Corona Basics

10/19/2020 COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus.  This new virus was first reported by China to the WHO in late December 2019 although evidence suggests that the first case was November 17, 2019.  Over the last year, the illness spread to virtually every country (213) in the world despite active quarantine measures.  The numbers grow daily with mounting deaths in the US.  There seems to be a major surge developing with more infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Active efforts continue to be taken by the CDC and virtually every country to mitigate the global pandemic.  Currently of greatest concern is the a second wave of the epidemic in the USA as the USA has eclipsed other epicenters including Italy, the Republic of Korea,  the UK, Iran, and Japan.   Brazil is quickly growning in numbers and “second waves” are being seen in hot spots in the US.  This fact sheet gives basic information about the illness and what CDC is doing to contain the Corona virus in the USA.

COVID-19 can spread via human-to-human contact by droplets spewed while sneezing and coughing and even breathing and talking.  It can also be transmitted by touching infected surfaces and objects then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Although characterized as a respiratory virus, it has been found in the gastrointestinal tract and can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

With many businesses opened up, it is very important to minimize the chances of infection and a surge/second wave by staying at least 6 feet from others (hard to do on a plane? my flight had 3 people seated in a row and another across the isle, and would not let me move but did move 2 others (American Airlines) Masks were mandated),  avoid gatherings, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and don’t touch your eyes, mouth, nose.

Wear a good quality mask (N-95 or KN95 preferred) (send email to order…

Stay away from others if possible, even asymptomatic individuals can be shedding the virus and infect you.  Plan to do this for months or longer.  It is likely that people will become complacent and with recent protests across the US and the world we may see a second wave.  At least for now, this is our new

The Corona outbreak of 2019-2020

Americans lockdowns were lifted and not surprisingly the Covid Crisis is getting worse in pockets.   According to Johns Hopkins, there are about 35 Million (10/05/2020)  confirmed cases worldwide.  The number continues to grow daily and will for some time.  The number is just a rough estimate and is certainly much higher (10-100X) as only a fraction have been tested and there are a considerable number of false negatives.  Many patients with mild symptoms were turned away from testing sites or never pursued a test or sought medical attention.  Now, centers are open to testing asymptomatic individuals especially first responders, essential workers and health care professionals.

Of the confirmed COVID-19 Corona Virus cases,  to date there have been over 40 Million documented positive tests and  1,100,000*  deaths, (the number can be much higher or much lower as there is speculation that there is significant underreporting and overreporting in some countries).   The number climbs by the thousands daily, with about 225,000* deaths in the US  and growing daily (visit our live update for current statistics)*.

The surge areas are seeing an increased strain on the health care system.  More lockdowns are here across the US with an immeasurable impact on life preservation but a certain but immeasurable effect on the economy.  People across the nation are frustrated, depressed, confused, annoyed and mentally and physically ill.

Good news is hard to come by, but it appears that social distancing is decreasing cases of other diseases like the flu with a decrease in flu related deaths or perhaps all flu deaths are reported as COVID-19.

In most cases, the COVID-19 infection is generally mild but the range in symptoms can be wide even resulting in death in about 1% of infections.  The most common signs and symptoms are:

  • fever,
  • cough,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • sore throat,
  • mild runny nose,
  • loss of the sense of smell (anosmia )
  • loss of taste or
  • appetite (50%)
  • diarrhea

Some had estimated as many as 2.2 million may die in the US.   In fact if the borders were not closed as early as they were, we may have seen dramatically higher numbers already.  The official number was 100,000 from the Trump administration.  We have passed that number with ease, revisions continue to move up to the 300-400,000 range.  The bottom line is that estimates are merely an educated guess.  It is clear that the numbers are largely inaccurate with many unrelated deaths blamed on Covid-19 as hospitals in the US receive a bonus payment for Covid deaths.   This is clear as the number of reported cancer and cardiovascular deaths in this time period have gone down.

We are in either a continuation of the first wave or a second wave with larger numbers and no surprise with super spreader events (mass protests, opening of businesses, parties, weddings, rallies etc.)  the easing of lockdown measures.  Cities and states are largely reopened but really nothing has dramatically changed.   We see some masks, plexiglass shields and hand sanitizer but many protective measures are being ignored.  Over half of states (28) are mandating masks.   This measure has proven effective in other countries but may be too little, too late as the growth in numbers supports.  The good news, there seems to be a slow down in new cases.  We need rapid testing to accurately determine who is at risk and who may be immune and who needs to be isolated and who they have potentially infected.  I am visiting my elderly mother and was tested yesterday at CVS and told the results are averaging 2-5 days.  This is useless as I will be gone by the time I receive the results.  We can only hope that the potential death count is a gross overestimate.

*click here for current numbers https://coronapandemic.