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Covid-19

Coronavirus: How Do We Flatten the Curve?

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 You might’ve heard the term “flatten the curve” when it comes to containing the coronavirus. The term “flatten the curve” in epidemiology is the curve that refers to the projected number of new cases over time. The objective of flattening the curve is to stagger the number of new patients over a longer duration of time. Therefore, healthcare can be accessible to all diagnosed patients without overwhelming the healthcare system, as shown in the chart below.

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In recent weeks, the number of cases has increased across America. WHO has characterized the virus as a pandemic, and now is the time to act. The most imperative thing we can do is try to flatten the curve at the rate that the virus is spreading. Some necessary actions we can take to try to limit the spread of the disease include:

Social Distancing
One way to decrease the number of patients is to practice social distancing. The act of social distancing applies to specific measures taken by Public Health officials to stop or reduce the spread of a highly contagious disease. These actions are aimed to reduce the amount of the virus spreading, and protect those most vulnerable such as people with weakened immune systems and the elderly. Experts recommend that it’s vital to stay at least 6 feet away from others since researchers discovered the virus is transmitted through droplets. When an infected individual speaks, exhales, coughs, or sneezes, the droplets from their mouth and nose travels approximately 3 to 6 feet before gravity pulls them to the ground. Applying social distancing to our daily lives can ultimately reduce the number of people infected.

Containment 
To effectively contain the virus, you must ensure all cases are identified, controlled, and isolated. These steps were carried out by Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong. All provinces intervened quickly by wearing protective gear while locating infected individuals and placing them in isolation. China also conducted prompt tactics resulting in 1,800 teams of 5 people that tracked every infected person, who they were in close contact with, and then placed them in isolation. Performing these actions allowed China to contain the virus without spreading any further across the population.

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The chart above depicts the effects of the travel ban enforced by Wuhan that helped in delaying the epidemic. The bubble sizes indicate the number of daily cases. The top line illustrates the number of cases if nothing is done. The two other lines display the impact if 40%, and 90% of travel is eradicated. This is a model created by epidemiologists since we cannot determine certainty. 

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In the chart above, the top block is similar to the one you’ve seen before. The other two blocks show the number of transmission rates decreasing. If the transmission rate reduces by 25% through social distancing, it flattens the curve and suspends the peak by a total of 14 weeks. If you lower the transition rate by 50%, then you cannot see the epidemic emerge within a quarter.

The European travel ban authorized by the United States spared a few days, perhaps even hours, but not enough time to stop the virus. Once there are hundreds or thousands of patients infected within a population, preventing, tracking existing cases, and isolating their contacts becomes an insufficient solution. The next step to eliminate the spread of the disease is to move on to the mitigation phase.

Mitigation
The mitigation phase consists of an escalated form of social distancing. These measures include shutting down all kinds of social gatherings such as concerts, businesses, and public places. The severity of transmission from the virus can result in more closures. Just recently, the stay-at-home order was issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom due to the number of cases climbing in the state. Observing the progress in Wuhan by closing down businesses ordering people to stay at home, this is something that can slow the progression of the infection. 

Take Action
The time to act is now by following safety measures set in place from the federal and state governments in the U.S. that can result in recovery, as China has. California has taken steps to contain the virus by Gov. Newsom, issuing the stay-at-home order. If we work together and follow the proper procedures recommended by the CDC, do you think our economy and health could improve sooner than expected? Let us know in the comments! 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-what-does-flattening-the-curve-mean-and-why-it-matters.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm
  3. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/how-social-distancing-works-and-what-it-means-for-you
  4. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/05/science.aba9757
  5. https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca
  6. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/05/science.aba9757
  7. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/20/could-chinas-new-progress-indicate-hope-for-the-future-of-coronavirus/
  8. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/21/coronavirus-update-california-issued-statewide-stay-at-home-order/
  9. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-issues-statewide-stay-home-order-coronavirus-fight-n1164471
  10. https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus
  11. https://www.usa.gov/state-health
  12. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

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Covid-19

New Study Finds Children Can Spread COVID-19 as Much as Adults

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A new study from South Korea has discovered that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread COVID-19 just as much as adults. The extensive study, published by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, states that household transmission of the virus “was high” for those between 10 and 19 years old

Household transmission rates were lower for patients aged 0 to 9. Researchers examined reports for 59,073 contacts of 5,706 coronavirus patients in South Korea between January 20 and March 27. Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told The New York Times that this study is one of the best to date concerning the coronavirus and transmission of the disease.

The results arrive as school officials across the nation determine whether or not to reopen schools for the upcoming year. The South Korean study said that the researchers’ findings of coronavirus transmission during school reopenings emphasize the need for a time-sensitive epidemiologic study to safeguard public health policy.

The study also indicated the effectiveness of contact tracing, especially in light of future waves of SARS-CoV-2, that will rely heavily upon social distancing and personal hygiene as primary factors for preventative measures. Awareness of the role hygiene and infection control measure plays is vital to reducing the household spread, and using masks in the home for family members who are at high risk for contracting the coronavirus needs further research.

Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, told The New York Times, that there will be transmission rates of the virus if schools reopen and include that in plans for preventing and limiting the contraction of the virus. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.health.com/syndication/children-aged-10-19-spread-coronavirus-just-as-much-as-adults-new-study-finds
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/27/young-californians-attribute-in-coronavirus-spike/
  3. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/10/20-1315_article
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ashish-jha/
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/18/health/coronavirus-children-schools.html
  6. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/04/02/is-social-distancing-helping-californians/
  7. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/17/how-to-fix-this-type-of-n95-mask-to-limit-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus/
  8. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/about-us/cidrap-staff/michael-t-osterholm-phd-mph

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Covid-19

Video Laryngoscope Released in the U.S. for Faster Intubation During COVID-19

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Healthcare facilities worldwide are on the front lines during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by providing treatment for patients. Those who are in critical condition in intensive care units need intubation, but this process can be complicated by obtaining an airway precisely. Each patient varies; some can take a minute or more during intubation, potentially leading to fatal consequences. 

Nihon Kohden is launching its NK AWS-S200 video laryngoscope in the United States under the Pentax brand outside the United States. This device is designed to achieve intubation faster and on the first try. Furthermore, the company claims the product “can help protect clinicians while intubating patients suffering from COVID-19 or other respiratory infections”.

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The NK AWS-S20 features a high-definition color display targeting cross-hairs that help deliver the working end into the airway. A functioning channel allows for the endotracheal tube to be pushed while viewing the airway properly. 

There is a built-in-channel to guide the endotracheal tube and continuously observe the intubation process. The video laryngoscope can decrease the risk of oral and pharyngeal injury, such as mild mucosal bleeding and sore throat.

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Nihon Kohden mentioned that the NK AWS-S200  allows healthcare professionals to intubate challenging patients quicker than other competitor’s devices. The company expressed the device can help clinicians intubate patients with even difficult airways in  22.9 seconds, well below the 30-second threshold suggested for intubations and up to 33 seconds faster than other devices. 

Genoveffa Devers, DNP, MSHA, RN, CPHQ, VP of clinical and strategic alliances at Nihon Kohden stated the importance of tools to establish an airway quickly and efficiently as possible for healthcare providers. She added that the NK AWS-S200 video laryngoscope is designed to attain this while maintaining clinicians’ safety by limiting contact trying to visualize the vocal cords and larynx. 

Using the firm’s disposable NK PBLADE blades, which are available in four different sizes, help clinicians reduce cross-contamination between patients and those providing treatment.

In addition, when administering CPR, the video laryngoscope can be used to intubate patients without delaying life-saving treatment. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.medgadget.com/2020/07/nihon-kohden-releases-video-laryngoscope-in-u-s-for-faster-intubation-during-covid.html
  2. https://www.webmd.com/lung/intubation-explained
  3. https://www.nihonkohden.com/

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Covid-19

‘COVID Symptom Study’ App Tracks Various COVID-19 Symptoms

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A new smartphone COVID-19 app that tracks symptoms has gathered information from more than 4 million people worldwide and gives doctors the ability to examine the different symptoms patients are experiencing with the virus. The mixture of various symptoms people are exhibiting with COVID-19 is unexpected.

According to Dr. Troy Pennington of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, there are various forms of COVID-19 symptoms in patients. The application is called the COVID Symptom Study, was designed by healthcare professionals and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, King’s College London and Stanford University School of Medicine, working beside ZOE, a health science company. Users can input their health information and get statistics on those participating around their region. 

Researchers grouped patients into six different clusters. The first cluster of patients are those experiencing mild symptoms who had flu-like symptoms, according to Pennington. The symptoms included body aches, possibly a sore throat, mild shortness of breath, and mostly mild symptoms, but no fever.

The second cluster of patients displayed similar symptoms, but with a fever. The third group of patients included gastrointestinal issues. Pennington added that there was a GI component with mild diarrhea or even an upset stomach. 

The fourth cluster of patients added severe fatigue, while the fifth added confusion as part of their symptoms. The sixth cluster consisted of patients experiencing the most severe symptoms, including abdominal and respiratory problems. This group had all of the common attributes of flu-like illness, but it had a very significant GI component with persistent abdominal pain and diarrhea. 

Pennington stated some of his patients at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center had exhibited even more peculiar symptoms such as unusual rashes and rashes that also looked like hives or chickenpox. Another patient was complaining of number fingers and toes. 

According to the study, the only common symptoms in all six clusters were headaches and loss of smell.

The COVID Symptom Study app has allowed physicians to get a closer look at COVID-19 symptoms patients experience to help healthcare professionals identify and treat patients accordingly. 

Sources: 

  1. https://abc7.com/covid-19-covid-symptoms-coronavirus-is-upset-stomach-and-diarrhea-a-symptom-of/6345955/
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/07/11/pink-eye-symptom-of-covid-19/
  3. https://covid.joinzoe.com/us
  4. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/05/14/how-does-covid-19-affect-the-lungs/

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