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Everyday we are reading more about the spread of coronavirus and that a pandemic is on the horizon.  But what does this actually mean for us? Do we need to hide in our basements wearing masks and wait for it to pass up by, or is this a virus with symptoms and recovery rates similar to influenza.  This is the information I have been looking for and wanted to bring you today.  

If you are watching news outlets, monitoring the stock market and listening to friends then you probably think like I do – we are doomed!   But what is reality vs what we may be seeing on TV and the internet? Let’s take some data right from the cdc.gov website:

  1. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.
  2. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death.
  3. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

The CDC informs us the symptoms to look for can include:  fever, cough and shortness of breath. That sounds a lot like every sickness I have ever had so this makes it a little difficult to determine. 

Odds are if you have not been in close contact with someone returning from China, you probably just have that winter bug people tend to get this time of year. 

But take every precaution. Seek medical care right away. In an article on cnn.com by Dr. Colleen S. Kraft she recommends the following to avoid the spread of this virus (and all viruses for that matter):  be intentionally hygienic in public, clean hands with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer. Good hand and face hygiene will protect you from a lot of illnesses including COVID-19.  

The biggest question I have about coronavirus is if I get it, what are my chances?  Current statistics are as follows based on worldometers.info: there are currently 82,588 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide.  Of those infected there have been 2,814 deaths which is about 3.4% and the majority of which has taken place in mainland China.

By comparison in the US alone there has been about 29 million cases of influenza this year causing about 16,000 deaths.  Remember, I am not trying to downplay this virus, rather I would like to ease your mind some and convince you to take precautions.  

Aside from the hygienic approach I do believe you should take some precautions.  Please make sure if you are taking prescription medications you make sure to have an ample supply.  See about doing your regularly scheduled doctors appointments sooner rather than later.

I advise these things because if there is a larger spread in the US we will see medical providers become overwhelmed.  Please be sure your medical affairs are in order prior to this so you have your medications handled and visits completed.  

Just remember the risk right now is low but let’s be cautious and follow where this disease goes.  Remember the media needs to make you paranoid to keep watching so look for information from accredited resources before believing everything you hear.  For questions or other information please go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html