Coronavirus is a new respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan, China. The virus is contagious and potentially fatal. Much like influenza, people with pre-existing conditions such as heart and lung disease or immunologic problems are most at risk, however as we have seen int he past few months the unpredictability of the virus is a part of what makes it most threatening. At the present time, multiple vaccine trials are ongoing and two have received emergency approval through the FDA and will likely be distributed in early 2021.
How is Corona Virus Spread?
COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. You can also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. In other words, the same way influenza and your everyday cold is transmitted. There is currently no evidence that there can be any transmission of the virus through food.
How many People survive coronavirus?
Currently, coronavirus has a fatality rate of ~2% in total however in children the fatality rate is ~ 9x lower than in adults. As such, the vast majority of those affected so far have survived the disease, but given the high number of cases unfortunately the death toll has surpassed 300 thousand. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all, however, some children can become severely ill from COVID-19. Babies under 1 year old with other underlying conditions are more likely to have severe illness when infected with COVID-19.
What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus?
Symptoms of COVID-19 can look very similar to other common illnesses like strep throat, common cold, asthma symptoms, or allergies. The most common symptoms in children are a fever and cough, but children have any of the following symptoms:
- Fever or chills
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle or body aches
- Poor appetite or poor feeding, especially in babies under 1 year old
How infectious is coronavirus?
The virus appears to spread through both respiratory droplets (like influenza) and airborne transmission (like tuberculosis and chicken pox).
The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from two to 14 days. During this period, an individual can be infected and spreading the disease although they may not be experiencing the signs and symptoms of the virus.
How can I protect myself or a family member?
Because there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends the following additional steps:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (you can sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY twice). Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What do I do if my child develops symptoms?
Your child needs to stay at home. Try to isolate them from other individuals in the home and if over 2 years old, they should wear a mask along with others in the home.
Call the doctor’s office and request a COVID-19 test. Depending on their symptoms and the severity they may also recommend you be evaluated at that time or after the COVID-19 test has resulted.
Notify the child’s school that they are sick and the COVID-19 result if it has been obtained.
Supportive care including tylenol for fever and pain, hydration with electrolyte enriched fluids, warm teas, and honey (for children over 1) can be helpful for cough and other cold symptoms.
If you or another adult in your home are sick, you should contact your healthcare provider or call 2-1-1 for information and to make an appt for a FREE testing site in San Diego County. https://211sandiego.org/covid19/covid-19-testing/
What do I do if someone in my household was exposed to someone with the coronavirus?
The exposed persons need to quarantine at home for 14 days from the date of exposure.
If you choose to get a COVID-19 test it is recommended this be done at least 5-7 days after the exposure or when the person starts to have symptoms. A negative test does NOT exclude infection with the virus (as the amount of virus may still be too low to show up on the test), and 14 day home quarantine is recommended.
What if I had Coronavirus, can I get it again?
There is a 3 month period where a person previously infected with the coronavirus has “suspected immunity”. Research regarding how long someone is immune is still in progress.
What if I or my child had Coronavirus can we donate antibodies for convalescent plasma treatment?
Yes! You must be over 17 years old and be symptom free for 28 days prior to donating. You can visit the San Diego Blood Bank for more information https://www.sandiegobloodbank.org/antibody-test
Please see below the most recent updates regarding COVID-19 in San Diego.
- View schedule for local testing sites in your area
- Review up to date information regarding how to care for your family during the pandemic
- Information regarding businesses/travel/schools
- Guidance for Quarantine (exposed) and Isolation (infected)
- Community Food Resources for those in need: https://feedingsandiego.org/
A vaccine is near, should you get it for you and your family?
COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic.
It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often. (CDC).
Vaccination of first responders has already begun in our community. Vaccination is a tiered process starting first with first responders and healthcare personnel. We anticipate our county being able to vaccinate the general population in early 2021. Updates to come!
A national vaccine committee recommended authorization of the first COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and older in early December, a move the AAP called an important step forward, while also urging more research on vaccines for children and adolescents.
“Today marks another milestone in the pandemic and brings us one step closer to having a vaccine that will be broadly available to physicians, health care workers, and other front-line medical staff,” AAP President Sara “Sally” Goza, M.D., FAAP, said in a news release. “This is a light at the end of the long tunnel of this pandemic, which has placed heavy burdens on everyone in the medical community, and we look forward to having a vaccine available to protect everyone who has put their own health and safety at risk in order to care for others.” (source American Academy of Pediatrics)
Visit this website for the “8 Things you need to know about the US COVID-19 Vaccination Program”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html