NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – On Thursday night, a team of Yale doctors confronted the coronavirus outbreak that has spread to 28 countries and killed more than 600 people in China.
The doctors shared what people need to know to stay safe.
The coronavirus is brand new, so our bodies immune systems haven’t built up a resistance, so there’s no reference point for doctors as the critical research continues.
Kai Chen is a Yale climate change professor and has worried family and friends back in China who are already isolating themselves.
“Outsiders cannot enter our village,” Chen said.
The rural town he’s from is more than 550 miles away from Wuhan, which is almost the distance from Connecticut to Cleveland.
“They are wondering when life will go back to normal,” Chen said.
While that remains unclear, Yale doctors held a forum trying to clear up a lot of misinformation around the coronavirus.
First, they say the origin came from a mammal, like a bat.
The virus is powerful, not as easily transmittable as measles, but more than Ebola.
“It’s comparable to SARS, it’s more than the flu,” said Dr. Saad Omer, Yale Institute for Global Health.
The doctors say preventing it is just as simple as how people try to prevent the flu.
“Hand washing, coughing into your elbow,” said Lisa Sanders, Yale School of Medicine.
In the U.S., masks have already been running out.
“There’s no evidence that wearing a mask will keep you from getting it,” Sanders said.
With the death toll and amount of cases rising every day in China, a sense of panic has spread around the world. With the coronavirus now in 28 countries, doctors say that’s understandable.
“I think that we need to acknowledge that we have to try to make sure nothing bad happens, while saying the risk right now seems limited and acknowledge we don’t know what the future holds,” Sanders said.
What’s most frightening is that doctors say it can take up to 10 days before patients actually exhibit symptoms, so people may have it and be spreading the coronavirus without even knowing it.
Yale doctors say with SARS, only people with symptoms were infectious. Pinpointing if seemingly healthy people can spread the coronavirus before symptoms show will be crucial in containing this.
There are some positives. Doctors wanted to stress that if you’re a healthy person, the effects shouldn’t be too severe. They admit, this is not a simple cold and there is a higher death rate, but they’re not seeing severe symptoms with relatively health people.