The Latest on the Coronavirus: Pandemic Spread, Prevention and Treatment

Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is marching on world-wide and has been reported in all U.S. states and territories. In some states, including Washington, New York, and California, the virus is now spreading in significant numbers from person to person. The worldwide number of confirmed cases has surpassed 1,000,000 on April 3 with 55,132 confirmed deaths.

The virus, which scientists believe jumped from a bat to humans through a Chinese wildlife market, is filtering into the South and Midwest regions of the U.S. as well.

But there’s good news: Health experts are making progress in pinpointing how the virus is spread. From Seattle to New England and around the globe, research hospitals are testing a range of new treatments. And a clinical trial to test a new vaccine in humans has already begun.

The Latest on the Coronavirus and How It’s Spread

  • Coronavirus can stick to hard surfaces like stainless steel and plastic for days, although it’s less likely to infect people this way. It deteriorates on cardboard in about a day, which is reassuring if you’re stocking up on food and supplies online.
  • The main way the virus spreads is through droplets when people cough or sneeze. These are inhaled into the throat and lungs of those around them. The bigger droplets tend to fall to the ground pretty quickly. But a new study shows that smaller droplets can hang in the air for about 30 minutes before settling on surfaces.

That’s why the U.S. government has recommended that you limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer. In a large crowd, you’re going to be exposed to more airborne droplets. If you can’t avoid a crowd, keep a 6-foot safety buffer from those around you.

And of course, frequent handwashing for 20 to 30 seconds remains the first line of defense.

Drug Treatment Remdesivir the Frontrunner

Academic labs are scrambling to find treatments to prevent the virus or ease the symptoms. The main symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

  • The first U.S. person to catch Covid-19 came from Washington State. It’s fitting that Seattle is staging the first clinical trial to fight the virus. Test subjects have already been injected with the drug remdesivir, which has shown potential to battle coronaviruses and Ebola.
  • A study of an H.I.V. treatment called Kaletra is ongoing to see if can ease early symptoms, although so far it's not proven effective for more advanced syptoms.
  • The cheap malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) might keep the virus from invading human cells.

The Race for a Vaccine

Because there’s no treatment yet for Covid-19, the best hope is a vaccine. It’ll take at least a year to complete safety trials, but some companies have already jumped the gate. Here’s the latest on the coronavirus vaccine tests:

  • Moderna Inc. has begun phase I testing of a vaccine that directs the body’s cells to produce a virus-fighting protein
  • Injecting virus antibodies into the patient to fight the vaccine is the approach of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
  • Inovio Pharmaceuticals is working on a vaccine that uses cutting-edge DNA to trigger an immune response in the body

Relief from Pain and Fever

While the world awaits a cure or vaccine, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or Tylenol for headache and fever. More severe pain may require a prescription of Tramadol or Oxycontin to help manage your symptoms.

A serious illness like coronavirus can lead to serious drug costs, and rxless is here to help.

rxless has a search tool to help you find offers so you can afford the treatment you need.

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