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Coronavirus: Where to get good and helpful information

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Coronavirus: Where to get good and helpful information

As the virus COVID-19 (commonly called the coronavirus) is so prevalent in the news, it is only natural that Town residents are worrying.

Yesterday, on behalf of the Town Council, Wicca Davidson called the Maryland Department of Health and spoke with the person in the Public Health Division who answers questions regarding the virus.  

That person stated that there is no need to worry at this time unless someone has been in direct contact with a person known to have the virus.

If you would like to speak with someone in the MD Public Health Department, here is the phone number: 410-767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464.

Below are links to Maryland’s plan and information, information from the Center for Disease Control, and an informative article from the Washington Post.

Maryland links:
https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/02/27/governor-hogan-announces-additional-steps-to-protect-marylanders-from-coronavirus/

https://health.maryland.gov/docs/coronavirus_FAQ.pdf

The Center for Disease Control links:

 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

To receive the weekly CDC email newsletter about COVID-10, enter your email address, and type COVID-19 in the search box at this link:
https://tools.cdc.gov/campaignproxyservice/subscriptions.aspx?topic_id=USCDC_2067.

The article in Sunday, February 29 morning online version of the Washington Post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/02/28/what-you-need-know-about-coronavirus/?arc404=true

This article is copied and pasted below.

What you need to know about Coronavirus
What began with a handful of mysterious illnesses in a vast central China city has now traveled the world, jumping from animals to humans and from obscurity to international headlines. First detected on the last day of 2019, the novel coronavirus has infected tens of thousands of people — within China’s borders and beyond them — and has killed more than 2,500. It has triggered unprecedented quarantines , stock market upheaval  and dangerous conspiracy theories.

Most cases are mild, but health officials say the virus’s spread through the United States appears  inevitable. As the country and its health-care system prepares, much is still unknown about the virus that causes the disease now named covid-19.

The Washington Post has spoken to scores of doctors, officials and experts to answer as many of your questions as we can about the newest global health emergency. Here’s what we know so far. 

What is it?
These days, “coronavirus” is often prefaced with the word “novel,” because that’s precisely what it is: a new strain in a family of viruses we’ve all seen before — and, in some form, had. According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold  to much more serious diseases. These diseases can infect both humans and animals. The strain that began spreading in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, is related to two other coronaviruses that have caused major outbreaks in recent years: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Symptoms of a coronavirus infection range in severity from respiratory problems to cases of pneumonia, kidney failure and a buildup of fluid in the lungs.

How deadly is it?
The good news: Public health officials say the novel coronavirus is less deadly than SARS, which killed about 10 percent of people who were infected during the outbreak that began in 2002. But an urgent question remains: How deadly is it?

As of Feb. 7, about 2 percent of the reported cases had been fatal, but many experts say the death rate could be lower. That’s because early in an outbreak, mild illnesses may not be reported. If only people with severe illness — who are more likely to die — seek care, the virus will appear much more deadly than it really is, because of all the uncounted people with milder symptoms.

How easily does it spread?
The bad news: The new coronavirus appears to spread much more easily than SARS and is similar to other coronaviruses that cause cold-like symptoms, experts have said. A virus that can spread easily — and may already be fairly widespread — presents a huge public health challenge. A case report that showed the illness could spread before symptoms occurred turned out to be incorrect, although a top U.S. official has said he still believes it can spread without symptoms, based on discussions with Chinese experts. “In SARS ... it seemed people were quite sick before they started transmitting, and that’s why, in my view, SARS was ultimately controlled,” said Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “You really could isolate the discernibly sick people.”

Who is most at risk of severe illness?
Similar to other respiratory illnesses, older people and those with illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure are at increased risk. Early studies have also suggested men are at greater risk. But, as with other diseases, there can be tremendous individual variation in how people respond. There will be people with known risk factors who recover, as well as people who develop severe cases for reasons we don’t understand. “It may be a very specific thing about the way your immune system interacts with a particular pathogen,” said Allison McGeer, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. “It may also be just about exactly what your exposure is.”

