Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Coronavirus around the world

There are many COVID-19 tests in the US – how are they being regulated?

COVID-19 testing

When it comes to COVID-19 testing in the United States, the situation is about as messy as it gets.

The U.S. went from having no tests, or assays, available for COVID-19 diagnostics to having multiple different tests available in a span of just a few weeks. Today more than 230 test developers have alerted the Food and Drug Administration that they are requesting emergency authorization for their tests; 20 have been granted. And 110 laboratories around the country, including my own, are also using their own tests. Having this number of diagnostic tests available to detect a single virus in such a short time frame is unprecedented.

What the coronavirus does to your body that makes it so deadly

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses belong to a group of viruses that infect animals, from peacocks to whales. They’re named for the bulb-tipped spikes that project from the virus’s surface and give the appearance of a corona surrounding it.

A coronavirus infection usually plays out one of two ways: as an infection in the lungs that includes some cases of what people would call the common cold, or as an infection in the gut that causes diarrhea. COVID-19 starts out in the lungs like the common cold coronaviruses, but then causes havoc with the immune system that can lead to long-term lung damage or death.

The Desperate Global Search for Treatments

Workers check on chloroquine phosphate

Habeeb Ahmad went through 2 failed courses of drugs for his COVID-19 infection. And then his family failed to get a third drug, remdesivir, theWashington Post reports.

The 41-year-old ophthalmologist and father of 3 remains intubated and unconscious in an ICU in Long Island, New York.

The desperate search for Ahmad reflects the global efforts to find treatments against COVID-19.

Test, Track, Treat

COVID-19 testing tent in Berlin

Countries that adopted a test, track and treat approach gained an early edge against COVID-19.

Germany jumped to develop a test by January—which, combined with its ample intensive care beds and early embrace of social distancing—could explain why it's seeing fewer deaths than its neighbors, according to the AP. Germany reports 775 deaths and 71,000 cases; compare that to Italy’s 12,400 deaths for 106,000 cases and Spain’s 9,000+ deaths­­­­­­­­­­­­­ and 102,000 cases.

How Can Hospitals Handle the Surge in COVID-19 Cases?

Doctors test hospital staff in a tent

Hospitals facing a possible need for 5X to 10X the number of beds they have. Doctors and nurses resorting to bandanas because they lack masks. Refrigerated trucks outside hospitals holding the dead.

It’s been more than a century since the US health care system has faced anything like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenges confronting hospitals, doctors, and nurses will likely mount in the coming weeks, says Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General and current Distinguished Policy Scholar in Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Even so, Murthy finds encouraging signs of resilience.

Coronavirus myths busted

myths busted

As the coronavirus continues to make the news, a variety of coronavirus myths have sprung up around the novel coronavirus and we address them all here.

The novel coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, has spread from Wuhan, China, to every continent on Earth except Antarctica.

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially changed their classification of the situation from a public health emergency of international concern to a pandemic on March 11.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019): WHO situation reports

Coronavirus outbreak

Situation reports provide the latest updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak. These include updated information on:

  • numbers of infected people;
  • location;
  • actions that WHO and countries are taking to respond to the outbreak.

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