Please don’t panic, it’s only a world pandemic.
PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES
Major metropolitan areas will see cases first, cities with international airports, and the travelers who have returned from infected areas.
Infected individuals will drive along major highways and interstates, spreading the virus to other cities.
One of our local news stations in the greater Miami area was interviewing passengers who had returned to the US. One retired couple flew in from South Korea into Fort Lauderdale. They estimated that 95% of the South Korean’s were wearing masks in public and were performing temperature screens of residents. The US couple when passing through customs, had no temperature screen and were not asked if they were ill or had respiratory symptoms.
A couple who recently traveled to Milan, Italy cut short their trip cancelling reservations and returned to the US earlier than they originally planned. They rented a car from Milan to Rome and flew back to the US. They were not asked about what part of Italy they had traveled nor if they had any symptoms. Students who study abroad are being brought home from the countries where there are high numbers of infected. One person who had traveled to Italy was denied the proper testing at a local hospital.
As the number of cases of COVID 19 increases around the globe and it continues to spread, it is evident that the virus has not been contained and the virus will continue to infect others. While some countries have increased their efforts to slow the spread of the virus, the way countries and cities have responded varies.
Iran, Italy, and South Korea are all seeing a high number of cases. It is alarming is that approximately 4 to 5 weeks ago, they each their first case confirmed. Iran’s first case was around February 19. Italy’s first case was around the end of January. South Korea’s first case was confirmed on January 20. With that said, other countries that document one confirmed case today may likely have 100’s of cases in two weeks, thousands of cases in three or four weeks.
While the death rate is estimated to be around 2% and generally affecting people who are older with underlying health concerns, that is not true for everyone.
One Canadian businessman who died in China did not have any previous health concerns.
It may be higher than 2% for health care workers. While the number of health care workers in China who have died from the illness is unknown, many of them were not using protective equipment when they were unawarely exposed to the illness. Two Chinese health care professionals were both young men and were exposed at Wuhan hospital likely before protective equipment protocols were implemented.
Health care workers in the United States are likewise more at risk if they are seeing COVID 19 patients and are unaware they are infected. Not all health care facilities in the United States have implemented protective guidelines, even despite the increasing number of cases. Urgent care, emergency room, and primary care clinics should all be using protective equipment when examining patients who are seeking treatment for respiratory symptoms. We need to be implementing these measures now, so we can prevent the spread of the virus. Is it already too little, too late?
Updated 3/25/2020 at 1:22 pm EST