Who are the coronavirus victims? What to know about the fatalities as the pneumonia-like illness spreads

KQED Radio
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Org this new strain of coronavirus has killed dozens in China and spread to as far as the US from Wuhan where the onus is believed to have originated in originated with animals so listen the clerk you were at SFO earlier this week and talking with passengers as you mentioned and what is what is the effectiveness of airport screenings for an illness that may not show symptoms initially as people are coming in and you know it's kind of after the fact at this point the two cases that we did have in the U. S. are of people who were not at who came through the airports before the screening process took place but but they have been caught if they had come in you know it's it's an open question yeah I think you know the CDC is obviously putting a lot of resources on the ground to do this and would argue that this is an important precautionary measure to try to stop cation cases but as you know the CDC representative that I talked to did say you know not no measure is going to be full proof for sure they may or may not there are definitely some critique critical voices against or not against but but critical of that airport screening is actually going to do much of for example the World Health Organization does not recommend that countries around the world do airport screening because it's not it hasn't been shown to really justify the amount of resources that are necessary to do it and for example these both of these cases maybe at the airport screening was taking place they would have been caught but they might not have been if they you know they might not have been showing symptoms yet so at the airport I think it's important to know they're taking your temperature and they're asking you to fill out a health questionnaire are you coughing do you have fever you know are you having trouble breathing so if you don't if you're feeling fine still but you might be infected but you're just not showing symptoms you could you know potentially get through that screening and in fact people here in another place so I would say you know it depends on who you ask but there's definitely some criticism that it's we're putting too much effort into it we're joined now by Charles Chu is a professor of medicine at UCLA at UCSF he specializes in infectious diseases thanks for joining us on form thank you so let's just get down to basics here what is a coronavirus my understanding is it's the same virus as the common cold it is so curry viruses are a family it's of a family of viruses and they they do belong to a group of viruses that cause the common cold other viruses in this group include rhinoviruses an adenovirus and current viruses are simply a fat family of respiratory viruses that cause respiratory infections what what makes this a little different is our that certain kind of viruses have recently trance have recently crossover jumped over from animals to humans what we call zoonotic transmissions and so some examples would be in two thousand two we had sars coronavirus which was a a species job as well as members kind of virus and and I believe around around twenty eight to twenty eleven of which came from camels and so this is another corona virus it it appears to cause respiratory disease along with other Quinn viruses and but we don't we just don't know where it came from end how dangerous is this virus I mean the number of cases and deaths grow daily is this because it's spreading so rapidly or because existing cases are finally being diagnosed in the numbers updated trust you yeah we we we actually do not know at at this point exactly how dangerous or deadly the virus may be I think it's a bit and part of the reason is that it's still very very early in the course of the outbreak and there has been there have been hundreds of cases yes and and several fatalities based on the early data it does suggest that this does not appear to be as deadly as for instance sars coronavirus or even murders kind of ours and I I believe there as of as of today they're probably took twenty one fatalities and more than six hundred cases I saw that side of Italians meaning patients who are developed the disease and die from it so it does not appear to be as dangerous as prior coronaviruses but it's still very early days actually the numbers that I was seeing were more than eight hundred and twenty six outs at this yes again it just continues to grow so then we were talking with less in the clerk about how they're doing screenings at the airport but what symptom should people be on the lookout for especially if they've traveled to China or other regions in Asia that ours reporting cases yes it's a current affairs infections because a respiratory illness and it's it's just as in any viral flu like illness patients or Invid individuals were infected can demonstrate fever cough nasal congestion in this in a subset of patients in a purple small proportion of patients they may then develop more severe disease chest pain chest tightness and shortness of breath I can develop into a life threatening pneumonia a but it presents initially as any other common cold or viral like flu like illness at less cynical you wanted to jump in I just jump in in the sense that and nationally it looked like it was mostly older people with pre existing conditions who were dying from this this virus and just recently they announced that the a man thirty six years old in Shanghai has has died so it does look like it might be affecting and he was perfectly healthy he died of cardiac arrest a couple hours before the diagnosis so is that increasing the concerned doctor chew in terms of you know how this virus infects people and can affect people who did not have pre existing conditions who were apparently young and healthy I I think it is concerning but and and that was actually the case with for for instance some some other viruses that we scenes for instance the two thousand nine H. one and