Everyone is talking about Covid-19, but what is it? COVID-19 is a disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It has been diagnosed in multiple locations worldwide and has received widespread attention from public health authorities and the news media. We are closely monitoring and following guidance from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are in close contact with state and local health authorities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:
· It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
· Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.
Who’s at risk of Covid-19?
In Michigan, we are seeing community spread of COVID-19, which means that there is some risk of exposure for everyone.
Exposure risk is higher for:
· Healthcare workers and for those who have prolonged close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
· Elderly people and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk of more severe infection.
You can lower your risk of exposure by practicing social distancing including staying at least 6 feet away from people, limiting contact with large groups of people, and washing your hands frequently.
What are symptoms of Covid-19?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:
· Shortness of breath
· Repeated shaking with chills
· Body aches
· Sore throat
· New loss of taste or smell
· Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
Who is at higher risk of getting very sick from Covid-19?
According to the CDC and WHO, people at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 include older adults over 60 and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
· Heart disease
· Lung disease
· People with compromised immune systems
People with compromised immune systems include those:
· With primary or acquired immunodeficiency
· On anti-rejection therapy following organ or bone marrow transplant
· On biologic therapeutic agents
· With malignant cancers or receiving or who have recently received chemotherapy
· Receiving systemic immunosuppressive therapy, including corticosteroids equivalent to 20 mg a day of prednisone for 2 weeks or longer
If you are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, watch closely for symptoms and emergency warning signs. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
Get medical attention immediately if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, including:
· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
· New confusion or inability to arouse
· Blue-colored lips or face
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Visit our COVID-19 Patient-Specific Guidelines page to view or download information for patients with specific conditions.
New reports suggest that a rare and potentially fatal inflammatory disease linked to the novel coronavirus is afflicting a small number of kids. Pediatric health experts are closely monitoring new data, emphasizing that while parents should learn about the new condition and know the symptoms – they also shouldn’t panic.
How does Covid-19 spread?
Covid-19 spreads 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
· In rare cases, contact with feces
Steps taken to prevent spread of COVID-19
If you are ill, stay home and rest. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
· Wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that by covering your mouth and nose, you’re significantly lowering the chances of spreading infection through small droplets that come out of your mouth when you talk, sneeze and cough. Visit our Mask-Wearing to Prevent COVID-19 page for more about the why, who, and how of mask-wearing.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (Watch the video: "Wash Your Hands: Fight Germs with the University of Michigan Fight Song" for a "Go-Blue" approved demonstration of how to do this.)
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone outside your household, whether they appear to be sick or not. Some people may carry the virus but may not show many symptoms.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
· Adults and children over the age of 2 should wear a cloth face cover or mask to cover your mouth and nose when you’re in public.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
· If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.
How do we treat COVID-19?
There are currently no tested therapies proven to prevent or treat COVID-19. Treatments are instead focused on supporting the patient and managing symptoms, helping the patient to breathe, and allowing the body to fight the infection and heal. You can read more here: Chloroquine, Ibuprofen and Beyond: Doctors Discuss Latest Treatments, and Treatment Rumors, For COVID-19