Podcast — 11 Minutes

Episode 11: Coronavirus

Podcast — 11 Minutes

Episode 11: Coronavirus

A special update from Dr. Gwynette

What is the current situation with the coronavirus outbreak? What is expected to happen? What should we do? Dr. Gwynette answers these questions in a special episode of the podcast.

You can follow Dr. Gwynette on Twitter and Instagram.

Subscribe to the ANN Podcast:

Apple Podcast
Spotify
Soundcloud

Dr. Gwynette: Hello, and welcome to the Autism News netWORK podcast. My name is Dr. Frampton Gwynette. I work at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. You can follow me @drgwynette, that’s D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E on Instagram and Twitter, here with a special edition of our Autism News NetWORK podcast today. The topic for today is coronavirus, which is literally everywhere, not only in the news media but also across the globe and now in 90 countries. The reason I wanted to record this podcast is because it is interacting in a peripheral way with the autism community and also because I am a doctor and I’ve been following the story of the coronavirus very closely and also got some really cutting edge information today in terms of how it’s impacting our local community in Charleston, South Carolina. Also, I’ll be providing our audience today with the very latest up to the minute news with regard to the coronavirus.

Dr. Gwynette: So without further ado, let’s get into a couple of topics here about the virus. The first thing is that the coronavirus has come to the United States. It has hit the State of Washington particularly hard. There have now been 10 deaths in Washington State, and the governor has declared a state of emergency there. So, that is certainly some big news that’s happened today, Friday, March 6th. The University of Washington today canceled classes through next week and has asked students to complete final exams virtually for this marking period or this quarter, there are about 59,000 students in the University of Washington system throughout three campuses in Washington State. Also, as you probably know, multiple school districts in the Seattle area have canceled classes for the foreseeable future. So, there’s upward of 100,000 students who are not in school currently in Seattle in an effort to stem the tide of the coronavirus epidemic.

Dr. Gwynette: Washington State has far and away been the state that’s been most impacted in terms of infections, but also all but one death in the United States has happened in Washington State. So, one of the ways that this impacted the autism world is that there is an annual conference called the International Society of Autism Research annual conference, and this takes place once a year, usually in May, and this year it happens to be scheduled for Seattle. I was planning to give a couple of presentations at that meeting, I’ve been watching the INSAR updates very closely because the leadership committee of that conference is entertaining the idea of postponing the conference based on the state of emergency in Washington. So that’s certainly a huge development.

Dr. Gwynette: In terms of our audience wanting to have the very latest information, I wanted to point out a couple of sources. First of all, the Wall Street Journal has been fantastic in terms of its coverage. It has a lot of great data, but also graphics, so you can see how the virus has spread from its origins in late 2019 through Wuhan in China and then across the globe and it now is in 90 countries as at Friday. The authors who are doing a particularly great job for the Wall Street Journal are Jennifer Calfas and Lucy Kramer. They’re really up to the minute in terms of their data in the infections. So just some of the latest numbers that are pretty hard hitting. There have been, I’m sorry, 14 deaths in the United States thus far all but one have been in Washington State.

Dr. Gwynette: We have had confirmed cases heavily in the New York, New Jersey area, as well as some in Northern California and Southern California. So we are seeing an increasing number of states in the United States impacted. Johns Hopkins University is doing a fantastic job of calculating the number of cases worldwide as well as the number of deaths. So, if you follow the Johns Hopkins University data, you can find that as of today, 101,583 confirmed cases worldwide, and there have been 3,460 deaths globally. So this is clearly a global epidemic at this point. Now, in terms of the lethality of this virus, we’re not really sure how deadly it is. The estimates range between 0.1% death rates as high as approximately 3.4%. So the World Health Organization is at the highest estimate. They’ve estimated that 3.4% mortality rate number in the recent past, just this Friday, Hong Kong University team released a research that estimated the risk at 1.4%.

