06:52 PM

7 Quick Facts You Need To Know About the Coronavirus

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the coronavirus lately. I thought we should take some time to go over the basics of this respiratory illness, based in China.

  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the current outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
  2. Coronaviruses are a highly contagious type of respiratory virus that will sometimes cause outbreaks in regional areas (if you remember SARS, think along those terms).
  3. Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. The CDC states there are seven different coronaviruses that scientists know of, that can make infect people and make them sick.
  4. A current strain of the coronavirus caused hundreds of cases in China. Symptoms typically are runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever.
  5. Because the virus replicates and causes high levels of infection in the lungs, it can spread rapidly to a large number of people.
  6. Because it’s so new, there’s no specific treatment for coronavirus, but exposed individuals should be monitored for upper respiratory symptoms and worsening breathing problems.
  7. For now, most of us in the U.S. are at low risk for coronavirus, but care should be exercised for anyone traveling to or from the impacted areas of China.

We will continue to monitor the CDC and other health organizations. If there’s something new to report, we will be sure to let you know.

*Image Credit: NIAID

Keeping Things In Perspective

As of today, Friday, Jan, 24, 2020, there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus diagnosed in the United States. Both people who contracted the disease had visited Wuhan, China. You may have read about a Texas A&M college student who recently traveled to Wuhan and is also being monitored for coronavirus. The Brazos County Health Department is waiting to have results back from the CDC no later than Monday to confirm a diagnosis.

So far, there have been at least 26 people who have died in Wuhan, but let’s keep things in perspective.

The CDC estimates more than 34,000 influenza- associated deaths and over 490,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations occur during the 2018-2019 flu season in the United States. As I’m writing this, Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed 14 flu-related deaths for the 2019-2020 flu season, with two more cases pending.

Currently, unless you are returning from China or have come in contact with someone who has traveled there, you have a much greater chance of getting the flu. So please get your flu shot. 

Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at thedocsmitty@cookchildrens.org.

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click here to make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.