Can You Give Us A Brief Update On the Current Coronavirus Pandemic?
- Well here we are 4 months since it started, 3 million infected worldwide and 1 million recovered, 220,000 dead. USA with over 1 million infected and 60,000 dead. We seem to have passed the peak for both daily new infection and daily deaths.
- In terms of the disease presentation itself, we have been seeing new symptoms such as loss of sense of smell and taste and repeated shaking with chills. Also new concerning symptoms being seen are Covid causing heart attacks and strokes in young (less than 50) and healthy individuals. Also seen are deep blue toes (terms as Covid toes) as a form of blood clotting disorder newly seen in Covid-19 patients.
- Tests are more available currently including for asymptomatic people who ask for testing. New antibody test also started although not proven to be of clinical significance.
- With all the abundance of information and disinformation, I would again advice people to follow authorities like CDC for their primary source
The CDC has prepared a self-assessment tool which is accurate and evidence based. The CDC tool yields a recommendation for the patient – seek further care, stay at home, etc. – based on the current CDC guidelines. Go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html and click on “Coronavirus self-checker.”
What Are The Tests Available And Their Benefits?
The initial test which is mainly the one that has been used to diagnose Covid disease is called PCR test, which means it detects a part of the Virus body. It is a sensitive test and it is what should be used to diagnose an active infection for purposes of isolation and contract tracing.
The antibody test detects our immune response which is assumed to last at least for a few months. It is still debatable how much the immunity is protective as there are reports of second infection in some areas. I believe that with this method, you can add value to workplaces dealing with ‘return to work’ questions, and possible immunity for workers especially for health workers who had been infected , while also providing surveillance data to policy makers.
What Advice Would You Give Someone Who Has Had And Recovered From COVID Who Now Has A Second Close Personal Exposure Or Who Has Travelled? Should They Be Isolated For 14 Days Again? What If They Are A Healthcare Worker Or Flight Attendant? Does The Antibody Test Help At All In This Scenario?
According to basic immunology, and testing of infected patients, once a patient has recovered, they produce IgM followed by IgG as part of the recovery. I am comfortable assuming that such a person has developed at least short-term immunity, or they would not have recovered from the acute infection. I would not advise another period of quarantine, until the CDC or published literature explicitly recommends otherwise.
Having said that, I would still advise a previously infected and recovered person to follow all of the other recommend measures to avoid unnecessary exposure to an active case until we know for sure the immunity is long-lasting
Businesses Are Beginning To Reopen And Kickstart Our Ailing Economy Here In Texas Already. According To Your Opinion, When Can An Employee’s Return To Work Safely? What Would Be The Risk If/When All Businesses Open?
Let me answer the last question first. The risk of going back to business as usual would be, as the virus is still circulating in the community and not a lot of people have been infected, due to our hard work to leave our jobs and isolate, there is likely to be increased transmissions especially in businesses who deal with direct public contact every day.
Therefore I would advise at least employees likely to come in contact with vulnerable customers ( elderly, other chronic health issues like Diabetes, Hypertension, chronic lung issues, immune system disorders) to get tested regularly and make sure they don’t pass the disease. I would leave the choice of test to their clinician.
Additionally, all employees with respiratory symptoms and or fever see their physicians before going back to work and do the tests as needed.
How Is Zion Urgent Care Doing In Terms Of Covid-19?
Since the very beginning we have responded proactively by making the PCR test available, even when we didn’t have the necessary Protective Equipment. We are currently providing both the antibody and the PCR test and have tested 60 patients.
Last Updated: May 1, 2020