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What Should US Clinicians Know About COVID-19?

FEB 20, 2020 | PANELIST: CHRISTINA TAN, MD, MPH


Segment Description: Christina Tan, MD, MPH, state epidemiologist, assistant commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health, provides an overview of what is known about transmission of the novel coronavirus and what clinicians in the United States should know.

Interview transcript (modified slightly for readability):

The information is still evolving about the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness. We have seen limited person to person spread. Primarily the person to person transmission that we've been seeing has been in China. Here in the United States, currently, as of mid-February, we've only seen about 15 cases of COVID in the United States associated with travel to China. Of these, there were only 2 that were associated with person-to-person spread.

So currently, right now we're asking health care providers to be really vigilant in looking for illnesses that might be compatible with COVID-19 illness. We also encourage childcare providers to take good travel histories. We also understand, you know that there might be that risk exposure element with these with these individuals who might have these illnesses. In the United States, the CDC has issued guidance with regard to what clinicians can be looking for. We always strongly encourage clinicians to go on the CDC website, because things are changing so rapidly, just to keep themselves abreast of the most up to date information, such as what the current criteria are that we're looking for.

With novel and emerging infections, we don't know too much at the beginning. There's always the challenge of dealing with potentially changing case definitions, potential information that becomes more evident later on as we get more information. We always try to get the balance of ensuring that we get the message out there to clinicians that sometimes things will change. Sometimes when you're looking for illnesses, you might need to modify what you're looking for based on the newest information that's available.
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