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  • Writer's pictureLungtreater

nCoV 2019 What we know and what we don't!



The US federal government has been responding to infectious diseases, like the 2019 nCoV, for some time now. Our healthcare system possesses sufficient understanding on how to react to these types of pandemics and many other infectious diseases. The requirements for personal protection, response, and care are not new. Only this 2019 version of the virus is "novel," hence the name nCoV. Much remains unknown regarding transmission of the disease but we are learning its behaviour and that will hone our response. Here is what we know about the 41 patients admitted to Wuhan Hospital with the virus currently from data published in Lancet and from the history of other CoVs [1]. The virus presented itself clinically with the following signs and symptoms; and in order of incidence:


- Fever (40/41 [98%])

- Cough (31 [76%])

- Fatigue (18 [44%])

- Dyspnea (Shortness of Breath) [22 (55%)]


less frequently

- Sore throat

- Sputum production

- headaches

- hemoptysis


and even more uncommon when compared to other CoV's but still reported was

-Diarrhoea prior to fever.


Individuals with these signs and symptoms are instructed to seek medical care. The CDC has a page to provide more information and we've hyperlinked it here.


Individuals with less effective immune systems (elderly, immunocompromised, and those with underlying disease) are more at risk. Warnings are abundant not to expose these individuals.


What makes this virus troubling is the variance in clinical course and the unknown incubation period. This nCoV 2019 has been reported to incubate in 4 days [2] however other Coronaviridae, this family of virus, has reported to incubate over 14 days. Currently government recommendations to those who exhibit signs or symptoms is to sequester oneself for 14 days while seeking medical care.


The hospitalization course in some is progressive and varies, however most individuals hospitalized are with signs of pneumonia. The CDC reports 20-30% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and pneumonia have required intensive care for respiratory support. Those admitted to intensive care have received high flow oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilation. Mortality rates from China are also high once the patient is admitted to ICU and mechanically ventilated. Of the 13 patients (out of 41) admitted to the ICU 6 died. However a larger view of caseload from the NIH in China reports a total of 1,023 deaths occurred among confirmed hospitalized cases for an overall case-fatality rate of 2.3%.


There is no doubt for high risk individuals, this is not a virus to contract.


So what can be done as Lung Treaters:


The CDC and American Thoracic Society has established a number of pages to assist caregivers and inform the public. Check these out and spread the word appropriately.











We don't know how long this will last but we do know that taking reasonable steps will shorten the course of this virus for all of us. So go about your normal life but do so with the steps recommended by the CDC. If you don't need to go out - DON'T!


To my fellow clinicians - don't overextend yourselves - use Personal protective devices properly - preserve your wellness - we need you!






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