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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as of FEB 2020

What is happening?

On Jan. 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first case of COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) in the United States, in Washington state. As of Feb. 26, there are 14 confirmed cases in the United States, but no confirmed cases in Missouri.

COVID-19 is concerning because it’s a new strain and can cause pneumonia.

How is it spread?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
  • Rarely, fecal contamination

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of coronavirus may include:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • A general feeling of being unwell

If you have traveled to/from Wuhan City and have symptoms, contact a health care provider before going to see a doctor or visiting an emergency room.

If you have been notified by public health authorities that you might have been exposed, follow instructions provided by your local health department.

How can people protect themselves?

There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting any viral respiratory infections. These include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces

It is also important for people to stay at home away from others if they are sick.

What is the treatment?

There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms, including:

  • Take pain and fever medications (caution: do not give aspirin to children)
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
  • If you are mildly sick, you should drink plenty of liquids, stay home and rest

Situation in U.S.

As of February 23, 14 COVID-19 cases had been diagnosed in the following six states: Arizona (one case), California (eight), Illinois (two), Massachusetts (one), Washington (one), and Wisconsin (one). Twelve of these 14 cases were related to travel to China, and two cases occurred through person-to-person transmission to close household contacts of a person with confirmed COVID-19. An additional 39 cases were reported among repatriated U.S. citizens, residents, and their families returning from Hubei province, China (three), and from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in Yokohama, Japan (36). Thus, there have been 53 cases within the United States. No deaths have been reported in the United States.

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Risk Assessment

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications). The fact that this disease has caused illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustained person-to-person spread is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus.

The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States.

But individual risk is dependent on exposure.

  • For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
  • Under current circumstances, certain people will have an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other close contacts of persons with COVID-19. CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.

However, it’s important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. In that case, the risk assessment would be different.

CDC Recommends

  • While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
    • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
    • If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for people who recently traveled from China and have fever and respiratory symptoms.
    • If you are a healthcare provider caring for a COVID-19 patient or a public health responder, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
    • If you have been in China or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient.
    • For people who are ill with COVID-19, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.

 

For more infomation please visit the following links:

https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/pdf/novel-coronavirus-factsheet.pdf

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus