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This post is an update and summary on the developing epidemic of Corona Virus Respiratory Disease (COVID-19) in mainland China and world-wide.

Here are the morbidity and mortality numbers updated today – 2-29-20.

  • On 02/29/2020 – a total 86,022 patients diagnosed with the disease. WW.

  • 2,942 patients DIED. 3.4% mortality.

  • RECOVERED patients –39,801.

  • Sixty-eight (68) cases in the U.S. One patient died. 12 cases in Canada.

  • South Korea – 3150 cases; Japan – 241; Italy – 1,128;

  • Iran 593 cases 43 died. 7.25% mortality.

  • Patients are contagious 14-24 days prior to, OR after showing symptoms.

  • Patients can be symptom free then re-emerge as symptomatic!

  • Significantly, a first case of a dog testing positive for COVID-19 documented.

The Chinese central government is technically the only source for mortality and morbidity information in Mainland China. The Chinese government is the outside face of the Chinese Communists Party. The rulers of China report what serves their public relations and political purposes. More reliable sources for information originate in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is more open in terms of freer public discourse.

The numbers cited above are mostly from sources in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Alternative morbidity and mortality data leaked out from sources in Taiwan. These data claim that there are 154,023 diagnosed patients. There are other sick patients who were not confirmed – 79,808. And, there were 24,589 cases of deaths in Wuhan, Hubei Province.

That brings the death rate from Corona Virus Disease in China to a range of 10- 16%.

Again, the larger numbers are information that leaked from Taiwan. On the other hand the larger numbers of cases and death rate are similar to the result of what epidemiologists predicted based on academic research models.

I have cited the medical sources on-line for these numbers on Facebook page @Lendermedical.

Over fifty countries reported infected patients.

During the last four weeks, while following closely sources including the World Health Organization, the U.S. CDC, and free media outlet observations, I formed some opinions which I share below.

First, the internet is rife with theories of conspiracies. I ignore those.

Second, governmental sources of information are not objective and untrustworthy sources of data. The WHO – is a political organization. Its numbers are not to be trusted. India the second most populous country in the world reported only 3 cases. Makes no sense. Indonesia the 4th most populous country reports no disease on its territory. Seems like a governmental cover-up.

Third, the initial source of the COVID-19 contamination may have been at the Chinese institute of biological research in Wuhan. A tank of viral soup could have been spilled by error into the sewer system, and hence spread to the environment.

Fourth, viruses are smart and selfish. Viruses mutate and find their ways to flourish among humans and animals. It’s called Zoonosis.

Fifth, the incubation time from infection to clinical symptomatology varies. It was thought that 14 days of absent clinical symptomatology ensures non-contagiousness. This is not the case. Patients may be diagnosed with Corona Virus Disease, acquire immunity to the virus, then recover and go about their life. It appears now that recovered patients may be re-infected with the mutated version of the virus and thus keep propagating it.

Sixth, the COVID-19 has affinity to lungs. It causes lung damage in the form of alveolar pneumonia. Death ensues in 61% of patients with pneumonia who were admitted to ICU.

Seventh, a vaccine to protect from the virus is months away into the future.

Eighth, it is possible that some currently existing antiviral medications may be beneficial, facilitating patients’ recovery.

In the meantime practicing strict personal hygiene is the best precaution.

Quarantine of sick patients is an effective public health measure. But only to limited extent.

The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections consist of the following:

  1. Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.

  2. Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.

  3. Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.

  4. People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).

  5. Within healthcare facilities, enhanced standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments.

Precautionary steps to protect you – as an airline passenger on a flight are:

  1. Avoid sitting near people with symptoms of respiratory illness.

  2. Take a window seat far from the aisle.

  3. Avoid walking around the plane.

  4. Avoid touching items on the plane.

  5. Use hand sanitizer upon returning to your seat after using the lavatory. Even if you followed hand-washing guidelines, using soap for at least 20 seconds, you may have touched a germ-laden handle or overhead bin afterwards.

I continue to update the morbidity and mortality data on this blogpost as new data is made available.

Visit us on Facebook @Lendermedical and like our page. Or enter: Mandy Lender, MD on Facebook.

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