The second wave of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is raging, the number of infected in the world already exceeds the June peak of the first wave. As of the third decade of October, more than 43 million people fell ill in the world, more than a million 100 thousand died. In fact, there are more cases and deaths, especially in countries where concomitant diseases (chronic heart failure, diabetes mellitus, etc.) are indicated as the cause of death, and not coronavirus infection. In addition, patients with a mild form of the disease may not take a smear, and in patients with a typical picture of viral pneumonia confirmed by computed tomography of the lungs, a smear comes negative, and they also will not be included in the statistics.
At the moment, more has become known about this disease, and some ideas have changed in comparison with the spring:
The COVID-19 coronavirus can be transmitted from a sick person with symptoms, during an asymptomatic period, and from an asymptomatic carrier.
The likelihood of infection increases significantly with close contact – at family gatherings, parties, hugging, kissing, working in a confined space. That is, for infection, a sufficient amount of viral particles must get to a healthy person. On the street, not in a large crowd of people, the likelihood of infection decreases significantly.
The incubation period is most often 4-14 days, but it can also last one day. Cases of a longer incubation period are most likely sporadic. Most often, the carrier of the virus becomes contagious 1-2 days before the onset of clinical symptoms (if they appear at all).
In 80% of cases, the disease is mild or asymptomatic.
The symptoms of this coronavirus infection are nonspecific, they cannot be distinguished from the symptoms of common SARS or flu: fever, cough, sore throat, weakness, loss of smell and taste.
If in the spring loss of smell and taste were considered specific symptoms of COVID-19, then according to the latest data, they appear in only 20% of patients.
To confirm COVID-19, a swab from the nasopharynx or throat is used with PCR to determine the RNA of the virus. A negative test if a coronavirus infection is suspected does not mean its absence, since in addition to the fact that the test does not have 100% sensitivity and specificity, incorrect material sampling is possible, as well as a small amount of virus in the taken smear.
Coronavirus COVID-19 pneumonia is not visible on X-ray or fluorography, changes are visible on CT of the lungs, while CT does not need to be done for all patients with coronavirus infection, including those with a positive smear, since even CT scanning for signs of pneumonia in a patient with normal health, no shortness of breath and normal oxygen saturation will not affect treatment tactics.
There are currently no specific drugs for the outpatient treatment of COVID-19 coronavirus infection, even if pneumonia confirmed by CT is detected, the treatment is exclusively symptomatic: antipyretics at high temperatures, drinking plenty of fluids, etc.
To monitor the patient’s condition with pneumonia, both on an outpatient basis and in a hospital, pulse oximetry is used – an assessment of capillary blood oxygen saturation (saturation). At the same time, in the United States and a number of other countries, clinical guidelines say that independent home monitoring of oxygen saturation in patients with coronavirus pneumonia has proven itself well, if possible, but this should not completely cancel face-to-face or remote communication with a doctor.
There is currently no vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus; a number of pharmaceutical companies are currently testing promising vaccines on volunteers.
It is not clear how stable immunity is formed in those who have had coronavirus infection. There are confirmed cases of re-infection in the world, but the true probability of getting sick a second time is not yet clear.
The mortality rate from the coronavirus COVID-19 at the moment is about 3-4%, this is higher than the mortality rate of severe seasonal flu, but the data differ for different populations. At the same time, children, adolescents and young adults practically do not die. Mortality increases with age, especially after 65 years, it is higher in people with chronic diseases (diabetes, asthma, hypertension, etc.).
Pregnant women are susceptible to this virus at the level of the general population, that is, they get sick in the same way as others, taking into account age and concomitant diseases.
Wearing masks in public places (shops, hospitals, offices, etc.) with a large crowd of people is effective if masks are worn by everyone, since the likelihood of the spread of infection from healthy carriers and asymptomatic patients is reduced.
If you suspect a coronavirus infection COVID-19 or in case of contact with a sick person, it is better to self-isolate at home and call the hotline of the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection, the Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology, an ambulance, an infectious diseases hospital or a clinic.
Do not be ill!