one pandemic influenza virus where it appeared to disproportionately because perhaps severe disease in in younger people so it's I I I do want to stress so that really is early days and we can't really really can make conclusions about how deadly the viruses I think probably much more concerning to me is the fact that this virus clearly is able to be transmitted from person to person for human to human transmission does that mean it can mutate essentially two or the L. yet this last week regardless of whether or not the the that that the the virus can mutate the greater concern is that the capacity for human to human transmission what that means is if it translates very efficiently it's very it would be very difficult to stop this outbreak it's very difficult to curb the spread of the outbreak or so I I I'm I'm what I'm worried about is that this may be an outbreak that would be very difficult or even impossible to stop and it certainly has that potential if it has really at if it really transmits officially from person to person so even if you have of say a virus that's not that deadly or perhaps only causes severe disease a small fraction of patients if you have millions of people infected it's still results in a large number of deaths from the virus so then do you agree with the world health organization's assessment at this point that this is not a global emergency they have not been willing to declare it so at this point I believe that the World Health Organization is being cautious at this point we we we see the evidence of transmissibility from person to person I believe what the world health organization's looking for those at this of sustained transmission what we describe as ongoing transmission passes initial introduction to a country if there's evidence of sustained transmission I do to believe that will help her position will be will likely to declare this an emergency well Emily I'm not yet yes is there any reason to avoid traveling to Chicago we have plans to travel there next week that's where the latest case has been confirmed in the U. S. should this person avoid that doctor to I I don't think there's any particular reason to avoid travel to to Chicago it's it's it's probably it's it's simply by chance at that we're doing and screening at major airports and and really across the United States that's the CDC is conducting surveillance for the virus I suspect that we will likely have additional cases and they will but they'll tend to pop up where where surveillance is being done and and I know that we we previously had the discussion about whether or not you know airport base surveillance is going to be effective I I do agree with my what what with I do agree with the other speaker in that I believe that it's it may be perhaps too little too late and perhaps not effective but it definitely is an attempt to prevent to prevent a transmission into this country what do you think is the likelihood that this illness will come to California to the bay area if it hasn't already we do have I mean server disco bitter national airport was one of the first airports to have screenings put in place because of direct flights from Wuhan in so there's a lot of questions especially among our listeners about the likelihood that it will be here in the bay area and what can be done for prevention I I think it's it's likely that we may eventually see cases have simply because based on the data from China based on information that's coming from China this does appear to be a relatively contagious virus it is and there have been several examples for instance of what we call hospital choir transmission where infected patients in China transmitted to multiple health care workers we've also seen some exam examples of sustained cycles of transmission in China meaning that someone's infected but then in fact somebody else and in turn affects somebody else so I I I believe that it's only a matter of time before we'll start to see additional cases well is eager asks I was surprised at the coverage on the Seattle individual didn't include information on the airports he visited or even confirmation Hughes the Seattle airport there also wasn't an acknowledgement of this information is being withheld is this normal is this advisable it's interesting lesson the clerk because I understand that one of the things that they were looking at was whether the Washington case that the man had even travel through SFO as on a connecting flight potentially so do we have any more insight into where you know I'm not exactly sure I don't have more insight on exactly where he flew in I think to address both that listeners concerns and the woman who who is traveling to Chicago those people who have come across in who are infected the CDC is monitoring anyone that they have come in close contact with since they have arrived in so they are trying to make sure anyone that that person you know had dinner with their talk to or whatever in the man in Chicago and Seattle apparently had not been contacted very many people and in both of them had live alone except dresser there was a fair amount of kit you know which I say so the service so their surveillance around those people who who have come across to make sure that they're not spreading it some took to relay their concerns must be king also a Charles true about information being withheld there were concerns that the Chinese government is not being as transparent as they should be maybe not sharing information as readily as they could be because of concerns about the previous you know sars epidemic when the Beijing government with held a lot of information initially about it do you think that this time around the government is sharing enough information about the case I do think that things are different with regards to disclosure of verses the what happened in two thousand two with the sars outbreak for instance are in two thousand two there was a lot of information that was that was simply not available for several weeks it but here

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