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Coronavirus Explained: How COVID-19 Works


I up a quick update about what's on everyone's minds the corona virus pandemic just this afternoon the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a press conference with the deputy chief medical officer and the Secretary of State for housing communities and local government. That's Robert Generic. Here's some of what he had to say. Well thank you. Prime Minister good afternoon as a nation. We're confronted with the need to make big changes and enormous sacrifices to our daily lives and this is especially true today on Mother's Day when many of us would want nothing more than to be at home with our loved ones in person and so today we have to go further and shield the most clinically vulnerable people to help save their lives following the chief medical officers guidance the NFL has identified up to one and a half million people. In England who face the highest risk of being hospitalized by the virus? The Jess will be contacting these people in the coming days urging them to stay at home for a period of at least twelve weeks robot. Jim Rick the Secretary of State for housing communities and local government talking the Prime Minister's press conference softening from Downing Street will also with us here on the naked scientists. Is Dr Lori Ercole? He is a consultant in intensive care. Adam Brooks Hospital and are one of the things that was alluded to. They're the people who are most at risk in the population. Y All these people most at risk. What's different about them? I think it's very important to realize that. The Corona virus in most people causes quarter mile disease. Now it's still important because these people are infectious hence the plans for social distancing but most people expected to get better from this this disease without any ill-effects however some people do go on to develop a viral pneumonia. That's inflammation of the lungs and when it's really severe that can prevent the the patients from getting oxygen from the outside world into their bloodstream. And in really serious cases that might mean that they need to go to the intensive care unit to be Mechanically ventilated on life support machine. Unfortunately a lot of these people end up not surviving at the end of this process. Now as it turns out from the data that we're getting from China and from Italy. The virus seems to be affecting particularly the older patients and patients with little bits of the patients that disproportionately are having the severe disease and in the apple intensive care and not surviving. What is it? You've been modeling so one of the things that it's important to remember lies about intensive care is that it's not easy just to create intensive care beds are intensive care units that are specialised areas and in the UK. They run it. Typically eighty percent often ninety one hundred percent bed occupancy so there isn't a lot of room to admit new patients more patients such as patients with corona virus. So if we're going to deal with this pandemic we're going to have to think about creating new intensive care beds and unfortunately that's not something that's easy to do. It can be done but it takes time. So for example he won't take ventilators from operating theatres. You need to move the need to train the staff you need to make sure all the consumables available. It's not an instant thing at all. So really what need is an early warning of exactly when it is that the pandemic is like take hold intensive care and that's what we tried to do with some of the early data. What exactly are you doing that? Data and what does it reveal? So we've taken cases as they appear actually in real time every day and try to model what that means for the number of patients going into intensive care and thinking about how long they will stay there. We can get an idea of how many patients at any one time alight being intensive care. Because it's not as simple as just saying. Oh we're going to expect this number of patients on Tuesday therefore will have that number of beds ready because they don't just leave on Tuesday. They come in and they stay awhile now exactly and some of them say distribution of time so often about seven days but maybe up to fourteen days maybe less. It depends on the patient. Does that mean then that those I don't WanNa call them lucky people but will get potentially a bed but then anyone who comes afterwards may not get one. Because you've got these people don't WanNA use the phrase bed blocking either but you've got people who are occupying those high-intensity beds and then okay anywhere no exactly and that's the one situation. We don't want to end up where we run out of insulators. So it's actually crucially important that we have enough capacity to deal with the the surging cases when derives and how much capacity do we have. And what do we anticipate in? The reality is going to be in terms of numbers of cases the moment in the UK. We have something like four thousand intensive care beds. We're on the lower end of what's available in countries in Europe. Now if I say that most of these but h center these are occupied at any one time at least then maybe we can create another twenty percent capacity but once we hitting about twenty percent of the number of beds of patients with Corona virus. We're going to be in trouble with the number bed so we normally have. Yes because if eighty percent of four thousand that means you've got twenty percent capacity leftover that means you've got you know hundreds as in about eight hundred beds in the entire country then and we're anticipating how many cases. Well it's difficult to know but we certainly going to have to multiply that total number intensive care beds that we have available at by several times. Therefore it doesn't seem that unlikely the We're going to exceed easily the capacity that we can deliver knob -solutely and in fact our model suggests that we're probably reached that pinch point to percent within a week or two to really really early on after that things are likely to grow exponentially for period of time so actually things are going to get really bad quite quickly if the assumptions point model around. And let's assume you are right. What preparations have you got in place? To try to mitigate some of that impact so I think the good news is the an awful lot of Istar for being working really really hard for some time now to try and come up with ways and strategies of creating more capacity but I think the really crucial thing is that we keep the efforts open because actually if our models correct the peak might really be very close to hand. Do you assume then that some people who are working in. It you continue to a canal. It you have you taken into account the fact that doctors light you are probably amongst the most exposed clinicians here may will therefore be lost to the service absolutely in fact. That was the experience in Italy. That's been particularly hard. Hit One of the things we're trying to do is find more off because of course one of the problems is it's not as creating a bed with a ventilator you need sought actually look after the point of course you do have to factor in the some ill with surly a huge amount as workers being done on that and the beds are becoming available. But it's agent now oracle consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Bruce Hospital Cambridge. Thank you very much now. People have had a lot of questions obviously about the corona virus and there's certain themes that keep coming up and Chris as a religious answered a fair few questions yourself. I thought it would be a good time to ask you now. First off is actually true that you're at high risk. You Take Ibuprofen. This story emerged. We think because someone from the French Ministry of Health made a statement. Saying you shouldn't take Ibuprofen if you've got this disorder and the problem is once you've made a statement medically is very very hard to roll back from that and now people are are being very cautionary about it but there is no evidence at all the people who use ibuprofen in the context of this and all the viruses are at any greater risk specifically with this one and therefore if you already own. Ibuprofen. I certainly wouldn't change what you're taking if you're about to start taking some anti inflammatory drugs for instance you have a high temperature and you won't slow them. Paracetemol is an excellent drug. That is actually bitcoin till stomach can has fewer side effects of ruled than beaupre fence. So that would be a good start a drug. But I certainly wouldn't. If you only had Ibuprofen you were feeling pretty rotten issue using Ibuprofen just because you've heard these headlines if you have no other contraindications to using it you don't have been told by anyone not to use it in the past. You're probably going to be fine okay. No evidence for risk of ibuprofen. What about if you're pregnant? Are you high risk? Is your baby at higher risk. Okay the good news here and it's nice to have some good news around. The Corona virus outbreak is that there is again no evidence that women who are pregnant are at higher risk during their pregnancy compared with someone of the same age and other risk profile from them. Who's not pregnant? The only exception to this is that we know that when someone's pregnant in the first part of their pregnancy. So that's the first trimester the first about Twelve weeks there is any kind of infection or any kind of problem that you might get to health that causes this associated with a high temperature. There is a slightly higher risk of a bad outcome till pregnancy. It's a small risk of the same but therefore if you can avoid catching this because being pregnant is respect for that happening that would be a good idea but the when the chief medical officer said that. We're going to regard pregnant. Women is in a high risk category alarm and lots of people. But that's just because we're being very cautious. It's not because there's evidence that there's any risk of harm and the other good piece of news is that there's no chance that this virus can jump across the placenta which is the connection between the mums bloodstream. And the baby's bloodstream doesn't cross that barrier therefore it doesn't the baby when it's inside the mum and there's no risk of doing developmental damage to the baby

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