Coronavirus Update: First US Patient Dies in Washington State

 In Science

Coronavirus update: The first US patient suffering from Coronavirus (COVID-19) died in the state of Washington. Gov Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency, and President Trump relayed the information to the American public in a briefing with his health officials team.

Medical screenings were requested of our allies for travellers from Italy, and South Korea to the US, and the Trump administration expanded the ban on travel from Iran to any foreign national who has visited the country in the last 14 days (USA Today).  Trump also considered shutting down the southern border due to some cases of the virus in Mexico.

The Coronavirus update

The deceased 50 year old male in Washington state had no travel history and no known contact with anyone who did, according to a coronavirus update.  Officials in Washington stated that some people who became ill in a nursing home facility in Kirkland, WA, were being tested for the COVID-19 virus. The patient who died of the virus also was from Kirkland.

Two persons in the facility are in quarantine after testing positive- one is a 40 year old healthcare worker who is in “satisfactory” condition, the other a 70 year old woman in serious condition.

“In addition, over 50 individuals associated with Life Care are reportedly ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia or other respiratory conditions of unknown cause and are being tested for COVID-19. Additional positive cases are expected.” Seattle and King County officials (Stars and Stripes)

There were 84,119 cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of Friday. Only one person has died on US soil, though some US citizens have died of the virus while  in other nations.

Panic is the wrong answer, preparation is the right one

To keep it in perspective, so far there are 32 million cases of influenza in the United States, with 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths in the 2019-2020 flu season, according to the CDC.  Hopkins Medicine says that every year there are 9.3 million to 45 million cases of influenza in the United States.

You can read the CDC recommendations and information on what’s being done for COVID-19 at their website. Keep in mind that viruses tend to mutate.

The Coronavirus is nowhere near a high number like Influenza in the United States, at least not yet.  It is a new virus, for which there is no vaccine available. However, numerous companies across the nation are racing to create one.

Here are some facts from Johns Hopkins Medical Center, which has a wealth of expertise in infectious diseases:

Symptoms: Both Coronavirus and influenza can “cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases. Can result in pneumonia.”

Regular lightweight surgical masks are not particularly effective against COVID-19.  Officials recommend folks stop buying so many ordinary masks – all they are doing is creating a dearth of availability. H95 masks appear to be more effective than the standard mask. They are needed for medical workers.

The COVID-19 virus doesn’t live long outside of the body, which is a good thing.  It is known as SARS-CoV-2, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Both influenza and COVID-19 can be prevented by thorough handwashing, coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.

Officials are not sure how COVID-19 is spread, but think it can be spread in the same manner as influenza through coughing, sneezing, and talking. But “COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.”

Antiviral medications are being tested to lessen the symptoms of COVID-19. Antibiotics are not effective against any virus, only bacterial infections.

Numerous people are saying that this virus could be a  man-made bio-weapon of some sort. A new book suggests that very thing. That idea primarily comes from the fact that this virus originated in Wuhan, where China’s only BSL4 laboratory for dealing with extreme pathogens is located. Officials say otherwise, and claim it originated in bats. We may never know the real answer to that question.

At this time, the coronavirus update from officials with the CDC and Johns Hopkins say that the US is at a low level of risk. That doesn’t mean you can be stupid, it just means that it may become widespread, but we can have wisdom in our responses. It is highly likely that more cases will surface, and soon. There is evidence of “community spread” which means that people-to-people infections are occurring, regardless of any travel outside the US.

Pay no attention to the fear-mongering Democrats who think this virus is all Trump’s fault. He’s been more aggressive at trying to stop it than any President in our history.

 

Featured photo: Screenshot of White House briefing on the coronavirus update

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