one in Lake or Sumter County has died from the disease. Lake cases range in age from 21 to 85, so the the young are not immune to the virus as previously surmised.

  • The U.S. now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, surpassing China’s 81,782 cases, with New York being the epicenter. New York is now performing more COVID-19 tests than any other state.

  • The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), recently proposed that a loss of smell should be added to the list of screening tools for COVID-19 due to "evidence accumulating from cases worldwide."

  • Shortness of breath often occurs 5 to 10 days after the first sign of fever. COVID-19 symptoms usually appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. "Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell," according to the WHO (World Health Organization), but they can still transmit the virus to those around them.

  • A new study conducted by German researchers examined 9 people with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 so they could understand virus shedding (when the virus leaves its host) to determine how infectious the disease may be. The findings suggest that:
    • Viral shedding occurred in high levels during early phases of illness.
    • The rate of shedding dropped after the 5th day in all patients except for two who showed signs of pneumonia.
    • Continued to shed COVID-19 at high levels until the 10th or 11th day. You can read the entire article for Coronavirus Outbreak: Live Updates.
  • The study also shows that COVID-19 can often present as a common cold-like illness. SARS-CoV-2 can actively replicate in the upper respiratory tract, and is shed for a prolonged time after symptoms end, including in stool.
  • Scientists also found that people with COVID-19 may shed over 1,000 times more virus than what was emitted during peak shedding of the 2003 SARS infection, which could explain why COVID-19 has spread so rapidly.
  • WHO said the fatality rate for COVID-19 may be higher than previously realized. The virus isn't SARS, MERS, or the flu; is a unique virus with unique characteristics, but may be more deadly. Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have died; the seasonal flu generally kills .1 percent.
  • Scientists reported that the virus can be detected in both anal swabs and blood samples. Crucially, evidence of the new coronavirus was found in anal swabs and blood — even when it wasn’t detected using oral swabs.
  • A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people may acquire the coronavirus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. The virus is detectable for up to 3 hours in aerosols, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 2—3 days on plastic and stainless steel. So, it lasts longer than previously thought and you need to clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces. Check the label on the wipes you are using to disinfect a hard surface. For instance, the label on a container of Clorox wipes instructs: "Use enough wipes for treated surface to remain visibly wet for 4 minutes. To kill viruses, let stand 15 seconds."
  • NPR answered questions about pets in its podcast published March 27th. So far, there is no evidence that pets can contract or spread COVID-19. The virus may be present on their fur or harness if someone has the virus and pet, so you should wash your hands before and after playing with your pet. Fur is porous, and that's a good thing when it comes to virus. A surface that is permeable, like a fabric or fur, tends to trap viruses more easily than hard surfaces.

It seems they learn more about the virus every day, with more information coming out, so stay tuned....

Thanks to Shirley Palazzo for passing along information that will hopefully keep us all safer from this virus, and who prompted me to research this article.

Friday, March 20th

With the new coronavirus in the news, social media, and emails are spreading information, and not all of it is accurate. Since coronavirus is so new, there are a lot of unknowns. No vaccine is available against it, and there is no recommended antiviral treatment for it. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve their symptoms.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately. If traveling, keep abreast of travel advisories from regulatory agencies and understand that this is a rapidly changing situation.

COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation. WebMD has a web page providing the Latest Updates on the 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak. Check it periodically so you have the most current information and don't spread misinformation.

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