Dr. Gwynette: In the United States, U S health officials have estimated that between 0.1% and 1%, so less than 1% in most cases here in U S is what they’re estimating. I think the challenge in terms of finding the true lethality rate is that many patients may be infected and may be able to spread the virus without actually realizing that they have been infected. The symptoms to watch out for are fever, shortness of breath, being exposed to anyone who’s traveled in the area or having traveled overseas or being exposed to anyone who’s sick. So those symptoms can be pretty vague. If someone, let’s say, did not have a fever and only had a very mild cough and had no shortness of breath, they could have a mild case of the coronavirus and certainly spread the virus without really knowing that they’re sick. So, that’s the big fear and the big uncertainty in terms of what the death rate is.

Dr. Gwynette: So we don’t have a true calculation of how many cases we have worldwide, we do know how many deaths, but we don’t know how many total cases, that’s making it hard to pinpoint. I spoke with some leadership at MUSC today, and I want to just focus on Charleston, South Carolina and the State of South Carolina for a moment. As of today, Friday, March 6th there have been no deaths reported in South Carolina and no cases of coronavirus reported in South Carolina. A couple of pointers that MUSC leadership gave me today are that while there’s no cases in South Carolina, there have been cases in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, so all of the surrounding states. So it’s very likely that the virus will come to South Carolina in the near future. So another useful facts about the virus, the coronavirus can live up to nine hours on a surface. Ways to prevent it, and this is mostly common sense, but the first three things you want to do to prevent coronavirus are number one, hand washing. Number two, hand washing, and number three, hand washing.

Dr. Gwynette: If you suspect someone is infected, we do not want to be within six feet of them and we want to wipe down any surfaces that can be carrying germs, including doorknobs, desks or any other … keyboards that are shared and so forth. We want to use things that have a chlorine in them that are able to kill the viruses. Here at MUSC they have implemented the set of screening questions, asking patients, if they have had any shortness of breath, if they’ve had any fever, if they’ve been traveling overseas to any of the countries that are known to have infections there. But that screening question will not be as useful as more and more states here in the U S being in to show infections. So, we’re at a critical point for sure because right now the virus is definitely here in the United States. We know that it’s extremely contagious, we just don’t know the death rate.

Dr. Gwynette: Now, as you may be aware, the vast majority of deaths in the case of coronavirus have occurred in people who are either elderly or who have significant underlying medical issues. So, for people who are relatively young, relatively healthy, the death rate may be much lower and that would make a lot of sense. So we don’t want to be panicking at this point, but we do want to be very vigilant in terms of washing our hands, keeping our distance from people who may be infected and also taking care if we do feel like there are any symptoms to get those reported. Interestingly, there’s an issue wide shortage of coronavirus test kits. As of today, there are only a 100 kits in South Carolina available per day. So, there’s a vast shortage of test kits.

Dr. Gwynette: Other interesting facts include, right now we are not exactly recommending masks for people who are at risk, we’re recommending that people either go directly home. So that don’t infect other people, so they would be self quarantining at home or if they’re having shortness of breath to present to the emergency room or to their primary care office. Here at MUSC we have a system in place where you can page infection control, and for those of you at MUSC you had page number 20533. So, if you’re outside of MUSC that’s not going to mean anything to you. If you’re inside of MUSC you certainly want to call infection control in the event you encounter any patients who may be at risk.

Dr. Gwynette: Again, this is a very, hopefully, timely podcast, not a very long one but did want to at least get that information out to everybody. We really appreciate everyone of our listeners and we hope that this virus will be stopped and its tracks. Please take all precautions that we can. Also, some places including MIT are looking at limiting gatherings of people of 150 or more. So definitely, reconsider if you have plans to go to events with large numbers of people, places like basketball games or other huge events. There are multiple states now, Washington and Massachusetts, they are severely limiting people’s ability to meet in large groups of people. So that’s really the latest.

