A CLOSER LOOK: Coronavirus facts and what we know

A Closer Look

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — There are 22 cases of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), as of Monday, March 16.

The cases are all in central Arkansas: Garland, Saline, Pulaski and Jefferson Counties.

ADH reports 258 people are being monitored in Arkansas.

On March 11, Arkansas reported its first presumptive case of the coronavirus. Governor Asa Hutchinson made the announcement Wednesday morning. The person is in a hospital in Pine Bluff and that the person had traveled out of state.

A presumptive case means it is still awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control, that has since changed to the ADH determining confirmed cases.

As of Friday, March 13, the state had nine total presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas. the governor did not see it necessary to cancel events, including school, but recommended no gathering of more than 250 people. Earlier in the week, he signed an executive order to declare a public health emergency to help coordinate and increase support to state agencies that need to respond to the virus. You can read the Executive Order 20-03 here.

On Sunday, March 15, the Governor announced that schools will close due to COVID-19.

BACKGROUND:

A World Health Organization (WHO) committee declared the virus SARS-CoV-2 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020. The following day, January 31, The secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency for the United States.

The virus is called, “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).”

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) named the new virus SARS-CoV-2 on February 11, 2020. WHO announced the name of the new disease “COVID-19” on February 11, 2020.

On March 11, WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

WHO DATA AS OF MARCH 11:

  • In 14 days, COVID-19 cases outside of China has increased 13-fold; countries affected have tripled
  • More than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, nearly 4,300 have died
  • Ninety percent of the cases are in four countries
  • This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus

WHO DATA AS OF MARCH 15:

  • Globally there are 153,517 confirmed cases; 10,982 are new cases; 5,735 deaths (343 are new)
  • Nine new countries/territories/areas have reported cases: Africa 7, European 1, America 1.

CORONAVIRUS FACTS:

1) Coronavirus symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath; additional symptoms include chest pain and bluish lips or face. The symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed cases.

2) Who is most impacted by the coronavirus and why? Older people and people with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. The CDC did not explain why, but overall a high percentage of Americans are unhealthy. A CDC study shows 25% of people 65 years and older have diabetes. So, if you’re already dealing with one illness getting coronavirus could compromise your health even more. If you are in the high-risk category CDC recommends avoiding crowds, cruise travel and to stay at home as much as possible.

3) How does the transmission of the disease happen? The CDC is still investigating how the disease spreads. Here’s what’s known: it spreads mainly person-to-person, people within 6 feet on one another, respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It’s possible a person touches a surface or item that has the virus on it and then touches their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

4) What do people need to do to stay healthy? Most effective is to wash your hands at least for 20 seconds. If soap is not available use hand sanitizer. This is the best way to stave off infection. If you’re at work, wipe down your workspace. Skip handshaking, a nod or a thumbs up can be acceptable. Overall, avoid crowded places when possible.

5) From SARS to MERS how is Coronavirus similar?

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was identified in 2003. Twenty-six countries were affected and resulted in more than 8,000 cases in 2003, according to WHO.
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS ), a viral respiratory illness was identified in 2012 and first reported in Saudi Arabia. It spread to several countries including the U.S., according to WHO. MERS likely came from an animal source in the Arabian Peninsula. Researchers have found MERS-CoV in camels from several countries.

There are four mail sub-groupings of coronaviruses and a total of seven coronaviruses that can infect humans — such as SARS and MERS. Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. Sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The name comes from the crown-like spikes on the surface, and “corona” is Latin for crown. Again, this virus causes COVID-19 disease.

The CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

6) When does an epidemic become a pandemic? This decision is made by WHO, and that’s what the agency did on Wednesday. The agency has been watching the data and said, “… deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO Director-General.

INTERNATIONAL IMPACT: ITALY DEALS WITH CORONAVIRUS

The entire country of Italy has taken draconian measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus — the country is on a nationwide lockdown as of Tuesday, March 10. It comes in second, after China, for the worst hit. As for its size, if Italy was a state it would the fifth largest by area in the U.S. It has a population of more than 60 million. Most recent data (3/13) reports 15,113 positive cases of the disease, there have been 12,462 total cases. One-thousand-45 people have survived the illness and 1,016 have died, according to the Department of Civil Protection, however, that number is still needed to be confirmed by the Higher Institute of Health. On Monday, March 9, it banned travel for all Italians, if they need to travel permission must be given by police and only essential travel is allowed.

Some additional rules include:

  • Mortgage payments have been suspended, per Italy’s deputy economy minister
  • No socializing; don’t go out
  • Businesses are open until 6 p.m. and people must stay three-feet apart
  • Healthcare workers must cancel their holidays
  • Prisoners are barred from having visitors or have limited time to do so

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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