Many of you are, no doubt, following the news regarding the outbreak of Coronavirus -2019 (COVID-19) virus which began in China in December of 2019 and has spread to multiple countries, including the United States. There has been one patient in a Chicago South Suburban Area who has tested positive for Coronavirus-2019. This virus is new and it is not the regular Flu and it is not the common cold. If you have been vaccinated against the Flu, that vaccine will not protect you against this virus. Because it is new, we humans do not have any natural immunity to the virus. It spreads from human to human. We are not absolutely sure how long the time is between becoming infected and showing symptoms, but the current thinking is 14 days.
There are people who have tested positive for Coronavirus-2019, and people who have been exposed to Coronavirus, who may never display any symptoms. There is a concern that these individuals can transmit the virus even if they are not visibly sick. One of the tools the World Health Organization (WHO), World Governments, and the CDC is using to prevent the spread of the virus, is a quarantine for 14 days for people who have been exposed but do not show any signs of the illness. Quarantine may mean being restricted to your home, or a cruise ship, or hospitalized to prevent the spread of the virus.
For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include:
The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.