Where has it spread?
U.S. 62 cases

Country Cases: China 78,928, South Korea 2,337, Italy 888, Iran 388, Japan 228, Singapore 93, United States 62, France 57, Germany 48, Kuwait 45, Thailand 41, Bahrain 36, Taiwan 34, Spain 32, Malaysia 23, Australia 23, U.A.E. 19, Vietnam 16, Canada 14, Switzerland 8, Iraq and Sweden 7, Norway 6, Croatia 5,

4 cases: Greece Israel Oman
3 cases: Austria, India, Philippines Romania
2 cases: Finland Lebanon Pakistan Russia
1 Case: Afghanistan Algeria Belarus Belgium Brazil Cambodia Denmark Egypt Estonia Georgia Iceland Lithuania Mexico Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria San Marino Sri Lanka

Last updated: Feb 28 at 7:34 pm

Note: China total includes 94 cases in Hong Kong and 10 in Macau.

How should I prepare?
The virus may be novel, but you really don’t need to buy anything new or special to brace for it. Epidemiology experts said the most important aspect of preparedness costs nothing at all — calm. “Don’t panic,” said Timothy Brewer, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at UCLA. “There’s no value in panicking or telling people to be afraid. Don’t let fear and emotion drive the response to this virus."

There are some basic precautions you can take, which are the same as what you should be doing every day to stave off other respiratory diseases. You’ve seen the guidance before: Wash your hands regularly. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. And when you’re sick, stay home from work or school and drink lots of fluids.

The CDC recommends washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose or sneezing. It also advises not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth and to clean objects and surfaces you touch often.

Do I need to wear a mask? If you’re not already sick and you’re not a health-care worker, the short answer is no. And you certainly don’t need to buy every box your local pharmacy has in stock. “The main point of the mask is to keep someone who is infected with the virus from spreading it to others,” Brewer said.

The CDC agrees, writing on its website: “CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.”

Common surgical masks block the droplets coming out of a sick person from getting into the air, but they are not tight enough to prevent what’s already in the air from getting in. There are specialized masks — known as N95 masks because they filter out 95 percent of airborne particles — that are more effective, and some online retailers are sold out of them. But there’s a problem: The masks are difficult to use without training. They must be fitted and tested to work properly.

What do reports of a patient being ‘cured’ mean?
There are two kinds of “cured” in an infectious disease context, said Bruce Ribner, a professor at the Emory University School of Medicine.

There’s being “clinically cured,” he said, when someone starts feeling better and stops showing symptoms such as fever and coughing. Then there’s being “pathogen cured,” when doctors determine that the virus is indeed no longer in the body and therefore the patient can’t transmit the disease.

The former is clear to a patient. The latter, “we don’t yet have a good handle on what it takes,” Ribner said.

There’s still no antiviral to treat the novel coronavirus. But Todd Ellerin, director of infectious diseases at South Shore Health in Massachusetts, said that, as with the influenza, “most patients are cured of this on their own” just by their immune system fighting back against the invading virus. But for at-risk patients, the novel coronavirus infection can be far more severe.

When will it end?
This coronavirus could follow a seasonal pattern, peaking in the winter months. It could infect lots of people now and then begin to recede in the Northern Hemisphere before returning in the fall. It could take hold in the Southern Hemisphere. “This virus can do anything it wants,” McGeer said. “That pattern of how it’s going to spread is completely unknown, but it is critical to what the burden is going to be to all of us. … It could be just like another coronavirus, a bunch of colds. It could be like a regular flu season. It’s possible it could be different and worse.”

Plain text message

Coronavirus: Where to get good and helpful information

As the virus COVID-19 (commonly called the coronavirus) is so prevalent in the news, it is only natural that Town residents are worrying.