Dr. Gwynette: I’d be interested to hear from you if you feel like the coronavirus is really mostly hype or if it really is as deadly as we fear. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram, I’m @drgwynette, that’s D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E on Instagram, and Twitter is the same handle. Thank you for listening to the special edition of the Autism News NetWORK podcast, and we will see you next time.

Dr. Gwynette: Hello, and welcome to the Autism News netWORK podcast. My name is Dr. Frampton Gwynette. I work at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. You can follow me @drgwynette, that’s D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E on Instagram and Twitter, here with a special edition of our Autism News NetWORK podcast today. The topic for today is coronavirus, which is literally everywhere, not only in the news media but also across the globe and now in 90 countries. The reason I wanted to record this podcast is because it is interacting in a peripheral way with the autism community and also because I am a doctor and I’ve been following the story of the coronavirus very closely and also got some really cutting edge information today in terms of how it’s impacting our local community in Charleston, South Carolina. Also, I’ll be providing our audience today with the very latest up to the minute news with regard to the coronavirus.

Dr. Gwynette: So without further ado, let’s get into a couple of topics here about the virus. The first thing is that the coronavirus has come to the United States. It has hit the State of Washington particularly hard. There have now been 10 deaths in Washington State, and the governor has declared a state of emergency there. So, that is certainly some big news that’s happened today, Friday, March 6th. The University of Washington today canceled classes through next week and has asked students to complete final exams virtually for this marking period or this quarter, there are about 59,000 students in the University of Washington system throughout three campuses in Washington State. Also, as you probably know, multiple school districts in the Seattle area have canceled classes for the foreseeable future. So, there’s upward of 100,000 students who are not in school currently in Seattle in an effort to stem the tide of the coronavirus epidemic.

Dr. Gwynette: Washington State has far and away been the state that’s been most impacted in terms of infections, but also all but one death in the United States has happened in Washington State. So, one of the ways that this impacted the autism world is that there is an annual conference called the International Society of Autism Research annual conference, and this takes place once a year, usually in May, and this year it happens to be scheduled for Seattle. I was planning to give a couple of presentations at that meeting, I’ve been watching the INSAR updates very closely because the leadership committee of that conference is entertaining the idea of postponing the conference based on the state of emergency in Washington. So that’s certainly a huge development.

Dr. Gwynette: In terms of our audience wanting to have the very latest information, I wanted to point out a couple of sources. First of all, the Wall Street Journal has been fantastic in terms of its coverage. It has a lot of great data, but also graphics, so you can see how the virus has spread from its origins in late 2019 through Wuhan in China and then across the globe and it now is in 90 countries as at Friday. The authors who are doing a particularly great job for the Wall Street Journal are Jennifer Calfas and Lucy Kramer. They’re really up to the minute in terms of their data in the infections. So just some of the latest numbers that are pretty hard hitting. There have been, I’m sorry, 14 deaths in the United States thus far all but one have been in Washington State.

Dr. Gwynette: We have had confirmed cases heavily in the New York, New Jersey area, as well as some in Northern California and Southern California. So we are seeing an increasing number of states in the United States impacted. Johns Hopkins University is doing a fantastic job of calculating the number of cases worldwide as well as the number of deaths. So, if you follow the Johns Hopkins University data, you can find that as of today, 101,583 confirmed cases worldwide, and there have been 3,460 deaths globally. So this is clearly a global epidemic at this point. Now, in terms of the lethality of this virus, we’re not really sure how deadly it is. The estimates range between 0.1% death rates as high as approximately 3.4%. So the World Health Organization is at the highest estimate. They’ve estimated that 3.4% mortality rate number in the recent past, just this Friday, Hong Kong University team released a research that estimated the risk at 1.4%.

Dr. Gwynette: In the United States, U S health officials have estimated that between 0.1% and 1%, so less than 1% in most cases here in U S is what they’re estimating. I think the challenge in terms of finding the true lethality rate is that many patients may be infected and may be able to spread the virus without actually realizing that they have been infected. The symptoms to watch out for are fever, shortness of breath, being exposed to anyone who’s traveled in the area or having traveled overseas or being exposed to anyone who’s sick. So those symptoms can be pretty vague. If someone, let’s say, did not have a fever and only had a very mild cough and had no shortness of breath, they could have a mild case of the coronavirus and certainly spread the virus without really knowing that they’re sick. So, that’s the big fear and the big uncertainty in terms of what the death rate is.

