COVID19 update March 15, 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
COVID19 update March 15, 2020
Cold viruses have been circulating in the human population for millenia. We treat it like some enemy plot. Some believe that it is a symbiotic relationship. It was romanticized in the classic film "war of the worlds", where the simple cold virus saved us from alien invasion. We have all inherited the genetics needed to allow our immune system to handle the virus. It is far more effective than any drug or vaccine. What has not been publicized enough is that pretty well ALL people with mild to even severe symtoms survive. They dont need to clog the health care system. Grandma's advice of using acetominophen for fever and pain, hydrating, using mentholatum to unclog nasal passages, lozenges for sore throat and eating very healthy, works very well. It is only the critical cases that need to go to hospital. They have developed severe pneumonia, that compromise breathing making all activity difficult, and usually require ambulance transport. The number of these in Canada can be counted on your fingers. The coronavirus numbers are starting to support the notion that it is a slightly more severe cold. Testing has been reserved for severe cases, contacts, and the odd politician or wealthy celebrity. Using this data, the death rate was thought to be anywhere from 4-9%. New data suggest that like cold viruses, the numbers of cases are much higher, recovering well and not getting tested. The death rate of about 2% is probably limited to the severe and critical cases. As more testing is done, it keeps dropping and will probably be less than 1%.
My colleagues at the CDC suggest that it is circulating in the population, i.e. pandemic. Like most new colds, between 40-70 % of people will acquire the virus, immunologically process it and move on within the next year. The term prevention is misunderstood. The current measures being employed are not aimed to erradicate it, but to "flatten the curve". This is an epidemiological term that refers to new case rate. Basically, our medical resources are far more effective at treating a trickle of cases over a year than a deluge suddenly. This is not being explained well enough, and causing a great deal of anxiety and hysteria. In times gone by, whenever a village was being attacked by invaders, it was the young and healthy who went out to face them first and protect the sick and old. We need to do the same thing. Everytime one of us gets the virus and recovers, conveys protection to all those around them, and they can safely look after the others. The current measures will not erradicate the virus, but will make management of the rare critical case more effective.
As of march 12,2020.(exact data hard to confirm) 4185 Canadians thought they had Covid19, and were tested. Only 152 tested positive. Only about 19 needed to be hospitalized. Most of them are recovering. Affects males and females equally, and mostly over 40 crowd. The rest are at home or recovered. The other 4000 probably had a cold or flu. ONE elderly nursing home patient with numerous other illnesses succumbed to it. Testing is difficult and restricted, and officials assume that most cases are milder and recovering without testing.
Canadian Influenza data over last 5 mos. As in other years, this is the main health problem in the system currently, and burdening it.
28,871 laboratory confirmed cases of various A &B strains. Untested numbers far higher. Fewer B types and A more severe and affects mostly older folks. 2136 have been hospitalized, 265 needed ICU and 85 deaths so far, of which 5 are in pediatric age group. 87% have other health problems. Many strain types not in vaccine. Older folks have greater rate of vaccine failure.
Fear is clogging our health system, and the worry is that future response will be difficult. When one world leader makes a poor decision, others are forced to react and the domino effect begins. We have a national program that has been bean counting various flu cases for decades, in the continued hope that we can predict spontaneous mutation results. One of my colleagues with vast experience during SARS cannot see any science behind border closing. If these measures do work, then we should quickly see a decline in flu cases and other infections and have a way to measure it without spending an extra penny.