Yesterday, on behalf of the Town Council, Wicca Davidson called the Maryland Department of Health and spoke with the person in the Public Health Division who answers questions regarding the virus.

That person stated that there is no need to worry at this time unless someone has been in direct contact with a person known to have the virus.

If you would like to speak with someone in the MD Public Health Department, here is the phone number: 410-767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464.

Below are links to Maryland’s plan and information, information from the Center for Disease Control, and an informative article from the Washington Post.

Maryland links:
https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/02/27/governor-hogan-announces-additional-steps-to-protect-marylanders-from-coronavirus/ [https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/02/27/governor-hogan-announces-additional-steps-to-protect-marylanders-from-coronavirus/]

https://health.maryland.gov/docs/coronavirus_FAQ.pdf [https://health.maryland.gov/docs/coronavirus_FAQ.pdf]

The Center for Disease Control links:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html [https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html]

To receive the weekly CDC email newsletter about COVID-10, enter your email address, and type COVID-19 in the search box at this link:
https://tools.cdc.gov/campaignproxyservice/subscriptions.aspx?topic_id=USCDC_2067. [https://tools.cdc.gov/campaignproxyservice/subscriptions.aspx?topic_id=USCDC_2067.]

The article in Sunday, February 29 morning online version of the Washington Post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/02/28/what-you-need-know-about-coronavirus/?arc404=true [https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/02/28/what-you-need-know-about-coronavirus/?arc404=true]

This article is copied and pasted below.

What you need to know about Coronavirus
What began with a handful of mysterious illnesses in a vast central China city has now traveled the world, jumping from animals to humans and from obscurity to international headlines. First detected on the last day of 2019, the novel coronavirus has infected tens of thousands of people — within China’s borders and beyond them — and has killed more than 2,500. It has triggered unprecedented quarantines , stock market upheaval and dangerous conspiracy theories.

Most cases are mild, but health officials say the virus’s spread through the United States appears inevitable. As the country and its health-care system prepares, much is still unknown about the virus that causes the disease now named covid-19.

The Washington Post has spoken to scores of doctors, officials and experts to answer as many of your questions as we can about the newest global health emergency. Here’s what we know so far.

What is it?
These days, “coronavirus” is often prefaced with the word “novel,” because that’s precisely what it is: a new strain in a family of viruses we’ve all seen before — and, in some form, had. According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to much more serious diseases. These diseases can infect both humans and animals. The strain that began spreading in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, is related to two other coronaviruses that have caused major outbreaks in recent years: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Symptoms of a coronavirus infection range in severity from respiratory problems to cases of pneumonia, kidney failure and a buildup of fluid in the lungs.

How deadly is it?
The good news: Public health officials say the novel coronavirus is less deadly than SARS, which killed about 10 percent of people who were infected during the outbreak that began in 2002. But an urgent question remains: How deadly is it?

As of Feb. 7, about 2 percent of the reported cases had been fatal, but many experts say the death rate could be lower. That’s because early in an outbreak, mild illnesses may not be reported. If only people with severe illness — who are more likely to die — seek care, the virus will appear much more deadly than it really is, because of all the uncounted people with milder symptoms.

How easily does it spread?
The bad news: The new coronavirus appears to spread much more easily than SARS and is similar to other coronaviruses that cause cold-like symptoms, experts have said. A virus that can spread easily — and may already be fairly widespread — presents a huge public health challenge. A case report that showed the illness could spread before symptoms occurred turned out to be incorrect, although a top U.S. official has said he still believes it can spread without symptoms, based on discussions with Chinese experts. “In SARS ... it seemed people were quite sick before they started transmitting, and that’s why, in my view, SARS was ultimately controlled,” said Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “You really could isolate the discernibly sick people.”

