At Frost Science, science education is always at the forefront of our thinking. In times like these, science is more vital than ever. Although we may be temporarily closed, we continue to stay committed to sharing the power of science with our community. Through this new Frost Science@Home series, we will be sharing educational resources, videos and behind-the-scenes content. In this first blog post, we are addressing the unprecedented COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. Below you will find a Q&A with leading local experts along with links and resources for you and your family.
What is COVID-19? When and where was COVID-19 discovered?
Jose G. Castro MD, Infectious Disease Specialist, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine: COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel virus called: SARS-CoV-2. This virus and the disease it causes emerged in China at the end of 2019. By March 11, 2020 it was officially declared a “pandemic”.
Note: The World Health Organization declares a pandemic when a new disease for which people don’t have immunity spreads around the globe beyond expectations.
What makes this different than the seasonal flu? Is that the same thing as influenza?
Dr. Castro: This is a new virus and because of that there is no prior immunity from a similar virus. Preliminary data suggest that this virus is more lethal than influenza (about 10 times more deadly). There is a medication that can treat influenza as well as a vaccine. Infectious Disease Specialist, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine: COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel virus called: SARS-CoV-2. This virus and the disease it causes emerged in China at the end of 2019. By March 11, 2020 it was officially declared a “pandemic”.
There are other coronaviruses that exist among us, why has COVID-19 been so concerning?
Dr. Castro: There are other coronaviruses, some cause mild disease, other severe diseases such as SARS or MERS. This virus has proven to be very contagious (more than SARS or MERS) as evident with the rapid dissemination throughout the world at a very fast pace.
What are the primary symptoms?
Dr. Castro: Primary symptoms are similar to the flu: fever (can be very high), cough and shortness of breath.
What is the treatment like?
Dr. Castro: Currently, there are no specific medications that are effective to treat this infection. Treatment is mostly supportive (treatment of fever, hydration, etc.). In severe cases (patients that develop respiratory failure), they will also need to receive respiratory support (mechanical ventilation).
RESOURCES & TIPS FROM THE OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (MIAMI-DADE)
*As this is a very fluid situation, always click on the links for the most updated information. Frost Science will do its best to update this page as updates are made available.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently published a guide to address what individuals can do to prepare their communities, families, school and workplace. The guide is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf
The CDC has issued several travel health notices for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic:
- Level 3 Warning (Avoid Nonessential Travel) for China, Iran, South Korea and Europe, including the UK and Ireland.
- Level 2 Alert (Practice Enhanced Precautions): This is a global notice.
The CDC notices are posted at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
The U.S. State Department advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad at this time due to the global impact of COVID-19. Multiple continents throughout the world are currently experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action to limit traveler mobility, including quarantines, and border restrictions. Complete details on this notice is available at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html
The CDC and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) have recommended several steps to protect yourself, which include the following:
|1. Clean your hands often:|
|Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.|
|If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.|
|Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.|
|2. Avoid close contact:|
|Avoid close contact with people that are sick.|
|Put distance (at least six feet) between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, which typically includes:|
|People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:|
|● Heart disease|
|● Lung disease|
|3. Steps to take to protect others:|
|Stay home if you’re sick except to get medical care.|
|Cover coughs and sneezes:|
|Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.|
|Throw used tissues in the trash.|
|Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.|
|4. When is it appropriate to wear a face mask:|
|If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.|
|If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask).|
|Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers whenever possible.|
The CDC has published complete guidance on the COVID-19 which is available at:
Individuals in Miami-Dade County who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should call the FDOH at (305) 324-2400. This should be done prior to traveling to any medical facility or doctor’s office. FDOH Epidemiologists will be available twenty-four hours a day / seven days a week.
The Florida Department of Health has also established a 24-Hour Call center to answer questions on the COVID-19 pandemic. The toll-free phone number is 1-866-779-6121 or email them at: COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org
Please see below for additional up-to-date information:
Miami-Dade County Government Coronavirus Website: http://www.miamidade.gov/global/initiatives/coronavirus/home.page
Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Website: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/?fbclid=IwAR2lNnIRbgwoy2yk_ACdIIAwDN6u6CAbKsYPS8zy4MSMCbJYhNw5wSCiTd8
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
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NPR’s Life Kit Podcast: Coronavirus and Parenting: What You Need to Know Now (posted 3.13.2020)
Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
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