What is the Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus (COVID-19 or 2019 novel coronavirus) was initially identified as the cause of a respiratory illness outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Thus far (March 5, 2020) there have been over 90,000 confirmed cases and 3,000 deaths. Most of the severe illness and deaths have occurred in elderly patients or those with underlying medical conditions. The virus has spread beyond China into multiple other countries (most prominently so far in South Korea, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong and Japan). In the US there have been 13 states reporting Coronavirus, 99 confirmed cases in the US and 10 deaths.
How the Virus Spreads
The virus likely spreads (like many respiratory illnesses such as the flu or common cold) through droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. The incubation period (time from exposure to symptom development) is estimated to be 2-14 days. Recovery time from mild disease is about 2 weeks, severe disease more likely 3-6 weeks.
Coronavirus Symptoms and Risk
The disease spectrum ranges from people with little to no symptoms to the very severe illness. Most commonly, patients will have fever, cough, aches, fatigue and breathing issues. Some have headaches or diarrhea. It appears, initially, that 70-80% of those infected will have mild symptoms. Fortunately, for our patient population, it also appears, thus far, that children tend to have milder disease. There are no reported pediatric deaths.
Is the Coronavirus in Colorado?
Currently, there are no reported cases in Colorado, so the immediate risk to the general public here is low. (By comparison there have been 29 million flu illnesses in the US this season with 16,000 adult deaths and 105 pediatric deaths). However, this has potential to change as the illness spreads within and between communities.
Is there information to help explain Coronavirus to kids?
NPR has a created a comic that help explain what the Coronavirus is and is not to children. This fun comic also helps them understand what they can do to help prevent the spread of the virus. You can view the comic here:
How to Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus
The best protection is to remain informed and practice standard preventive measures such as good hand washing, avoiding touching your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoiding close contact with people who are ill.
Isolation masks are not recommended nor thought beneficial outside of a healthcare setting.
When the the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) or CDPHE (Colorado’s public health department) issues instructions, follow them.
If your child is sick with fever and cough AND has traveled recently to areas with high numbers of COVID-19 disease or has been exposed to someone thought to potentially have COVID-19, please inform our triage nurses of that when you call our office at (303) 830-7337.
Have questions? Contact our office or go to:
Link to Children’s Hospital Colorado https://www.childrenscolorado.org/about/news/2020/march-2020/coronavirus/
Link to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus
Link to the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html
Link to The American Academy of Pediatrics https://redbook.solutions.aap.org/selfserve/ssPage.aspx?SelfServeContentId=rbo_outbreaks_page_3