As the COVID-19 cases in the United States closely approach the one million mark at 981,246 cases as of today, healthcare professionals are still constantly learning new things about the virus while those of us out of the loop try to embrace the “new normal.”
There are states in the U.S. that have been hit harder than others. Cases in the northeast especially, although they are dropping a bit, still have cases running rampant throughout.
States with the most COVID-19 cases:
- New York – 287,607 cases, 21,883 deaths
- New Jersey – 111,188 cases, 6,044 deaths
- Massachusetts – 56,462 cases, 3,003 deaths
- Illinois – 45,883 cases, 1,983 deaths
- California – 43,464 cases, 1,755 deaths
- Pennsylvania – 42,050 cases, 1,597 deaths
- Michigan – 38,210 cases, 3,407 deaths
- Florida – 31,290 cases, 1,088 deaths
- Louisiana – 27,111 cases, 1,740 deaths
- Connecticut – 25,997 cases, 2,012 deaths
- Texas – 25,297 cases, 663 deaths
The states above are considered the ‘hardest hit’ as they have over 25,000 cases. Some of these states, Texas for instance, have stay-at-home orders that are expiring on April 30th, and are planning on trying to reopen the economy. When Texas reopens on May 1st with limited capacity, theirs would be the shortest of the stay-at-home orders in the country. There are a handful of states that are doing partial re-openings currently such as Montana, Minnesota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Another handful of states has orders that are expiring 04/30/20, and are still weighing the decision to reopen such as Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Maine.
Along with the stay-at-home restrictions are economic concerns, especially for acupuncturists who run a small business, their acupuncture practice. According to the Small Business Majority, 9 out of 10 small businesses say the coronavirus pandemic has impacted their business, with 43% saying it has had a severe negative impact. The CARES act, a $2 million stimulus package recently passed by congress, is a good first step, but many small businesses are stating they need additional help to keep from closing their doors.
Currently, the options for aid for small businesses:
- Paycheck Protection Program – loan forgiveness for retaining employees by expanding the SBA loan program.
- EIDL Loan Advance – provides up to $10,000 of economic relief to small businesses.
- SBA Express Bridge Loans – enables those who already have a relationship with SBA access to $25,000 quickly.
- SBA Debt Relief – financial reprieve during the pandemic.
For further information on small business loan options in light of the coronavirus outbreak, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
The American Society of Acupuncturists has provided a great resource for acupuncturists with recommendations, advice on running your practice, advice on taking care of yourself & your patients, and additional links to NCCAOM, CCAOM, & ACAOM in regards to COVID-19 to alleviate the damage to our community of professionals during this uncertain time in history.
UPDATE AS OF 3/17/20:
COVID-19 is now according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The severity of COVID-19 is still not fully known as reported cases have ranged from very mild (along with some reporting no symptoms) to severe (including illness resulting in death). Those whose immune systems are compromised, and the elderly are at this point the most at risk, but the disease is for the most part considered mild.
As for the U.S., various states are seeing different levels of COVID-19. States where community spread is occurring are gradually shutting down schools, businesses, and implementing social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. Total cases in the U.S. as of yesterday is at 4,226 with the total deaths amounting to 75. The CDC has created an rRT-PCR test to diagnose COVID-19 which is being used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, CDC laboratories are conducting testing on the virus that causes COVID-19 testing 350 specimens a day. Learn more about safety precautions you & your patients should take on the CDC website. We at ACE want to keep you informed and in the know on the latest with COVID-19, and will be updating this page as often as possible.
Update as of 2/12/20:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that as of Monday, February 10, 2020, there are now 13 cases in the United States. The most recent one was detected in California with a patient who was under federal quarantine, and the CDC is conducting a thorough investigation on any contacts the person may have had to see if they are high risk exposures.
Additionally, the death toll nationwide as of this morning February 12, 2020, is now at 1,100 people and infected over 45,000 people; the majority in mainland China. Scientists also have a name for the virus now and that is Covid-19, and the virus that causes it is SARS-CoV-2.
Coronaviruses are actually a type of virus, and there are many different kinds, some of which cause harmful disease. The newly identified type due to a recent outbreak, the 2019 novel coronavirus, is a respiratory illness that started in China. The spread of the new coronavirus (also called 2019-nCoV), is being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other health organizations like Johns Hopkins across the globe. As of January 30th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency.
