12Coronavirus outbreak US map for March 19, 2020.
The State Department on Thursday issued a a severe warning to American travelers abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic: return home or seek shelter elsewhere.
President Trump, meanwhile, said the Federal Drug Administration has made “very encouraging” progress in testing potential treatments, though FDA officials couldn’t say when a remedy would be available.
“We slashed red tape to develop vaccines and therapies as fast as it can possibly be done, long before anybody else was even thinking about doing this,” Trump said.
Here’s what else we learned today:
- One New Jersey family has now lost four members to the coronavirus.
Elected officials fall ill
- Two members of Congress have tested positive for coronavirus, Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Utah Rep. Ben McAdams.
- The cases have sparked fears that the illness will spread among lawmakers and that vital virus legislation will be delayed.
- But GOP Senators appeared confident they were close to a deal on sending $1,200 to most Americans to counteract the economic woes caused by the coronavirus.
Coronavirus and the young
- A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says one in five coronavirus patients hospitalized in the US is under the age of 44 — although more older people actually die from it.
- The Red Cross warned of a critical blood shortage caused by the virus and is urging healthy, young Americans to help their country and donate blood.
- It’s no time for spring break. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared the “party’s over” as he announced the state will enforce CDC guidelines to prevent large crowds on any beach in the state.
- Young people in New York City have already begun pitching in, delivering groceries and other supplies directly to the doors of elderly residents.
Put a lid on it
- Starbucks baristas have begun urging the coffee giant to close down stores to keep thousands of workers out of risk from the virus.
- The Bank of America warned that the US economy has fallen into a recession because of the coronavirus pandemic that will make for a “brutal” three months ahead, with lost jobs, destroyed wealth and battered confidence.
- But US stocks stabilized slightly Thursday, closing slightly higher as central banks took additional measures to ease Wall Street’s fears about the epidemic.
Italy’s death toll
- Italy’s fatalities from the coronavirus have surpassed China, with so many dead that soldiers were brought in to haul away coffins and health care workers said they stopped counting bodies.
In New York
- The city’s first drive-thru coronavirus testing facility opened on Staten Island Thursday, with several hundred appointments booked on the first day.
- The head doctor at Rikers Island warned that a “storm is coming,” predicting that the coronavirus will inevitably spread through the city’s vast jail complex unless precautions are taken.
- An Amazon warehouse worker in Queens tested positive for the coronavirus, the first known case among the company’s warehouse employees in the US.
- A 76-year-old Queens man infected with COVID-19 died after being sent home from a hospital to self-quarantine.
And some good news
- Dolphins have been spotted in Italy’s now much clearer waterways, a rare sight as the country grapples with a total shutdown amid a coronavirus crisis.
- Tom Hanks, who has tested positive for COVID-19 along with his wife, keeps fighting the disease: “He’s not great, but still OK,”
Coronavirus: What Happens When You Get Infected?
How Does Coronavirus Attack Your Body?
A virus infects your body by entering healthy cells. There, the invader makes copies of itself and multiplies throughout your body.
The new coronavirus latches its spiky surface proteins to receptors on healthy cells, especially those in your lungs.
Specifically, the viral proteins bust into cells through ACE2 receptors. Once inside, the coronavirus hijacks healthy cells and takes command. Eventually, it kills some of the healthy cells.
How Does Coronavirus Move Through Your Body?
COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, starts with droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or breath. They could be in the air or on a surface that you touch before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. That gives the virus a passage to the mucous membranes in your throat. Within 2 to 14 days, your immune system may respond with symptoms including:CONTINUE READING BELOW
- A cough
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble breathing
- Chills, sometimes with shaking
- Body aches
- A sore throat
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
The virus moves down your respiratory tract. That’s the airway that includes your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. Your lower airways have more ACE2 receptors than the rest of your respiratory tract. So COVID-19 is more likely to go deeper than viruses like the common cold.
Your lungs might become inflamed, making it tough for you to breathe. This can lead to pneumonia, an infection of the tiny air sacs (called alveoli) inside your lungs where your blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide.
If your doctor does a CT scan of your chest, they’ll probably see shadows or patchy areas called “ground-glass opacity.”
For most people, the symptoms end with a cough and a fever. More than 8 in 10 cases are mild. But for some, the infection gets more severe. About 5 to 8 days after symptoms begin, they have shortness of breath (known as dyspnea). Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) begins a few days later.
ARDS can cause rapid breathing, a fast heart rate, dizziness, and sweating. It damages the tissues and blood vessels in your alveoli, causing debris to collect inside them. This makes it harder or even impossible for you to breathe.
Many people who get ARDS need help breathing from a machine called a ventilator.
As fluid collects in your lungs, they carry less oxygen to your blood. That means your blood may not supply your organs with enough oxygen to survive. This can cause your kidneys, lungs, and liver to shut down and stop working.
Not everyone who has COVID-19 has these serious complications. And not everyone needs medical care. But if your symptoms include trouble breathing, get help right away.NEWSLETTERStay Up-to-Date on COVID-19
What Else Does COVID-19 Do to Your Body?
Some people also have symptoms including:
- Liver problems or damage
- Heart problems
- Kidney damage
- Dangerous blood clots, including in their legs, lungs, and arteries. Some clots may cause a stroke.
Researchers are also looking into a few reports of skin rashes, including some reddish-purple spots on fingers or toes.
A few children and teens have been admitted to the hospital with an inflammatory syndrome that may be linked to the new coronavirus. Symptoms include a fever, rash, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart problems. The syndrome, now being referred to as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C is similar to toxic shock or to Kawasaki disease, a condition in children that causes inflammation in blood vessels. We’re still learning about these cases.
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Coronavirus: Adults should take vitamin D, researchers say
The Government should immediately change recommendations for vitamin D supplements as a matter of urgency by urging all adults to take them during the coronavirus pandemic, according to scientists at Trinity College Dublin.
This follows evidence highlighting the association between vitamin D levels and mortality from Covid-19 produced by Dr Eamon Laird and Prof Rose Anne Kenny, who lead the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.
They analysed European adult population studies completed since 1999 which measured vitamin D, and compared vitamin D and death rates from Covid-19.
The pivotal role of vitamin D in fighting viral infections is known but it can also “support the immune system through a number of immune pathways” involved in fighting Covid-19, they conclude in a study published in the Irish Medical Journal.
The correlation is so strong taking vitamin D should be advised immediately, Prof Kenny said. This was because vitamin D deficiency was common among those at risk of Covid-19 (particularly older people); there was no toxic risk from taking it at the recommended dosage level, and growing evidence of benefits.
Last week, scientists at Northwestern University in the US found those with severe vitamin D deficiency were twice as likely to experience Covid-19 complications.
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