Coronavirus Status Report: Harvard Public Health Expert Dr Ashish K Jha Fills Us In On Where We Are Headed
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused markets to collapse and worldwide health systems to become overwhelmed. When there’s a global pandemic, it’s nice to hear from the steady, transparent and yes even reassuring voice of experts on the front lines. We spoke to Dr. Ashish K. Jha, faculty director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. Dr. Jha’s recent appearance on the PBS Newshour caused reverberations throughout the federal and state response system. Here’s his update.
Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for more information on coronavirus and COVID-19.
What To Know About A Cough And Covid
The incubation period for COVID-19 can be between 2 to 14 days with an average of 4 to 5 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
A cough thats associated with COVID-19 is usually dry. However, the CDC notes that in some cases it can be wet.
If you have a mild case of COVID-19, you may choose to use cough medications or other home remedies to help ease your cough.
Along with a cough, other possible symptoms of COVID-19 include:
Two Cases Of Omicron In Uk
The B.1.1.529 variant, now called omicron, was first identified in Botswana on November 11. It has now been detected in the UK as well as South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Belgium.
It is the most mutated form of Covid-19 discovered thus far, with 32 mutations to the spike protein. Scientists are concerned that the mutations may allow it to evade existing vaccines and spread quickly.
Two cases of omicron have now been found in the UK, with two people in Essex and Nottinghamshire testing positive for the new variant.
UK officials are busy scouring testing databases for any further sign of the omicron variant, not least because there were many South Africans in the Twickenham area of south-west London for the England and South Africa match last Saturday.
South African scientists say omicron is behind an explosion of cases in the countrys Gauteng province, which is home to the countrys commercial capital Johannesburg and Pretoria. Cases have rocketed up from about 550 a day last week to almost 4,000 a day currently.
The UK, US, the EU and Israel have all suspended travel to and from South Africa and the five surrounding countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The UK Government added Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to the travel red list on Sunday.
Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security
Read Also: Cvs Testing Price
How Does Coronavirus Spread
The coronavirus spreads mainly from person to person. A person infected with coronavirus even one with no symptoms may emit aerosols when they talk or breathe. Aerosols are infectious viral particles that can float or drift around in the air for up to three hours. Another person can breathe in these aerosols and become infected with the coronavirus.
This can happen between people who are in close contact with one another. Droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes may land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into their lungs.
Transmission is less likely to happen outdoors, where air currents scatter and dilute the virus, than in a home, office, or other confined space with limited air circulation.
The risk of spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects is considered to be extremely low. According to the CDC, each contact with a contaminated surface has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of causing an infection.
The virus may be shed in saliva, semen, and feces whether it is shed in vaginal fluids isn’t known. Kissing can transmit the virus. Transmission of the virus through feces, or during vaginal or anal intercourse or oral sex, appears to be extremely unlikely at this time.
Q: When Should I Go In Person And When Is Telemedicine Enough
Phone or video appointments work well for some situations, says Dr. Jonathan Weiner, chair of primary care at Cedars-Sinai. “Doctors can do routine health checks and monitor certain chronic problems, such as well-controlled diabetes, with a virtual appointment,” he explains.
Other illnesses are best handled in the office. Examples include poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or lung disease and mental illness. There’s no one-size-fits-all.
“Call your doctor’s office so you can discuss how they can best meet your needs,” says Dr. Weiner.
Read Also: Did Hank Aaron Get Covid Vaccine
When Should I Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Depending on each person, COVID-19 symptoms can be mild to severe. However, it is most likely for older adults and people with underlying medical conditionsâââincluding but not limited to heart disease, diabetes, and lung diseaseâââto experience severe symptoms or complications from COVID-19.
It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing serious complications of COVID-19, such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Inability to stay awake
- Lips or face tone turning blue
COVID-19 is a relatively new illness, from which symptoms are still being studied and discovered. Reach immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any other severe symptoms that were not mentioned above.
Coronavirus: What Are The Symptoms And When Should I See A Doctor
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is usually presented in the form of mild symptoms and many recover from it without undergoing any designated treatment. However, while its symptoms range from mild to moderate, it can lead to serious repercussions, even fatality in people who are above 60 years of age or already suffering from an underlying medical condition as they are more susceptible to this viruss effect.
Today, Coronavirus is a serious issue. In this article, lets observe the progression of coronavirus and clarify if you have the symptoms, and when it warrants to go visit a doctor.
