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Coronavirus March 1: What’s Coming Next

2:22 AM · Mar 2, 2020

Two recent deaths in Washington state due to Coronavirus is a significant event for a few reasons. First, were cases of community spread, meaning it's unknown how they got the virus. Second, it likely helped researchers discover the virus has been spreading around the area for several weeks. Trevor Bedford, a scientist up in Seattle studying this virus, estimated last Saturday that it's likely been spreading up there for 6 weeks already. The cases reported over the weekend appear to be genetically linked to a case reported in Snohomish County on Jan. 19, which was the first recorded case in the US. “This strongly suggests that there has been cryptic transmission in Washington State for the past six weeks,” Bedford wrote. He notes it is possible the connection is a coincidence, but unlikely. “I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China,” Bedford wrote. This statement was in reference to the federal requirement that called for health workers to only test individuals who had traveled to China, where the virus emerged. Yesterday, an outbreak at a longterm care facility in Kirkland, Washington was discovered. Fifty people are already symptomatic at that one location, including over two dozen healthcare providers. News tonight has confirmations coming in including one man that has already passed away. Undetected spread, or community spread, is already happening in Oregon and California. Just now two Bay Area healthcare workers tested presumptive positive. Testing has been a bit of a fiasco in the US. To date we've tested fewer than 500 people. South Korea, a country that had zero cases two weeks ago and which now has almost 4,000 cases, is testing thousands of people every day to try to get ahead of the virus. But the CDC’s testing rules have changed in the past few days, allowing local labs to start doing their own tests. This will likely cause the number of documented cases in the US, and particularly on the West Coast, to increase significantly. I share all this to help keep you informed about what is coming, so it's not a shock. The more informed we are, the more proactive and prepared we can be in our communities. “Speed is critical. Speed is absolutely critical. Every country that is receiving their first cases needs to act robustly and aggressively. … Look for this virus,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit for the World Health Organization’s global infectious hazard preparedness team, in an interview with STAT news. We have to try and get ahead of the virus as much as possible. Symptoms to watch out for: Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: - Fever - Cough - Shortness of breath Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms. Also, be extra vigilant when you're symptomatic or exposed, to prevent transmission. Break the chain of transmission of a virus and you could significantly help your community. Lastly, stay calm and prepare. Consider ways to help others, especially the older generations that will be more vulnerable. Be extra gracious to people as this is a very stressful time. Children I’m getting a lot of questions about the Coronavirus and its impact on children. Being a father of young children myself, I totally understand the concern. Here is some information I’ve gathered. Here are some of the findings from Devi Sridhar, Professor & Chair of Global Public Health, at EdinburghUni Medical School. “- Many health workers infected at home, not at work. -Mortality increases with age. -Not SARS or flu-like. -Children aged 18 and under only 2.4% of all reported cases.” Professor Debby Bogaert of Centre for Inflammation Research expands: “Role for children in transmission unknown, but important to understand: children are common asymptomatic ‘carriers’ of regular human coronaviruses, and as such important reservoir for their spread…. Important to know for containment/surveillance.” Sources: Trevor Bedford - CDC - Seattle Times - STAT News - Bloomberg - ABC News - Kai Kupferschmidt - Devi Srivhar - Debby Bogaert - Help reviewing and editing this by Dane DuPont, Sarah Wilkinson, and Josh Gaunt.

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