Dr. Gwynette: So we don’t have a true calculation of how many cases we have worldwide, we do know how many deaths, but we don’t know how many total cases, that’s making it hard to pinpoint. I spoke with some leadership at MUSC today, and I want to just focus on Charleston, South Carolina and the State of South Carolina for a moment. As of today, Friday, March 6th there have been no deaths reported in South Carolina and no cases of coronavirus reported in South Carolina. A couple of pointers that MUSC leadership gave me today are that while there’s no cases in South Carolina, there have been cases in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, so all of the surrounding states. So it’s very likely that the virus will come to South Carolina in the near future. So another useful facts about the virus, the coronavirus can live up to nine hours on a surface. Ways to prevent it, and this is mostly common sense, but the first three things you want to do to prevent coronavirus are number one, hand washing. Number two, hand washing, and number three, hand washing.

Dr. Gwynette: If you suspect someone is infected, we do not want to be within six feet of them and we want to wipe down any surfaces that can be carrying germs, including doorknobs, desks or any other … keyboards that are shared and so forth. We want to use things that have a chlorine in them that are able to kill the viruses. Here at MUSC they have implemented the set of screening questions, asking patients, if they have had any shortness of breath, if they’ve had any fever, if they’ve been traveling overseas to any of the countries that are known to have infections there. But that screening question will not be as useful as more and more states here in the U S being in to show infections. So, we’re at a critical point for sure because right now the virus is definitely here in the United States. We know that it’s extremely contagious, we just don’t know the death rate.

Dr. Gwynette: Now, as you may be aware, the vast majority of deaths in the case of coronavirus have occurred in people who are either elderly or who have significant underlying medical issues. So, for people who are relatively young, relatively healthy, the death rate may be much lower and that would make a lot of sense. So we don’t want to be panicking at this point, but we do want to be very vigilant in terms of washing our hands, keeping our distance from people who may be infected and also taking care if we do feel like there are any symptoms to get those reported. Interestingly, there’s an issue wide shortage of coronavirus test kits. As of today, there are only a 100 kits in South Carolina available per day. So, there’s a vast shortage of test kits.

Dr. Gwynette: Other interesting facts include, right now we are not exactly recommending masks for people who are at risk, we’re recommending that people either go directly home. So that don’t infect other people, so they would be self quarantining at home or if they’re having shortness of breath to present to the emergency room or to their primary care office. Here at MUSC we have a system in place where you can page infection control, and for those of you at MUSC you had page number 20533. So, if you’re outside of MUSC that’s not going to mean anything to you. If you’re inside of MUSC you certainly want to call infection control in the event you encounter any patients who may be at risk.

Dr. Gwynette: Again, this is a very, hopefully, timely podcast, not a very long one but did want to at least get that information out to everybody. We really appreciate everyone of our listeners and we hope that this virus will be stopped and its tracks. Please take all precautions that we can. Also, some places including MIT are looking at limiting gatherings of people of 150 or more. So definitely, reconsider if you have plans to go to events with large numbers of people, places like basketball games or other huge events. There are multiple states now, Washington and Massachusetts, they are severely limiting people’s ability to meet in large groups of people. So that’s really the latest.

Dr. Gwynette: I’d be interested to hear from you if you feel like the coronavirus is really mostly hype or if it really is as deadly as we fear. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram, I’m @drgwynette, that’s D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E on Instagram, and Twitter is the same handle. Thank you for listening to the special edition of the Autism News NetWORK podcast, and we will see you next time.

The Latest From ANN

The Latest From ANN

Get the latest ANN content in your inbox!

We will not sell or share your data and will only send you ANN content & announcements.