The Facts About the Coronavirus

UPDATE Feb. 10, 2020

The Coronavirous has now claimed over 900 lives, surpassing the number of total fatalities from the SARS pandemic from 2002 - 2003. Chinese officials have scrambled to assemble a new hospital in Wuhan to house patients, though it is unclear how many beds are available for treatment as of today. In addition, a cruise ship moored off the coast of Japan is now in its 2nd week of quarantine where over 3,000 passengers and travelers are stuck. Over 100 sick passengers who tested positive for the virus have been removed from the ship over the past week. The original time frame for the quarantine was initially set for 2 weeks, though there is no current plan on releasing the ship as the Coronavirus continues to spread in China and elsewhere.

UPDATE Jan. 29, 2020

The Coronavirus is spreading across China, Europe and the United States. Several cities in China including Wuhan where the health crisis originated. In addtion, a plane carrying over 200 American landed in Southern California after evacuating them from Wuhan. The CDC says the risk of the virus spreading between people in the US remains low

UPDATE Jan. 22, 2020

the death toll in China has risen to 17, with over 500 confirmed cases in China. Five additional Chinese Provinces are reporting additional cases. All flights in and out of Wuhan have been cancelled. The first case in the US has been confirmed

 

In the past week, the general public has become aware of a growing health concern from Asia, specifically China, where six people have died and over 300 cases have been confirmed. Here is what you need to know about the Coronavirus now:

What is the Coronavirus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the novel (for new) Coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan City, in Hubei Province in China. The symptoms include upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a short period of time, and symptoms may include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of malaise. Human coronaviruses can also sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as bronchitis and/or pneumonia.

What are the Risks?

Any time an outbreak of a highly contagious virus such as the coronavirus occurs, is becomes an immediate public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends a number of factors, including characteristics of the virus, and the speed with which it spreads between humans, the severity of the the symptoms, and the ability to control the impact of the virus.

At the moment, the primary risks appear to be limited to China, Thailand, Japan and South Korea, and the immediate health risk to United States residents is deemed to be low at this time. Nevertheless, CDC is taking closely monitoring the development.

If you have further questions or concerns you should consult your healthcare professional.

Is The H1N1 Pandemic Over?

Last year’s H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, triggered the first flu pandemic in decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 60 million cases of H1N1, more than 274,000 hospitalizations and approximately 12,500 deaths. Learn what to expect from H1N1 in the coming year, so you and your family can stay healthy during cold and flu season.

H1N1: What to Expect in 2010-11
In August, the World Health Organization declared the H1N1 pandemic over. Out-of-season outbreaks have waned, H1N1 is no longer the dominant influenza virus, and much of the population has either been vaccinated or exposed to the virus. “At this time, we do not see any evidence of another pandemic on the horizon,” says Jeffrey Dimond, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While this is good news, it doesn’t mean you can abandon your efforts to keep yourself and your family safe from swine flu. “The H1N1 virus is still circulating,” explains Dimond. “Like other seasonal flu strains, it will probably begin circulating more aggressively as we get into flu season this fall.”

Vaccination Update
The No. 1 way to protect yourself and your loved ones from H1N1 is to get vaccinated. This year, there are some important changes to the vaccination process:

  • Just one vaccine. Do you remember getting two shots last year? There were two different influenza vaccines -- one for seasonal flu and one for swine flu. That’s because H1N1 wasn’t identified until after manufacturers had already started to produce the seasonal flu vaccine. “This year, one influenza vaccine that also incorporates H1N1 will be available,” says Dr. Peter Katona, associate clinical professor of medicine in the department of infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles, Health System.
  • Increased distribution. In February, a panel of immunization experts voted to expand the influenza vaccine recommendation to include everyone 6 months and older. In past years, it focused on children, the elderly and those in close contact with people at higher risk.

The hope is that these changes will make the 2010-11 flu season less dangerous. One thing that hasn’t changed is when and where to get your vaccine. Check with your doctor, neighborhood clinic or local pharmacy; yearly flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as it’s available. Too often people make the mistake of waiting until coworkers and friends are sniffling and sneezing, but it’s best to get vaccinated before flu season peaks to stop the spread of germs. Not sure where to get vaccinated? Visit the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Finder at cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination.

Keep Your Guard Up
A flu shot isn’t license to slack off on other stay-healthy strategies. “The flu is unpredictable, so we just don’t know at this time to what extent any rebound of H1N1 flu might occur,” says Dimond. That’s why it’s crucial to follow this flu-fighting checklist to stay well and keep your family germ-free.

  • Wash up. Hygiene is key to stopping the spread of H1N1. “Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available,” says Dimond. 
  • Cover your coughs. Sneeze and cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hand, if you don’t have a tissue. When you sneeze, thousands of infectious droplets go flying. If they land on your hands, you spread the germs to anything you touch, where they can remain contagious for several hours.
  • Take a sick day. Feeling under the weather? Don’t go into the office, and don’t send your little one to school when she’s ill. “You may think you’re impressing coworkers with your dedication, but you’re not doing anyone any favors by spreading germs around the office,” says Dimond.
  • Bolster your immune system. “Eat a healthy diet, engage in regular exercise and practice stress-reduction techniques,” says Katona. Stock up on antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, take a brisk walk most days, and engage in some soothing me-time (try practicing yoga or meditation or taking a long, hot bath).