Who is most at risk of severe illness?
Similar to other respiratory illnesses, older people and those with illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure are at increased risk. Early studies have also suggested men are at greater risk. But, as with other diseases, there can be tremendous individual variation in how people respond. There will be people with known risk factors who recover, as well as people who develop severe cases for reasons we don’t understand. “It may be a very specific thing about the way your immune system interacts with a particular pathogen,” said Allison McGeer, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. “It may also be just about exactly what your exposure is.”

Where has it spread?
U.S. 62 cases

Country Cases: China 78,928, South Korea 2,337, Italy 888, Iran 388, Japan 228, Singapore 93, United States 62, France 57, Germany 48, Kuwait 45, Thailand 41, Bahrain 36, Taiwan 34, Spain 32, Malaysia 23, Australia 23, U.A.E. 19, Vietnam 16, Canada 14, Switzerland 8, Iraq and Sweden 7, Norway 6, Croatia 5,

4 cases: Greece Israel Oman
3 cases: Austria, India, Philippines Romania
2 cases: Finland Lebanon Pakistan Russia
1 Case: Afghanistan Algeria Belarus Belgium Brazil Cambodia Denmark Egypt Estonia Georgia Iceland Lithuania Mexico Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria San Marino Sri Lanka

Last updated: Feb 28 at 7:34 pm

Note: China total includes 94 cases in Hong Kong and 10 in Macau.

How should I prepare?
The virus may be novel, but you really don’t need to buy anything new or special to brace for it. Epidemiology experts said the most important aspect of preparedness costs nothing at all — calm. “Don’t panic,” said Timothy Brewer, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at UCLA. “There’s no value in panicking or telling people to be afraid. Don’t let fear and emotion drive the response to this virus."

There are some basic precautions you can take, which are the same as what you should be doing every day to stave off other respiratory diseases. You’ve seen the guidance before: Wash your hands regularly. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. And when you’re sick, stay home from work or school and drink lots of fluids.

The CDC recommends washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose or sneezing. It also advises not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth and to clean objects and surfaces you touch often.

Do I need to wear a mask? If you’re not already sick and you’re not a health-care worker, the short answer is no. And you certainly don’t need to buy every box your local pharmacy has in stock. “The main point of the mask is to keep someone who is infected with the virus from spreading it to others,” Brewer said.

The CDC agrees, writing on its website: “CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.”

Common surgical masks block the droplets coming out of a sick person from getting into the air, but they are not tight enough to prevent what’s already in the air from getting in. There are specialized masks — known as N95 masks because they filter out 95 percent of airborne particles — that are more effective, and some online retailers are sold out of them. But there’s a problem: The masks are difficult to use without training. They must be fitted and tested to work properly.

What do reports of a patient being ‘cured’ mean?
There are two kinds of “cured” in an infectious disease context, said Bruce Ribner, a professor at the Emory University School of Medicine.

There’s being “clinically cured,” he said, when someone starts feeling better and stops showing symptoms such as fever and coughing. Then there’s being “pathogen cured,” when doctors determine that the virus is indeed no longer in the body and therefore the patient can’t transmit the disease.

The former is clear to a patient. The latter, “we don’t yet have a good handle on what it takes,” Ribner said.

There’s still no antiviral to treat the novel coronavirus. But Todd Ellerin, director of infectious diseases at South Shore Health in Massachusetts, said that, as with the influenza, “most patients are cured of this on their own” just by their immune system fighting back against the invading virus. But for at-risk patients, the novel coronavirus infection can be far more severe.

When will it end?
This coronavirus could follow a seasonal pattern, peaking in the winter months. It could infect lots of people now and then begin to recede in the Northern Hemisphere before returning in the fall. It could take hold in the Southern Hemisphere. “This virus can do anything it wants,” McGeer said. “That pattern of how it’s going to spread is completely unknown, but it is critical to what the burden is going to be to all of us. … It could be just like another coronavirus, a bunch of colds. It could be like a regular flu season. It’s possible it could be different and worse.”

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Coronavirus: Where to get good and helpful information