Epidemiology, Symptoms, and Treatment of COVID-19


Segment Description: Christina Tan, MD, MPH, state epidemiologist, assistant commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health, provides an overview of COVID-19 including the epidemiology, symptoms, and treatment methods.

Interview transcript (modified slightly for readability):

Late last year we started to see a cluster of unusual pneumonias come up in China. That's when we first started to get an indication that there might be some sort of new, novel emerging infection that was going on. As we were following the progress of this cluster of unusual pneumonia illnesses in China, there was more information that was evolving and then subsequently, scientists were able to identify this novel coronavirus.

With COVID, this novel coronavirus illness, we're seeing a lot of individuals with severe respiratory illnesses. So, a lot of the cases that we're seeing have fever, shortness of breath, cough, a lot of lower respiratory tract illnesses. This is a little bit different, a little bit more severe than what we've been seeing with your routine respiratory virus illnesses.

Currently, in the United States, we are looking at different criteria for COVID illnesses. For now, the criteria are looking at individuals with a history of exposure to the hot zone, Wubei Province in China, or contact with individuals who are confirmed cases of COVID and with clinical presentation of fever and respiratory tract illness. that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Currently, the care is supportive. There are no treatments that are available for managing COVID other than supportive care or treating the symptoms of this illness.

As with other respiratory illnesses, we want to ensure that people follow those commonsense things that we do, for instance, when we're in the middle of respiratory virus season. Covering your cough, making sure that you stay home when you're sick, making sure that you go see your health care provider if you're concerned about your health, and to give a call to your health care provider ahead of time so that they can be prepared for you coming in.

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