Coronavirus update: infections reach 600, travel limits for the most vulnerable and can cured patients get reinfected

Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 18:55:20-04

(WXYZ) — An update on the coronavirus. The death toll in the country has risen to 22. And the number of cases has more than doubled over the weekend - with the latest count set at 600 - according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of coronavirus cases definitely soared over the weekend. 70 of those infected had repatriated to the US with 21 cases from the Grand Princess cruise ship, 46 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and 3 from China. The rest are spread across 35 states with New York having the highest number of cases at 142, followed by Washington State at 136 cases and California with 89 cases.

Washington State has the highest number of deaths at 19, with 2 deaths in Florida and one in California.

Question: The CDC has issued guidelines for older adults and those who are vulnerable to the coronavirus, can you explain?

I think these guidelines are very smart and will definitely help protect our most vulnerable population. And that’s older folks and anyone with serious chronic medical conditions like lung disease, diabetes and heart disease.

Now if you fall into one of these categories, you’re at a much higher risk of getting very sick and more likely to have complications. So the CDC recommends that you stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, limit close contact, and avoid anyone that appears to be ill.

It’s also important that when you‘re out in public to practice social distancing – which basically means to keep some space between you and those around you.

Now, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is also recommending that the most vulnerable populations skip long trips and avoid planes and cruise ships. And what’s really important is to start these practices now, and not wait to see if we get any confirmed cases in Michigan. So, be very thoughtful about your movements and that will not only help lower your exposure to germs, but also help slow the spread of the virus. Which will greatly help hospitals from becoming overcrowded and medical staff from getting overwhelmed and overworked as well.

There have been reports that a small number of people are back in the hospital again after being declared cured. Most of these cases are in China. And unfortunately, there’s just not enough research about this yet.

But what’s been reported is that symptoms have reappeared somewhere between a few days or weeks later. Now, we don’t know with certainty if these people were reinfected. It is more likely that they had a relapse.

That means for a short time they had no symptoms. Plus to make things a bit more confusing, there are subtle differences in the way countries handle testing.

For instance, an Israeli man was tested in Japan twice and declared cured. But when he flew home, the test in his home country came back positive. So was he was reinfected on the route home? It’s unlikely, but, we do know that reinfection can happen with other coronaviruses. We just don’t know if that can happen with this one.

Now I know this sounds discouraging, but this coronavirus is still very new and there’s a lot that we still need to learn about it.