By December 2020, the known global infections with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
had topped 66 million, caused more than 1.5 million deaths, and cases are occurring
in all or nearly all countries.
The nature of COVID-19 disease, a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, made it especially
likely to become a pandemic. It is a respiratory virus that is highly infective
person to person either from airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze, or, but much
less likely, from touching shed virus particles on surfaces where they might live
more than 72 hours. Another characteristic that heightens the risk of COVID-19
spread is the shedding of infectious virus particles before symptoms appear during
an incubation period of 2 to 14 days and during the up to 80% of infections that are
asymptomatic or mild cases. In contrast, SARS-CoV-1 (the coronavirus that causes
a severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS) was more easily dealt with because
it was not highly transmissible until an individual had symptoms.
Information so far suggests that much COVID-19 illness is mild. A report out of
China in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests serious illness, principally
viral pneumonia, occurs in 16% of cases.10 Of about 1,000 patients seen at Chinese
hospitals, 5.0% were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), 2.3% needed mechanical
ventilation for acute respiratory distress, and 1.4% died from respiratory
failure. Older people and people with health conditions such as heart disease, lung
disease, and diabetes are at greater risk of serious illness. Other data from China
and elsewhere suggest that the death rate among hospitalized patients age 80 or
older may reach 15%-30%, whereas children seem to mostly be spared from symptomatic
The case fatality rate appears to be higher than severe seasonal influenza, which has
a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1% but lower than SARS (10%) or MERS
Immunization can help prevent COVID-19 and antiviral drugs can decrease its severity.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.