Coronavirus Update: Travel Limits and Reinfection

According to John Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States has jumped to over 800 with now 28 dead from the disease. Over this past weekend, the number of cases soared and cruise ship passengers became infected. Of those infected, 70 have been repatriated to the United States. The Grand Princess cruise ship saw 21 cases, the Diamond Princess cruise ship saw 46 cases, and three patients came directly from China. There are now cases in 35 of the 50 states. New York still has the highest number of cases at 173, followed by Washington State with 143, then California with 139. However, Washington state, not New York has the highest number of deaths from the virus at 23, 2 deaths in both California and Florida, and 1 death in New Jersey.

CDC Guidelines for Older and Vulnerable Adults

The CDC has issued guidelines for older Americans and anyone with serious chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes. I think this is a smart move and will help protect our most vulnerable citizens. Now, you’re at a much higher risk of getting sick and more likely to face complications if you fall into one of these categories. So, the CDC guidelines recommend that you avoid crowds, limit close contact, avoid anyone who appears to be ill, and stay in your home as much as possible. And, if you do have to go out in public, it’s a good idea to practice what they’re calling ‘social distancing’. This means to keep some space between you and anyone else. 

Older and Vulnerable Adults Should Stay Home

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends that those who are most vulnerable to falling ill from the virus avoid planes, cruise ships, and long trips. To protect yourself and help stop the spread of this disease, it’s important to implement these practices now – don’t wait until confirmed cases come to your area. Be very thoughtful about your movements and hygiene practices. Helping to lower your exposure to germs and help slow the spread of the virus will greatly help our efforts to combat coronavirus. It will help minimize hospital overwhelm so they do not become overcrowded, and medical staff does not become overworked.

Reinfection After Healing From Coronavirus

Most of the cases are coming from China, but there have been reports that a few people have been rehospitalized after being declared cured of coronavirus. Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough information on this new infection for what to watch out for. Reports indicate that symptoms reappeared anywhere between a few days up to weeks after being given a clean bill of health. And, it’s actually more likely these people had a relapse than were reinfected. All we know is that, for a short time, they did not display any symptoms. 

To make matters more confusing, there are subtle differences in how countries are handling testing for coronavirus. For example, one Israeli man was tested twice in Japan and declared cured. But, upon returning to his home country, the test there came back positive. So, this begs the question – was he reinfected on his route home, or was the testing in Japan incorrect? It’s unlikely he picked up the disease on the return trip. Though we do know reinfection can happen with other coronaviruses, it is yet to be determined if it can happen with COVID-19. I know this all sounds scary and discouraging, but there is still a lot to be learned about this virus since it is still very new to us. After we get a hold on this initial outbreak, we will have a lot more information and possibly vaccines for the future.

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