My cousin, who works for hospitals as an infection control and prevention specialist, sent this to me today.
Forwarding takeaways from the UCSF COVID-19 town hall this weekend – infectious diseases conference
1. If you’re exposed to COVID, you’re likely to see symptoms in about 2-9 days, with median of 5 days.
2. The common symptoms are acute respiratory distress and fever, often high, which may be intermittent but can be persistent and last over 10 days.
3. Breakdown of cases: About 80% of those who contract COVID only get mildly ill; 14% get hospital-ill, 6-8% critically ill. The mortality rate seems to be between 1-3%, but that needs to be adjusted for age. Mortality is 10-15% over 80, and drops lower for younger cohorts.
4. The bulk of those who fall ill are aged 40-55, with 50 being the median. But being young and healthy (zero medical problems) does NOT rule out serious illness or death; it may just delay the time course to developing significant respiratory illness by about a week or longer.
5. Findings confirm that COVID-19 is spread simply through breathing, even without coughing. It seems unlikely that contact with contaminated surfaces is a primary means of spread: “Don’t forget about hand washing, but if you don’t want to get infected, you can’t be in crowds.”
6. The virus spreads by air and in droplets (sneezing and coughing), but also via fecal-oral transmission. This is where hand washing with soap is key. And try to eat only cooked foods if you didn’t prepare them yourself.
7. COVID likely originated in bats. But for those sharing rumors that COVID came from Chinese people eating them, researchers now believe it went from bats to another animal species before jumping to humans, and that fecal-oral transmission was the likely vector. WASH YOUR HANDS.
8. There are no real treatments for COVID yet. Remdesvir has shown signs of reducing mortality but it is in still in tests, is in short supply and only available under restriction. Steroids, a common treatment for respiratory illness, may make things worse.
9. The terminal phase of COVID is acute respiratory distress, treated by putting patients on a ventilator. We have 160K ventilators in the US. About 1M will need ventilators. Half will die in the first week; survivors stay on for 4 weeks. “We don’t have enough ventilators.”
10. This graphic is scary. Italy is already overwhelmed. Many countries are just days behind Italy on the case curve. The US is actually breaking the curve—because of the Trump admin’s mismanagement of the situation.
11. 40-70% of the US is likely to get the virus. Around 150 million is the UCSF estimate, with a 1% rate of mortality, which means 1.5 million Americans will likely die of this disease in the next 12-18 months. To put this in context: In 2019, 606,880 Americans died of cancer.
12. We are “past containment” at this point, experts say. The massive errors by this administration early on make it impossible to stop the spread—we can only slow it so healthcare can catch up. And no matter what anyone says: We won’t have a vaccine for at least 6 months. All we can do is maintain compassionate care to all!