As we watch the rapid growth of confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US and around the world, it is important to obtain the most accurate information. We have been monitoring the CDC’s recommendations frequently and will continue to follow the latest information.
The Virus in Perspective
Most people who are infected, more than 80%, will have a mild illness. The overall mortality rate appears to be 1% to 3%, unlike the Ebola virus which was 25% to 90%. More than 97% of us will be fine even if we get infected. Another comparison is the number of cases: this year the flu will infect 20 million people in the United States. Presently there are over 700 confirmed cases of Coronavirus COVID-19. The mortality rate for the flu is significantly lower than Coronavirus COVID-19, however.
It is very important to note that people at higher risk—those over 60 and those with diabetes, lung or heart disease—have a significantly higher risk from Coronavirus COVID-19. Mortality rates for these groups may be 10% to 15%, or even greater. The CDC is now recommending higher-risk persons avoid large gatherings, cruise ships, and unnecessary travel. This situation and information will continue to evolve, and we recommend you check the above websites frequently.
Avoid and Prevent the Illness
Avoiding and preventing Coronavirus COVID-19 involves the same measures we should all be using in combating the flu.
- Stay home if you are sick and not severely ill.
- Call your doctor for advice on what care you need before going to the office.
- Consider doing a virtual or telemedicine visit if appropriate. Low risk patients with mild symptoms are better off staying home.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wear a mask if you are sick, and don’t go to work or school.
These are the basic things we should all be doing to prevent the spread of influenza and they ALSO works for Coronavirus COVID-19. If you have not had a flu vaccine, strongly consider getting one now. Stay healthy with adequate sleep, don’t smoke, and drink moderately. Maybe don’t watch the news too much (to keep your anxiety level down).