You May Like: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
I Have These Symptoms What Should I Do
Whether or not you should seek medical attention depends on your symptoms and how bad they are. People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 may show none, some, or all of the symptoms listed above. If you have any of those symptoms, no matter how bad they are, you should wear a facemask in public . Notify those you live with and those caring for you that you think you might have COVID-19.
If you feel that you have fairly mild symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home. If you believe you have COVID-19 and are experiencing both fever and cough, its a good idea to contact your doctor. Their office will have your health information and can assist with personal recommendations. Check with your doctor before visiting their office as they may advise you to stay home.
Its important to understand that if you has a fever and a cough, this does not automatically mean it is because of COVID-19. There are other illnesses that have similar symptoms, such as the seasonal flu. You can read more about how COVID-19 differs from the flu here.
Only seek emergency care if you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or confusion. This is to protect you and others, as emergency departments are very busy during this time, and you dont want to be around those who are seriously ill.
Coping With The Loss Of Smell And Taste
- By Leo Newhouse, LICSW, Contributor
As I cut a slice of lemon for my tea one morning last March, I found that I could not detect the familiar zing of citrus. Nor, it turned out, could I taste the peach jam on my toast. Overnight, my senses of smell and taste seemed to have disappeared. In the days prior to that Id had body aches and chills, which I ascribed to a late-winter cold nothing, I thought, an analgesic and some down time couldnt take care of. But later that day I saw a newspaper article about the loss of smell and taste in patients with COVID-19, and I realized that Id likely caught the virus. While I was fortunate enough to eventually recover from it without a trip to the hospital or worse, months after testing negative for COVID, my senses of both smell and taste are still not fully recovered.
In this, I know, Im hardly alone. According to US News and World Report, 86% of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 over six million people, all told reported problems with their sense of smell, while a similar percentage had changes in taste perception. This is in addition to the 13.3 million Americans diagnosed with anosmia a medical term for the loss of smell related to other respiratory viruses, head injuries, and other causes. For many of us, improvement has been slow.
Also Check: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
People Who Have Covid
Everyone with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate and contact their medical provider or a local center to schedule a test. Many people have mild symptoms, and it will become increasingly difficult to tell whether symptoms are due to COVID-19 once other respiratory viruses such as influenza start to circulate in the fall and winter months. Tests can be helpful to find out if symptoms are due to COVID-19 so you can take precautions to avoid passing the infection to others. Test results can also help to guide your medical care whether you have COVID-19 or another type of respiratory virus.
Talk to your health care provider to find out what he or she recommends. Remember, unless you have life-threatening circumstances that require calling 911 or going to an emergency department, stay home and call your doctors office to discuss your symptoms before going to a health care facility or testing site. This helps prevent the spread of the virus.
Its also important to know that the availability of testing varies by state and local health department. Johns Hopkins Medicine provides tests with a doctors referral and, in some cases, for Maryland and Washington, D.C., residents who do not have a referral.
In areas where testing remains in short supply, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , these groups should be given priority to be tested for COVID-19:
The next level of priority goes to those who:
Loss Of Smell Affects Our Health And Quality Of Life
Our senses smell, vision, hearing, taste, and touch are bridges that connect us to the world we live in, to life itself. Knock out two of the five bridges, and 40% of our sensory input is gone. Senses add richness and texture to everyday life they are intricately tied in with our emotions. The loss of smell or taste might not seem as drastic as the shortness of breath or debilitating fatigue that many other people have experienced post-COVID, yet the impact can still be quite demoralizing. You can no longer smell the familiar scent of your loved ones, or taste your favorite dish. Author and poet Diane Ackerman describes these special tastes and smells as the heady succulence of life itself.
The loss of smell and taste can also affect our health, causing poor appetite and undesired weight loss. No longer able to enjoy food, patients with anosmia may no longer eat enough, or skip meals altogether. It can even pose an existential threat, by putting us at risk in detecting fires, gas leaks, or spoiled food.
You May Like: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
Screening Monitoring And Self
Why am I repeatedly being asked the same screening questions?
It is necessary to be screened both over the telephone or online when scheduling appointments and at the point-of-care each time you go to your physicians office/clinic. While it may be frustrating to answer the same questions repeatedly, COVID-19 screening is essential for the safety of everyone involved, including yourself, health care providers, and other patients.
Will I still be able to be treated if I answer yes to some of the screening questions?
