UC Irvine Talks on the Coronavirus by Dr. Matt Zahn and a Panel

UC Irvine Talks on the Coronavirus by Dr. Matt Zahn and a Panel

2019 Novel Coronavirus:  Current State of Knowledge and Public Health Response.  Feb. 10, 2020.

Dr. Matt Zahn, Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Control Division of the Orange County Health Care Agency gave a current and highly informative PowerPoint presentation titled 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Update for Orange County.  I put a set of screen shots of his slides from his webcast on α Flickr album.  Some of his other comments follow.

Here are updated links to information sources at the CDC, WHO, and Johns Hopkins.  I present some graphic information from those links in another Flickr album.

Update:  as of Feb. 20, 2020, there are 76,723 cases, mostly in China, centered in Wuhan, 2,247 deaths, and 18,515 recovered patients.  Of the total, 634 cases are outside of China.  

The virus has a lipid membrane, and should not survive well on surfaces.  This is a key aid in protecting us from its spread.  It also seems that it doesn’t attack children.   (A survey of other viruses show that it could last up to nine days.)

Whereas influenza appears in 1-3 days after exposure, the Coronavirus may not appear for 5 days, and doesn’t require hospitalization until 7 days.  Previous coronavirus SARS took 8 days.  The Coronavirus cannot be cleared from until 14 days are past.

WHO warns against using corticosteroids, since they lower the immune system.

Dr. Zahn says that many web messages are false.  (One that was emailed to me said that a local patient visited several malls.)  Another one was that a UCI student was infected.  This is also false.  

Dr. Michael Buchmeier of UCI, Associate Director for Viral Research, said that SARS changed over six months.  The fact that a lot of Chinese smoke, especially males, leads to complications of the Coronavirus.  He also is the Associate Director, Pacific Southwest Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease in the School of Medicine.  

Prof. Andrew Noymer of Population Health and Disease Prevention said that a pandemic meant a worldwide infection.  This one has about a 1% fatality rate.  This is not like the 1918 influenza.

Professor Vladimir Minin in the Department of Statistics, UCI, said that there had been underreporting by a factor of 1.5 to 3.5.  The restriction is effective.  We don’t know if it will be a worldwide problem.  The fact that the virus mutates allows us to get information about the infection rate.

Dr. Albert Chang is the Medical Director of the UCI Student Health Center.  He gave a detailed and calming talk about preparations at UCI.  He has contacts with experts.  The rumor of a UCI student patient is false.  Apparently there is a petition to cancel classes signed by thousands.  (As if!). We follow CDC procedures with appropriate equipment.  Suspected patients are kept in an isolation room.  They are not allowed to wait in a waiting room, but are kept outside until isolated.  Students are screened with questions.  Students and housing are educated and trained, including influenza.

Dr. Shruti Gohil Explained how they prevent infection spread in the hospital.  Protocols have added traffic to China, and are translated into Chinese.  Suspected patients are isolated, and the staff use appropriate suits.  They do this with measles, which is the most infective.  They have supplies and pandemic planning.  The US has 12 Coronavirus cases.

Dr. Alison Holman spoke about hysterical media coverage which increases anxiety.  Sordid media disinformation is really the worst virus.

School nurses are trained for the virus, and community groups are being informed about it.

Some racism has shown up, and occurs whether students wear masks or not.  All racism is condemned, and will not be tolerated.  We have to treat each other with respect.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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