UPDATE: Just wanted to throw this upfront incase anyone finds and reads this later. The WHO has disputed the idea that this virus is airborne (airborne transmission) and believes from the data they have analyzed that this is likely spread from droplets (in other words, coughing, sneezing, etc). The data is still being looked at, and there are some that dispute this and believe it is infact airborne. Remeber to take everything with a grain of salt and look back at some factual sources. Stay safe y'all - 3/31/20
Some of you may know me from my occasional posting and commenting on this site. Been hanging around in some capacity since at least 2013, used to come onto this site infrequently before that. I have been debating putting this together cause you guys seem like very good people, and there is a lot of misinformation and poorly communicated info going around about conronavirus, covid-19, etc. As a precurser here, I do work in health care (and if need be can proove my credentials to any of the mods, although i'd like to keep any additional information private). None of what I am about to provide however, should be misrepresented as health advice, rather take this as someone who is medically literate pointing you to generally good sources and giving general guidance for what you should or can do if you are concerned. That being said, I feel I've already rambled too much, so here we go.
To start, lemme point people to the direction of https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
This is a pretty good aggregating website detailing what I think is fairly accurate information. They draw most of their numbers from CDC reporting, WHO information, and seemingly some other reputable sources. What we should gather from this data is to understand the underlying concerns regarding this virus, and what that may mean for the average person.
First of all, the virus has a 1-3% mortality, we'll go with 2% on average because that seems to be the most reported number. Some other data has suggested that 17-20% of cases are potentially asymptomatic. Worldometer suggests that 80% of cases are fairly mild. What I think is that we can assume MOST people that get this virus are not going to have a bad time with it. It is important to keep in mind that while most cases don't end up being hospitalized, the concerning thing with this virus seem to be that people who are hospitalized stay hospitalized for 3-6 weeks, often require ventalation, and can get sick very quickly. The older you get however, the higher your mortality is, with the highest mortality being 75 and up.
The virus typically starts with low grade fevers (typically recognized at 100.4%, but CDC is recognizing elevated temp, so anything above 99.5), fatigue, a dry cough, and then progression to shortness of breath/dyspnea over the course of 5-8 days. Other symptoms of headache, sore throat, sneezing, congestion, etc, seem to not be as common with this virus compared to stuff like adenovirus, influenza, rhinovirus, parainfluenza, etc. Mild cases seem to last 2 or so weeks (which is the reason for the average 14 day quarantine) with bad cases lasting 3-6 weeks as previously stated.
Young people are not nearly as high risk here. There have been several cases of people under 30 getting pretty sick, a few people in their 30s have been very sick. The risk seems to climb somewhat once you hit 40, as usually you develop some risk factors by then; hypertension, diabetes, obesity, lung disease, cardiac diease etc. People under 30 have a 0.2% mortality with no reported cases thus far of someone under 9 years old dying from the disease. I'd honestly estimate that the mortality is even lower for people under 30, and the bigget problem I can outline from the data we have is that a lot of countries aren't screening asymptomatic patients, especially young healthy ones.
I'm sure you've heard this ad-nauseum, but why is this virus worse than flu or other recent respiratory viruses?
Two things i've sort of aluded to here, the spread, and the asymptomatic carriers. The virus seems to be airborne transmission as opposed to the flu virus, which is repsiratory transmission. That means that if I have the coronavirus (SARS2Coronavirus, COVID-19 being the diease state) and cough or sneeze, there is a possibility that the virus can be in the air for several hours. If you come into contact with it you could easily be exposed and then become infected. I can't remember the specific source, but I read an infectious disease report that hypothesized that people may be most contagious in the first few days, even if they have little to no symptoms. The second detail that i've basically already stated, is that you can be asymptomatic and spread this virus to high risk patients. That's the dangerous part. High risk people are: anyone over 65, anyone with immune compromise, anyone with hypertension/heart disease/diabetes.
So to summarize, you have a fairly contagious virus that can stay in the air for several hours, stay on surfaces for several days, and be spread by asymptomatic people. It can spread to ALOT of people in a fairly short amount of time, and can get people sick for several weeks, many of which will require the Hospitilization (in other words the people that do get sick require a lot of attention, time, and resources).
So my somewhat incorent rambling aside, what does this mean for the general person? Know who to call if you are concerned. https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory
The webiste listed above is a directory for state wide departments of health. These should be your first point of contact if you have any concerns, questions, etc. Local news sites should also have some additional resources you can call, hotlines, support lines, etc. A quick google search to your country's department of health should put you in the right direction if you are one of our many non-american friends. The CDC's website is also a great source of information.
Be vigilant, wash your hands often. If you go out, don't touch your face. When you get home from being out (if you have to be out) wash your fash and your hands, take the clothes you were wearing off, wash them if you went to a crowded place. Grocery stores are going to be hotspots, but we don't have an option so protect yourself accordingly. If you start to develop symptoms, call a doctor or your local department of health immediately. IF you don't have a PCP or other medical provider, try to call a department of health hotline. If you can't get through to them and are only having mild symptoms (some fevers, cough), try to quarantine yourself. If you get ANY shortness of breath you need to contact a healthcare center immediately or go directly to an emergency department. Local news sites are telling people to stay out of the emergency departments (which is honestly a good thing at this point) but they are there for you specifically if you have a health care emergency, which being unable to breath falls under. Doesn't matter what the news says, for the most part an emergency department cannot deny you entry for a medical examination. A lot of departments have different triaging protocols right now, but to reiterate, IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE BREATHING, GET SEEN IMMEDIATELY.
I'm sure some of this may seem spooky, it isn't meant to be, knowledge is power y'all. So wash those hands, clear those back logs, stay safe, stay clean, watch out for each other, don't hoard toilet paper, check in on your neighbors, stay away from high risk family members, call friends and family that you know are isolated just to talk to them. This is an unprecedented time right now. It's our responsibility to take care of each other, flatten the curve, and take care of ourselves.
Again, please don't take anything i've typed here as anything other than me pointing you to sources or telling you to call a healthcare line if you start to experience symptoms. That being said, educate yourself, not all cold symptoms are related to coronavirus and healthcare is about to get swamped in the coming weeks.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading, good luck, wash your foreskin.
- The Coffee Cup
If you have any additional information, corrections based on evidence, concerns, lemme know or send me a PM.