I don’t know how each of you feel or think about the COVID-19 virus, but the following email is from a friend who’s neighbor is an MD.
After a couple long weeks of preparation at Southern Coos Hospital I feel it is time to inform those in the home school community and our churches of the new “novel” coronavirus. When Carolyn told me there was a dangerous virus spreading in China I thought to myself “I hope this is not the coronavirus”. When I was in medical school we had a professor that was studying this virus and since it was his current area of research he provided an entire hour lecture on this alone. He described an elaborate virus that was highly communicable and not quickly recognized by the immune system. At the end he left the impression that for this to spread in the human population would be cataclysmic. I do not know where Dr. Mayberry is now but it appears he did not miss the mark by much.
The database most physicians use is called “Uptodate” and has recently expanded on the epidemiology of this virus. It infects at a much higher rate than influenza due to several attributes. It can survive in the air longer and does not require as large (if any) droplets to be transferred. It can last for at least hours on a dry surface and requires a small dose to infect. Mix this with the mild symptoms exhibited by younger people and the incubation period of up to 2 weeks, often 11 days without symptoms but shedding virus the entire time it is easy for a single person to infect dozens more before they ever feel ill. Of the people who become infected 81% have a mild chest cold but 14% (one in seven) have severe disease. 5% are Critical and 2.3% overall of those who seek medical care have been fatal. On the bright side in Korea only 6.3% were less than 20 years of age but consider they are the least likely to seek medical care. The median age is 49-56 years of age. In the 80’s we have been told to expect a 20% mortality. In the 70’s expect 10%, and even 2% in the 60’s (one in fifty!). Please don’t tell me this is no worse than a bad case of influenza!. If your 85 year old parent or grandparent gets this expect one in five to be a fatal illness.
The symptoms are more severe with age. 99% are febrile (fever); only 20% less than 100.4 degrees. 70% are severely tired (malaise), 59% (only) have a dry cough, 40% lose their appetite (anorexia), 35% have myalgia (achy), 31% are short of breath (dyspnea), and only 27% have a moist cough. Nausea, diarrhea, rhinorrhea (runny nose), are not uncommon and only a few have a sore throat!. See why it can spread?
If a person “takes this serious” and ends up on a ventilator don’t expect them to improve for at least a week. Steroids are of little use, many will get bacterial pneumonia and develop complications of ventilator treatment. Many young and old will have permanent lung damage even if they are not hospitalized. 17% will have potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias while on the ventilator.
I am sorry to frighten those who read this but I have a purpose. There are many in our churches and community who are not taking isolation seriously. I am exhausted already from the preparation process we in the medical field are engaged in already and am still finding people who are taking this lightly. God, in Leviticus chapter 15 tells us how to act in such a situation. He even gives the timing required to be clear of disease. I find it paradoxical indeed that many of the people who are not practicing the isolation needed to slow this to a manageable rate read regularly the best guideline in the world written by our creator himself! Please isolate. Find a family who is diligent and pair up for some social interaction but do not widen the circle. When this is done we will all lose someone we know and love. I pray we won’t be able to look at our own neglect as the cause.
Have you ever wondered why the Christians were blamed for burning Rome? They were absolutely innocent. How much more blame will the churches and home schoolers rightfully receive if we contribute to the spread of this deadly contagion? To the world it certainly reflects poorly upon us. Please; isolate your families to the best of your abilities. Keep your children separate from others. Wash your hands, clothing, and towels; do not reuse them. We are told this will take 30 days to reach a peak and we can expect at least 90 days of crisis.
Douglas Crane MD, Internal Medicine
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