Friday, October 9, 2020
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The Villages

What we have learned so far from COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Gabe Mirkin

Infection with COVID-19 comes primarily from breathing air in indoor spaces where people with the coronavirus have been, and the more virus you breathe in, the more likely you are to become infected.
Some people appear to be super contagious, and we don’t know why. Talking louder, breathing harder, yelling, sneezing or coughing spreads more virus particles over wider spaces.
Symptoms appear in this order: fever, cough, muscle pain, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea (Frontiers in Public Health, August 17, 2020).
A person can be contagious without having any symptoms, and about 20 percent of infected people have no symptoms.
Virus particles settling on surfaces of objects (called “fomites”) such as countertops, doorknobs, telephones, elevator buttons, furniture or clothing, do not appear to be frequent sources of infection (Lancet, August 2020, Volume 20).
The FDA has approved a saliva test for rapid testing for COVID-19.
Children are just as likely as adults to become infected.
Masks reduce virus exposure, but do not completely prevent it. Considerate people wear masks in public places.
Infected people are most contagious just before they develop symptoms, and they are contagious for an average of 10 days after they develop symptoms.
Earlier tests incorrectly told us that people were still contagious long after they stopped being contagious, because the tests picked up dead virus particles that could no longer cause infection.
COVID-19 causes clots that can cause damage anywhere in your body (brain, nerves, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and so forth).
The same immune response that you produce to kill the virus can rush into overdrive and attack your own body. This is called “cytokine storm.”
Some people remain sick for months after they first develop an acute infection, even though they are no longer contagious.
We don’t have a vaccine yet, but almost 200 vaccines are being developed and tested. Some companies are already producing millions of doses of their vaccine, with the hope that it will be approved and they will be able to move immediately into its distribution.
So far, we know of no serious mutations of the virus that cause more severe disease.
Researchers do not yet know how long you will be immune once you have been infected or have received a vaccine. Life-long immunity is not expected.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a Villager. Learn more at www.drmirkin.com

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