How Worried is Boise About Coronavirus?
I'm already a little nervous about my upcoming trip and the headlines being generated from today's briefing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn't easy my nerves at all.
During that briefing, Dr. Nancy Messonnier explained media outlets, including NBC News, that the United States is no longer facing a question of if the United States will see the spread of the coronavirus, but when. The agency has become more concerned about the virus spreading here at home after seeing close to 300 cases of it in Italy and close to 100 in Iran.
According to NBC News Medical Contributor, Dr. Natalie Azar, the virus is more contagious than the flu but is less far less fatal than past epidemics like SARS and Ebola. The mortality rate for the flu is 0.1%. It's 2% for coronavirus. SARS was 10% and Ebola was 50%.
However, the CDC sees it as something that could cause disruptions to everyday life as the disease spreads in the United States. If it reaches a pandemic scale, the CDC predicts that you'll see school closures, more people working from home and having to delay elective medical procedures to limit the spread spread of disease from person to person in social situations.
According to KTVB, China has reported at least 77,658 confirmed cases of the disease, resulting in 2,663 deaths. Italy has reported at least 283 cases, resulting in 7 deaths. Iran, who didn't report any cases until last Wednesday, now has 95 confirmed cases, resulting in 15 deaths.
Here in the United States? We reported our first of 35 cases on January 21 and we haven't experienced any deaths. (The CDC recently did a second test for the disease on a man who was found dead in his Boise home shortly after returning from a trip to China. The second test was also negative for coronavirus.)
In Azar's interview with The Today Show, she explained that in normally healthy individuals cornavirus is actually a fairly mild illness that comes with the same annoying symptoms of the common cold or flu: fever, dry cough and fatigue. However, some patients later report shortness of breath and could eventually start to experience respiratory failure. In most cases, it's treated with rest and hydration like other respiratory viruses.
Moral of the story, if you're feeling sick, get to a doctor and figure out what you've come down with. Don't try to just fight it off with a bunch of Emergen-C and chicken soup.
Obviously, there's a lot of information you see circulating around the internet about coronavirus and that's what brings me back to my original question: On a scale of 1-10, how worried are you about coronavirus in Boise?
Taking into account all the research I did on the disease today, I'm sitting at about a 5 right now. I'll admit, I'm a little nervous about coming down with something after being in close quarters on a flight to Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Convention and in a convention center where over 98,000 people are expected to attend the event.
I know myself and I'll sit around for two weeks waiting to get sick (cornavirus symptoms start anywhere between two and fourteen days after exposure)...but then again, I almost ALWAYS get sick after traveling...so 5. I'll keep my paranoia fairly middle of the road for now.
How about you?