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What Patients Get Wrong About Covid-19 Virus

There is so much information, pop-ups, social media and gossip about Corona Covid-19 Virus, it is not a surprise that patients have some erroneous beliefs.  It is an evolving situation and we are learning new things every day.  Here are a few beliefs that people have wrong:  

1. Only older people ( Old Boomers) get serious illness 

Wrong. As of March 16, the CDC reported the cases of hospitalized patients in the U.S. were:

Over age 85 -  9%

Age 65-84.  - 36%

Age 55-64   - 17%

Age 45-54   - 18%

Age 20-44   - 20%

< Age 19     -<1%

Until March 16, 80% of all deaths were in people over age 65.  Note these numbers are rapidly changing as the incidence grows.

2.Any Symptom could be Corona Covid Virus

Wrong.  Covid Virus is always respiratory and its main action is in the lungs and bronchioles. The virus contains glycoprotein spikes that attach to receptors and enter cells in the lower respiratory tract of humans.  The symptoms include cough, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat and rarely diarrhea.  If a patient does not have a cough or shortness of breath, it is probably not Covid.

3.  Homemade and cloth masks protect against Covid Virus

Wrong.  There is a worldwide shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the only masks that have proven effectiveness for this virus are Fitted N-95 masks.

Although the CDC has relaxed recommendations for using cloth or homemade masks, it also states "protection capability is unknown".  There are no studies that show reusing N-95 masks is safe and the barrier protection is known to deteriorate over time. Are homemade masks better than nothing?  Yes, probably.

4. If I have symptoms of Corona, I should be tested

Under normal circumstances we should be testing everyone with symptoms so we could track the virus, understand the contagion period, refine the epidemiology and prepare for future epidemics.  But these are not normal times.  With the lack of PPE, health resources and quick turnaround test results, we are not testing mildly symptomatic patients at this time.  This should change and we should be testing everyone so we can track the virus and get back to normal.

Stay tuned......

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