Sharing that youve recently travelled or have been in contact with someone known to have COVID-19 will not mean you will be denied care or treatment it just means that the way care is provided to you may be different to help ensure that you and everyone else involved are protected from exposure to COVID-19, for example, by using virtual care or using the right personal protective equipment . Its extremely important for everyone to answer the screening questions honestly for the safety of everyone involved, including yourself, health care providers, and other patients. If youre an essential worker that travels outside of Canada as part of your work, let your health care providers know this so they can determine the best way to help you get access to health care while you work.
What if Ive been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 but dont have symptoms?
Consider A Virtual Visit
In some cases, you may be able to see a doctor without going in. Many doctors offices are making telehealth — online appointments — more available. If its possible, your doctor may suggest a visit using the computer or phone.
Officials have new rules in place to make telehealth easier right now. For example, Medicare has expanded its coverage of telehealth for many common doctor visits.
So if you have a regular doctor visit coming up that youd rather not cancel, ask if theres a way to do it remotely. If something comes up, like a case of strep throat, that might be something that can be taken care of over the phone, too.
Also Check: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
South African Doctor Who Raised Alarm About Omicron Variant Says Symptoms Are Unusual But Mild
Dr Angelique Coetzee noticed otherwise healthy patients showing unusual symptoms and worries how the new variant might hurt the elderly
The first South African doctor to alert the authorities about patients with the omicron variant has told The Telegraph that the symptoms of the new variant are unusual but mild.
Dr Angelique Coetzee said she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients in her busy private practice in the capital Pretoria started to come in earlier this month with Covid-19 symptoms that did not make immediate sense.
They included young people of different backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a very high pulse rate, she said. None suffered from a loss of taste or smell.
Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before, said Dr Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who chairs the South African Medical Association alongside running her practice.
On November 18, when four family members all tested positive for Covid-19 with complete exhaustion, she informed the countrys vaccine advisory committee.
She said, in total, about two dozen of her patients have tested positive for Covid-19 with symptoms of the new variant. They were mostly healthy men who turned up feeling so tired. About half of them were unvaccinated.
How To Treat Covid
Isolate in your own home: If possible, designate a bedroom and bathroom to be used only by the sick person. The sick person should try to stay only in those rooms.
Keep doors closed: Closing the doors of the sick person’s can limit the potential spread of aerosolized virus.
Limit contact: When possible, don’t visit the sick person even if you live in the same home. Communicate by phone or computer as much as you can to avoid possible exposure.
Wear masks: When a sick person and a caregiver have to be in the same room, both should be wearing masks.
Clean surfaces frequently: Wear gloves and a mask and use disinfecting cleaners. Dispose of cleaning materials, used tissues and other disposables that have come in contact with the sick person as soon as possible.
Keep pets away from the sick person: They could carry the infection on the fur or skin.
Get vaccinated: COVID-19 vaccines are proven to limit transmission and reduce the effects of an infection.
This story comes from Aspirations Journalism, an initiative of The Patterson Foundation and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to inform, inspire and engage the community to take action on issues related to COVID-19 Response.
Read Also: How Much Does A Covid 19 Test Cost At Cvs
Managing Health And Wellness
There are also a number of more routine health care visits that need to continue, even in the midst of the coronavirus. These include:
- routine vaccinations for babies
- a condition that requires regular in-person intravenous or injection treatments, such as cancer or chronic conditions such as juvenile arthritis or Crohns disease.
- a condition that requires a physical examination, like high blood pressure or weight concerns or one that requires a blood or urine test, such as anemia or kidney disease
The Cdc Doctor Says See A Professional If You’re Having Symptoms You’ve Never Had Before
“If you’re having symptoms you haven’t had before, something new following COVID chest pain, difficulty breathing, you can’t get your thinking clearly, you’re just not getting better the way you thought you should, have a low threshold to seek care,” Brooks said during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on May 5, according to CNBCmeaning, don’t hesitate just because you don’t think it’s serious.
On its website, the CDC explains that long COVID includes “a range of symptoms that can last weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 or can appear weeks after infection.” People with long COVID, which is clinically referred to as Post-Acute Sequelae of Covid-19 , have reported experiencing “brain fog” or difficulty thinking, fatigue, headache, loss of smell or taste, dizziness upon standing, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, cough, muscle aches, fever, and depression or anxiety.
And for more how you might react to COVID, check out COVID Leaves This in Your Body Even If You’re Asymptomatic, New Study Says.
Also Check: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs