General Information on Coronavirus and Covid-19
Mesquite Pediatrics is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation caused by the novel Coronavirus that emerged from China earlier this year. The purpose of this page is to give some basic information on the virus and to provide links to reliable information from various resources. This page is not meant to provide comprehensive, up-to-date information as there is no way for us to keep up with those changes here and also care for our patients. The links provided below are the best bet for keeping informed of day-to-day changes.
First, some basic information, starting with some definitions of the terms you may have heard.
- Coronavirus: this is a family of viruses that usually cause respiratory infections. It includes many strains, one of which is the Coronavirus everyone is talking about
- 2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2: these are actual official names for the new strain of Coronavirus
- Covid-19: this is the name for the disease that the Coronavirus causes when someone is infected
Most often Coronaviruses cause what most people would consider the common cold. We know that we see infections with Coronavirus very frequently at Mesquite Pediatrics because they are very common, though we typically don't test for the virus because the disease is usually mild and kids tend to resolve their infections without any special treatment. This new Coronavirus is a bit different, as it has more potential to cause severe disease. At the date this page was last updated (3/18/2020), it is not known why that is the case. However, it is known that healthy children are much less likey to have severe, life-threatening disease than the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, or those who have compromised immune systems.
What is Mesquite Pediatrics' perspective?
We all must recognize that this virus is going to continue to spread. It is likely that there is a lot more of it out there than we know about. It is critical that we decrease the rate at which it spreads so that the number of sick people at any given time is as low as possible to prevent an overload to the medical system. Therefore we wholeheartedly endorse the recommendations for social distancing, closing schools, etc. (CLICK HERE for a well-written article by a pediatrician about playdates). We all must do our part and take this very seriously. That's why we have made the changes to our procedures that are outlined on our HOME PAGE.
On the other hand, the risk for children (and probably really any one individual) is probably much lower than a lot of people have come to believe. We do know that children are at pretty low risk from the Coronavirus. Again, we don't know why, but the disease tends to be much milder in children than in adults. The other thing to keep in mind is that the mortality rates that have been reported are likely significantly higher than reality. Most of the people who have been tested so far have been those who are the most sick. People who have had the virus and not developed any symptoms or who just got a minor illness are very unlikely to have been tested. So there may be hundreds of thousands of people who have had the virus that we don't know about, which would drastically reduce the reported mortality rate.
Where can I find reliable information?
There's a lot of bad information out there on the internet. We recommend you choose your sources of information very carefully as incorrect information can actually turn out to be dangerous. The sites below should have very reliable information that will be updated far more frequently than we can do on our site.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Information on the disease (spread, symptoms, FAQs): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
- Information on prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
- Current count of cases, broken down by states: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
- World Health Organization
- Advice for the public (prevention, myths, etc): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
- Situation reports (cover detailed information of what is happening worldwide): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
- Arizona Department of Health (AZDHS)
- Update of cases in our state and links to other resources: https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home
- Pima County Health Department