Top Doctors experts talk about the coronavirus

Since the appearance of the new coronavirus last December until it has reached our country, becoming a national health problem, our experts have been sharing through the media and our website, the information and data available to them.

It is difficult to confirm certain data and figures, since the virus is spreading so fast that they will soon become outdated. This article will probably quote some data that may change in a matter of hours.

The latest official data available indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries, affecting some 117,000 people, of whom more than 4,000 have lost their lives. In Spain it is estimated that there are, at the moment, about 2,174 infected, 47 dead and 135 people who have recovered. In fact, in Europe, France, Spain and Germany are, in addition to Italy, the countries with the most cases of infected people.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus and how is it spread?

One of the symptoms of coronavirus is fever. Our Top Doctors Iñaki Marina Clopés, specialist in Internal Medicine, explained in HOLA the main characteristics of this pathology and how we should take our temperature correctly.

Dr. Jorge Huerta, Family Medicine specialist at Mi Tres Torres, a Top Doctors member center, responded to users through our Instagram: “Among the mildest symptoms are sore throat, feeling general malaise, headache and fever. And, among the more severe symptoms, very high fever, cough with mucus, feeling short of breath or dyspnea.”

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Dr. Carmen Jodar, a specialist in Family Medicine and member of Top Doctors, explained in an article for Muy Interesante, that the coronavirus affects the respiratory tract and, therefore, is transmitted like a cold or flu, through coughing and sneezing, from person to person. However, “the affectation it is producing is an atypical pneumonia with respiratory difficulty for some patients. Mortality can reach 30% and, as always, the most sensitive population are patients with multiple pathologies,” says the doctor.

What distinguishes the coronavirus from a conventional flu or cold?

The coronavirus is a genus of virus that is normally present in respiratory diseases, otitis, cough, false croup, etc. and, therefore, also in colds. However, our Top Doctors Manuel Serrano, specialist in Internal Medicine and expert in infectious diseases, explained in an article for serPadres magazine what distinguishes the new strain of coronavirus from a flu or common cold. The coronavirus that is now affecting thousands of people in China, and also in other Asian, American, European and Australian countries, is a special coronavirus, the specific origin of which has not been revealed. The main characteristic of this new strain of virus is that it has a greater tendency to affect the lungs, producing more pneumonia than the usual coronaviruses. However, it is known that 81% of those infected do not present any seriousness, even with no or very mild pulmonary involvement,” the doctor comments.

Preventing coronavirus: measures to reduce the risk of infection

Dr. Jodar explained that the prevention measures are the same as those recommended in a case of influenza: protect the mouth when coughing and sneezing, with a disposable handkerchief or by covering the mouth with the sleeve of the clothes that are then washed. In addition, hands should be washed frequently, whether the person is infected or is a caregiver.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommended the following guidelines to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Avoid close contact with people who have acute respiratory infections.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after direct contact with infected persons or their environment.
  • Avoid unprotected contact with wild or farm animals.
  • People with symptoms of respiratory infection should keep their distance, cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing, use tissues or handkerchiefs, and wash their hands frequently.
  • Prevention should be maximized inside medical facilities, especially in emergency departments.

Coronavirus and pregnancy: can it be transmitted from mother to fetus?

As Dr. Serrano Martínez, a specialist in Internal Medicine, explains in serPadres, there is no evidence that pregnant women are more easily infected or develop more severe forms of the disease.

Likewise, there is no vertical transmission of the coronavirus from pregnant women to fetuses. The risks for a pregnant woman appear to be similar to those that a flu can pose.

How is the Spanish healthcare system acting?

Spanish healthcare teams are doing an excellent job, following the established protocols for dealing with the disease. Dr. Jodar explained in January, when the coronavirus had not yet reached Spain: “Our country has excellent universal healthcare of great quality and coverage. I am convinced that professionals in health prevention and public health have the measures to follow”.

Why is the coronavirus generating so much panic?

The coronavirus contains a different mutation, with a death rate from Covid-19 disease of between 2 and 4% in China and 0.7% outside the country, according to WHO data. Despite this, the known data show that the new virus is more contagious and lethal than the common flu. This, together with its rapid spread, has set off alarm bells around the world, and all states with infected people are taking precautionary measures and even isolating their populations.

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The panic situation is evident. Dr. Jonathan Franco, a specialist in Internal Medicine at Mi Tres Torres, explained to our Instagram users that this is a normal situation, since “there is a type of people who are very vulnerable to contracting serious infections such as coronavirus, such as the elderly and people with chronic pathologies. However, in people who are relatively healthy, the prognostic impact is much better.”

Should we cancel our trips?

Dr. Jorge Huerta explains that special care and caution should be taken in those countries with more documented cases. However, officially there is no clear indication for having to cancel trips.

However, there are countries such as Italy that have already closed borders, and whose flights have been cancelled for entry or exit.