The 2019 novel coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and health officials believe it may be linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China. It is reported that some people who visited the market came down with pneumonia caused by coronavirus. However, a study was released January 25, 2020 stating that the person with the first reported case of coronavirus had no link to the seafood market where wild animals were on sale & in contact with people, and became ill December 1, 2019.
It is believed by many to have originally come from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person affecting many throughout China and two dozen other countries including the United States. However, the animal source it may be has not been pinpointed yet, but Chinese scientists believe it may have been a bat.
The transmission of the virus person to person usually happens in close contact (about 6 feet), and is believed to transpire through respiratory droplets created when one with the virus coughs or sneezes. Basically, the spreading of this virus is equivalent to how influenza and other respiratory germs are spread.
Most often with respiratory viruses, people are the most contagious when they are the sickest, but with the 2019 novel coronavirus, there have been reports of the virus being spread from an infected patient with no symptoms at all to someone in close contact. It is vital to note that how easily coronavirus can spread can vary by the individual. Although investigations are ongoing, it is still unclear how the virus originated and spread.
Currently, it appears symptoms of coronavirus show up in people within as little as 2 days and as much as 14 days after exposure to the virus causing viral pneumonia.
2019 Novel coronavirus symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- In rare/severe cases, can lead to respiratory problems, kidney failure, or death
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) makes several suggestions as far as avoiding coronavirus from spreading to you. Many of these suggestions are common sense, but are nonetheless good reminders to be sure we’re keeping healthy as possible with the growing number of cases being reported every day.
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away
- Clean and disinfect surfaces/objects people are frequently in contact with
- Wash your hands frequently, and use alcohol based sanitizer if/when soap and water aren’t available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
Unfortunately, as of January 30, 2020, there have been 361 deaths reported that have been attributed to the coronavirus. Be mindful of symptoms, and all suggestions from the CDC.
Coronavirus in the U.S.
How is coronavirus affecting the United States? As of Sunday, February 2, 2020 there were three more cases, all in California, reported bringing the total number of people affected to 11.
Under the orders of the Health and Human Services Secretary, foreign nationals who traveled to China in the last two weeks & aren’t immediate family members of United States citizens or permanent residents will be temporarily banned from entering the United States due to the declaration of public health emergency last week. Additionally, anyone who was in China’s Hubei province in the last two weeks will also be subject to a two week quarantine.
There were 195 Americans that were the first to be evacuated from Wuhan, where the outbreak occurred, and they are under federal quarantine & will remain on a military base in California until mid-February. Reportedly, the government has not issued such a quarantine in over 50 years.
Lastly, on January 31, 2020, the White House Task Force for the 2019 novel coronavirus announced at a press conference that new travel policies will be implemented beginning at 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 2, 2020.
Coronavirus & the CDC Response
The Centers for Disease Control is working closely with the Whole Health Organization as well as state and local health partners closely monitoring the progress of the coronavirus to respond to the public health threat in the United States.
The CDC has responded in some of the following ways:
- On January 21, 2020, the CDC put its Emergency Operations Center into action to provide ongoing support to the coronavirus response.
- On January 27, 2020, the CDC issues travel guidance for China, stating to travelers to avoid traveling to any part of the country if not essential.
- The CDC uploaded the entire genome of the virus from five reported cases in the United States to GenBank.
- The CDC is growing the virus in a cell culture, which is essential for future studies.
- The CDC has developed a test that can diagnose the 2019 novel coronavirus in respiratory and serum samples, and on January 24, 2020, they publicly posted the assay protocol for the test.
If you could like a complete list of everything the CDC is doing in an effort to keep coronavirus at bay here in the United States, and for updates on the progress of the virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control to learn more.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCoV)
According to the Whole Health Organization, as of Monday, February 3, 2020, there are 17,205 confirmed cases in two dozen countries, the majority being from China. Analyses have emerged suggesting that this virus came from a virus related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and there are ongoing tests to learn more about this quickly evolving virus. According to CNN, the number of coronavirus deaths in mainland China has overtaken the 2003 SARS epidemic, where 349 people died in a 9-month period. This past weekend was also the first death due to the virus outside of China in the Philippines. International researchers are racing to develop a vaccine & halt the spread of the virus, and while there is action being taken, there is still a lot of information on the 2019 novel coronavirus that is still unknown, including how contagious it may be.