We are in a new age, with a new normal, with a novel virus we all know as CoVID-19. The corona virus we are familiar with is a Coronavirus that shares its existence with another virus known as SARS. The reason we either don’t know or care about SARS is because SARS, while it was more lethal than CoVID-19, was eradicated soon after erupting into existence. That was accomplished due to the fact that this virus was only infectious when patients were symptomatic. At the time, quarantine was the only treatment needed to contain that particular virus. If you had a fever, you were quarantined. So the end resulted in extinguishing the virus by isolating the patient. Only 8,000 cases developed and it no longer is a problem to humans.
CoVID-19 is a less lethal virus than SARS but possesses a Stealth feature. It can manifest in asymptomatic individuals who remain infectious during their illness and has an infectious period while the patient is incubating the illness, and before symptoms occur. That is the reason more is needed to control it.
By now we’ve all heard about isolation, social distancing, hand sanitation or washing and PPE. These measures will control the spread of CoVID but are unlikely to eradicate the virus forever. Vaccination also may or may not provide the solution. We all hope it does but this virus can mutate and mutation can decrease the effectiveness of any vaccine. We experience this with influenza vaccinations every year.
Allow me to reiterate what works with this virus:
- Quarantine or Isolation
- Frequent Hand Washing or Sanitization
- Social Distancing
- Cover your cough with face mask.
The use of face masks really works but maybe not as you would think. While we don’t want to “catch the virus”, the face mask protects other people from getting your droplets onto them. Your droplets may or may not contain the virus, but others are much less likely to get infected from you if you wear a mask. The mask barely protects you from getting infected by others. However, if everyone wears a mask in public, then you’re protecting others and they are protecting you. Staying home as much as possible is best, but if you must go out, then hopefully everyone is protecting everyone else. If you see someone, and they are not wearing a mask, then distance yourself from them by at least six feet.
Testing has become paramount in determining who is positive and a risk to others. There are the nasal swabs or PCR tests where the virus is detected in the naso-pharyngeal passages. This test is best indicated in the incubation period or active phase of the disease. A newer immunoassay has been developed that can determine if you have acute disease ( IGM ) or have had it in the past ( IGG ). At this time we simply don’t know if every person exposed to CoVID-19 is immune. Time will tell. In the meantime, MAYO Clinic has just developed a new test to determine if your immune system has a neutralizing antibody against the virus. If you possess this antibody, you’re immune.
We wish everyone a safe passage through these turbulent times. At MedOne we have expanded our dedication to the community by offering both PCR and immunoassay testing at our clinic. If you fear exposure, have been exposed, or are suffering symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, headaches, confusion, nausea or other GI symptoms, please drop by for testing and diagnosis. If positive, quarantine is indicated with supportive care for symptoms. If you do need testing, it mandates a minimum of two days quarantine until test results clear you of CoVID-19. Either way, you know where you stand very quickly, and can take appropriate actions to protect your family, friends, and our community.