Update on coronavirus outbreak by Dr. Kroes
This is our 2nd update on Coronavirus outbreak by Dr. Ian Kroes.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has continued to cause significant concerns. As most of you are aware, there are now cases in California, and it is expected that there will be more in the future. As this is a novel strain, it is not surprising that there is significant fear about the potential effects of this virus. I still feel, however, that this will likely end up being something that is within the realm of what we see with seasonal, or episodic viral respiratory infections.
The data from China so far has shown a serious complication rate of about 1-2%. Please keep in mind, however, that this data comes from the people who have a confirmed infection, and went to a hospital. This is the group who went to the hospital because they felt very ill and were then tested and confirmed to have the infection. I suspect that (similar to influenza) there are likely a larger number of people who also had the infection, but didn’t feel that ill, and didn’t ever end up being tested. So the actual percent of people with severe symptoms could easily be much less than what is reported.
So I am hopeful that if the coronavirus does end up affecting a large number of people, it will still likely be a small percentage that will have severe symptoms. As such, I would recommend that people consider this as something like influenza, where as a whole it is a major issue, but the individual risk of serious illness is low.
Also, most viral respiratory illnesses have a seasonal pattern, and it is hoped that this situation will improve with upcoming seasonal changes.
Currently the CDC, local hospitals, and I recommend routine precautions such as we have described in previous communications, (frequent hand washing, not touching your face, avoiding being close to people who are coughing, staying home if you are ill, etc.)
If you were to have fever, cough, or significant flu-like illness, we ask that you call our office, and we can direct you to the appropriate care. Up until now, all testing has been done by county officials and sent to the CDC. This will change in the upcoming weeks, however, as they are sending test kits to local hospitals to do more local testing. As local testing becomes more widely available, I would expect two things. One is that I think we will see an increase in the reported number of cases. The other is that I suspect we will see that there are more cases that are mild, and not causing serious complications.
As always, my staff and I are available to consult with you and evaluate and treat you as needed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. We do not have test kits available to test for coronavirus, but we can still evaluate you for significant respiratory illness, or advise you as to where to go.
I would, however, urge everyone to consider that the individual risk of this illness is still felt to be low.
I will continue to monitor communications by the CDC, Stanford, and other local hospitals, and inform you if I have any further information.
Ian Kroes MD
You can find more up-to-date information on coronavirus on CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html
For more questions on Coronavirus and prevention you can reach out to Peninsula Doctor team, Dr. Ian Kroes and Dr. Patricia Santana. We continue to closely monitor coronavirus in California and the United States and will keep you updated on all changes.