I compiled this Covid-19 disease information for use by family and wanted to share it with others, especially for those of us in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area. I retired from a public health career, and used those skills to find current information from relevant sources. Please inform yourselves and take care.
As of October 12, 2020 there are 172,059 known cases and 5462 deaths from Covid-19 in Louisiana.
[From 6 months prior- As of April 18, 2020 there were 23,580 known cases and 1267 deaths from Covid-19 in Louisiana. The death rate here in those 70 years or older is now at 19.6%. Black people make up about 33% of our population, but their current death rate is 59.29% (per the State Department of Health). Go here for an article about the national high mortality rates among black people.]
What are coranaviruses? Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory syndrome diseases such as MERS and SARS (and now Covid-19).
What is Covid-19? Covid-19 is the name of this viral disease, first found in humans in December 2019 (so no one in the world has antibodies to it). The virus that causes this disease is SARS Cov-2 (or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2). The 2003 SARS virus (SARS CoV) is related to this one genetically, but the diseases they cause are quite different. SARS was more deadly (9.6% fatality rate) but much less infectious than COVID-19.
Isn’t Covid–19 just a flu? Influenza is not caused by coronaviruses. While both diseases can cause pneumonia in severe cases, severe cases of Covid-19 pneumonia can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which can require prolonged mechanical ventilation in a hospital. This equipment is in short supply, especially in the US. The current mortality rates for Covid-19 are from 10-30 times greater than that for influenza. Flu illness that results in hospital admissions is spread out over a long period of time (3-4 months) compared to Covid-19 which is sending patients to hospitals in 3-4 weeks.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. (These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.)
It may [emphasis added] be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented [note: yet]. Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. There is interim guidance on cleaning homes.
Is Covid-19 circulating in the New Orleans area? Yes, we have community spread of Covid-19 in and around New Orleans.
Won’t Covid-19 go away when it gets warm? Covid-19 is not caused by a cold virus (which is affected by the seasons), nor is there any information yet for how weather will effect this new Covid-19 virus.
Who is most at risk for severe illness? Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. CDC general guidance states this includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
However, the CDC Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) under ‘Clinical Management & Treatment’ states- “Possible risk factors for progressing to severe illness may include, but are not limited to, older age, and underlying chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, cancer, heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, renal disease, liver disease, diabetes, immunocompromising conditions, and pregnancy.” [Emphasis added.]
Also see CNN’s very good compilation of questions and answers.
CDC HEALTH INFO
NEW- CLOTH FACE COVERINGS– when and where to wear them, how to use, make, and clean (launder)
SYMPTOMS- Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
WARNING SIGNS – If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately
- Clean your hands often (minimum 20 seconds with soap and water), and do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- COVID-19 is spreading in our community, so avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people – this is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Take steps to protect others by- staying at home if you are sick (learn what to do if you are sick); cover coughs and sneezes; wear a face mask if you are sick and around other people; and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
National Covid-19 page- CDC – very good information [Note: their count of US cases is behind and inaccurate. Go to the LA Dept of Public Health page for our stats.] The White House states that CDCgov has and will continue to post the latest guidance on #COVID19. #coronavirus.
LA Dept of Health– good count & locations of LA cases, otherwise not very up to date. Dial 211 or text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 for the most current information about the outbreak as it becomes available.
City of New Orleans– good info. Their Assistance for Residents page includes utilities, housing, unemployment, crisis counseling, etc. New Orleans will open drive-thru coronavirus testing– New Orleans is one of four cities chosen for a pilot program by the federal government offering drive-thru testing for people that meet the criteria for testing and are most at risk.
Harvard Global Health Institute: Covid Risk Levels map & dashboard
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases (CSSE- Johns Hopkins University) – international map of cases
Cities & Parishes– check to see if they set up resources
Coronavirus Can Live in Patients for 5 Weeks After Contagion – China detected the viruses RNA in respiratory samples from survivors for a median of 20 days after they became infected. So a period of social distancing may be even more important.
Note: research is ongoing