COVID-19 Information for the General Public

 
How to wear and use cloth
face masks

Manage and reduce stress during
uncertain times 
 
If you suspect you are sick with
COVID-19, take these steps
COVID-19 Projections by State
COVID-19 Texas Case Dashboard
COVID-19 Global Case Dashboard


Amidst COVID-19 Concerns, Emergency Physicians Urge Public Not to Delay Necessary Medical Care

Times of uncertainty raise a lot of questions:

  * What do I do if I have an emergency not related to COVID-19?
  * Can you catch Coronavirus from your clothing?
  * How do COVID-19 symptoms compare to allergies and the flu?
People also want information on things like
creating a family disaster preparedness plan, or how to support physicians.

The American College of Emergency Physicians addresses all those questions and more on a new site created for the general public. Please visit the site for the latest information on Coronavirus.

How Health Care Workers are Protecting Families from Coronavirus  May 5, 2020

Emergency Physicians: Drinking or Injecting Bleach Can Kill You April 25, 2020

       

Message to the public from TCEP President Elect, Dr. Robert Hancock

I know that there is substantial anxiety and uncertainty regarding COVID-19. I know there is a ton of information (and misinformation) out there, so I thought it might be helpful to give a synopsis of what we know:

1) COVID-19 is spread via droplets typically from the respiratory tract (mouth, nose, throat). The droplets do stay in the air for an extended period of time which means it acts similar to an airborne virus. It also can survive on surfaces for extended periods. You can become infected from this if you touch a surface and then touch your face. The best way to prevent this is frequent hand washing.

2) The average incubation period (time from infection to start of symptoms) is 5-6 days but can be as short as 2 days and as long as 14 days. Additionally, unlike the flu, patients are extremely contagious even before they show symptoms. This is the most concerning thing about this virus from an epidemiologic standpoint.

3) The first 8 days of infection are typically similar to the common cold and many people may not even realize they are infected. Symptoms typically worsen from days 8-10 and shortness of breath often develops during this period. Days 10-12 are the most concerning. Most people start to improve at this point, but a small percentage progress to worsening shortness of breath and ultimately respiratory failure.

4) We have learned a tremendous amount of information about treating these patients from social media discussion with the doctors who have seen the most cases in the most affected cities. As a result, we are developing treatment strategies that appear to reduce the number of patients ultimately requiring ventilators.

5) There are multiple drug trials that are ongoing. The data on hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin is conflicting and it is still very unclear if this is an effective treatment. There are multiple antiviral drug trials ongoing that are showing some promise in treatment.

6) Your best defense remains social distancing and hand washing. Wearing face coverings or masks does seem to offer some protection from the virus, as they do catch droplets before they can be inhaled. Be cautious to avoid cross-contamination. 

7) Yes, I have treated multiple COVID-19 patients and I have put multiple patients on ventilators from it. I've been fortunate as I have had very good PPE and to date have had no symptoms of infection.

8) The most important message is that the vast majority of infected patients have only minimal symptoms and recover without any complications. The small subset of patients that worsen can be very unpredictable and do include relatively young healthy people. Your best defense remains social distancing and hand washing.

I hope this helps everyone understand what we do know about this pandemic.

Robert J. Hancock, DO FACEP