March Sadness

COVID-19 changes life as we know it

by Curran McLaughlin and Mirror-Reporter staff

The past week saw the escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak when the World Health Organization declared the disease as a pandemic on March 11.  With that event, information flow has been constant as this fluid situation continues to change. 

In the March 17 daily report the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health reported that no cases have been confirmed in any northern Iowa county.

The information below is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.

Information is updated regularly on their websites cdc.gov and who.int. Please keep in mind that the information provided in this article can and likely will become outdated as researchers and medical professionals learn more about this new disease.   It’s advised to keep up-to-date on the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

This is the first pandemic known to be caused by a new coronavirus, according to the CDC. Data gathered on pandemics have been from influenza-based illnesses, but the research and guidance formed through previous pandemics can be applied to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus disease 2019: 

The outbreak which has been commonly referred to as “coronavirus” is caused by a new coronavirus named “SARS-CoV-2” the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” abbreviated as “COVID-19.”  

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. 

Reported cases of the illness range from very mild to severe, with some cases reporting no symptoms and some cases resulting in death. 

Severe cases are more likely to develop in older individuals and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

Symptoms, which appears about 2-14 days after exposure, include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If emergency warning signs develop, contact your health provider’s office promptly. Those arriving without notice to an urgent care or emergency facility may spread the illness to others. You will likely be directed to the nearest drive-through testing center if you meet specific criteria such as the following, and/or have recently traveled to an area known to have COVID-19 community spread.

• Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.

• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.

• New confusion or inability to arouse.

• Bluish lips or face.

• A fever along with any of these symptoms.

Source and spread

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common among people and many species of animals such as bats, cats, camels and cattle. 

SARS-CoV-2 is one of the rare coronaviruses that can spread between animals and humans.

It is a betacoronavirus, which has its origin in bats.

The first case detected was in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and has been identified in over 100 locations internationally. 

Many patients in the Wuhan, China outbreak had some link to a large seafood and live animal market. 

A growing number of patients had reported no contact with these animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. 

Some locations including parts of the United States now have ongoing community spread, which means patients are unaware of how or where the exposure came from. 

It is thought that the virus is spread mainly through person-to-person contact within six feet of each other and through respiratory droplets produced from an infected person’s cough or sneeze.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.

The virus appears to spread easily.

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