Message from Our Experts

MATTHEW SINCOCK, MD

Latest Update from Our Experts Regarding (COVID-19), January 19, 2021

Dear community,

As all of you know the ongoing Covid pandemic remains far from over. Cases have varied with multiple surges over the past two years and the most recent surge is from the Omicron variant. This variant is highly contagious and is very likely responsible for the majority of cases seen in the region currently. The hospital is again in another surge which started in early January. 

Despite the challenges of the new variants many of the basics of infection control remain the same. Without question vaccination remains our best tool against severe disease from Covid. Vaccination prepares and trains your immune system to be able to fight against Covid from the moment an infection begins, which if anything is more  important with a highly contagious virus that many people are likely to contract. Other measures such as physical distancing, avoiding large crowds, being mindful that indoor transmission remains more likely than outdoor transmission, and masking with a quality mask (such as a KN95 or multiple masks to achieve a good seal on the face) all can help slow or stop the transmission of the virus.

Click here to read frequently asked questions about the Covid-19 vaccines.

Latest Update from Our Experts, January 19, 2021

The pandemic from Covid-19 has unfortunately proven to be the deadliest outbreak seen in decades. With over 800,000 deaths in the USA alone without question this has been a deadly virus.

Early estimates about the mortality rate have varied and have been difficult to estimate given the number of asymptomatic cases. Early estimates were seen at approximately 3% while later estimates when accounting for asymptomatic cases suggested a rate between 0.5 -1.0%. Regardless the danger of the virus should not be underestimated and should not thought of as “just a bad flu”.

The delta variant proved to be dangerous with ongoing severity and increased levels of contagiousness compared to earlier variants. Finally, most recent the omicron variant, while some early reports suggest it is less severe, it is far more contagious than even the delta variant. Unfortunately, this means even if the omicron variant is very slightly less likely to be fatal, by spreading so fast to a tremendous number of people it can still lead to an overwhelming number of hospitalized and very sick patients.

Several factors do appear to increase risk for severe or fatal infection including advanced age, diabetes, coronary artery disease, COPD or other chronic lung disease, obesity, and certain immune-suppressing conditions. If you fall into one of those categories would recommend taking particular care to avoid the virus and would talk with your regular doctor about any steps that can be taken to make certain any chronic health problems are under the best control possible. Next to avoiding the virus the best way to prevent severe or fatal infection is to get vaccinated.

In addition, there have been a substantial number of false claims and conspiracy theories circulated about this virus. Please be aware that medical professionals here at Wilmington Health and across the country are risking their own health and the health of their families to provide the best care possible. Please do not make their job harder by spreading or entertaining misinformation.For up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 in North Carolina, as well as information on vaccines, please visit: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.

Latest Update from Our Experts, January 19, 2021

As previous information about the virus is being gathered every day. Information and new findings will be made at any time during the pandemic, and recommendations can and certainly will change over time. The primary method that the virus is transmitted is through direct person to person transmission through respiratory droplets over both short distances through larger droplets as well as airborne transmission over larger distances as well. Again both the delta and especially the omicron variants have shown increased levels of transmissibility compared to earlier variants. Transmission over longer distances is of greater concern in indoor or enclosed areas with poor ventilation. Transmission through touching contaminated objects, then touching a mucous membrane (like the eye or nose) is possible as well but likely is a much smaller percentage of cases than those through respiratory spread. Again in general indoor transmission is more likely than outdoor transmission but infection can occur in both locations.

Latest Update from Our Experts, January 19, 2021

All the recommendations that would work to prevent the spread of flu are applicable to preventing the spread of coronavirus:

  • Get vaccinated, wash hands and wear a mask!
  • Using a mask that is high quality (preferably a KN95 or similar) and that is well sealed on the face is important to achieve the highest levels of effectiveness
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean frequently touched objects with regular household cleaning spray or disinfectant
  • If you are ill, wearing a mask to help prevent yourself from spreading the virus is crucial. Wearing a mask, in general, when out in public is also helpful as if you are sick and do not yet have symptoms you can still be contagious, and wearing a mask will again help prevent yourself from accidentally spreading the virus.
  • Wearing a mask also protects yourself as should you be exposed to the virus, the mask will prevent some portion of that virus reaching your mucous membranes and the smaller the initial viral exposure the less severe the infection
  • If you are ill with fever, cough, shortness of breath (or difficulty breathing), chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell, stay home and do not go to work or other areas where you are likely to spread the virus.
  • Social distancing (staying six feet from other people, no direct contact, avoiding large crowds especially in enclosed/cramped areas) is very important to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Avoid large indoor crowds in poorly ventilated areas particularly where there are large numbers of people talking as that is a scenario very well suited to spread the virus
  • Get vaccinated, wash hands and wear a mask!

Latest Update from Our Experts, January 19, 2021

The CDC provides information about travel and all should follow the posted guidelines. Please visit their link below for more details.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Latest Update from Our Experts, January 19, 2021

Again the recommendations for this virus will change over time as new information becomes available and as new variants arise. In regards to changing recommendations we will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC as well as other local and state health officials.

Thank you for reading, and please follow our website and/or Facebook for ongoing updates! Wilmington Health will continue to monitor this closely!

Sincerely,

Dr. Sincock

Learn more about Coronavirus Defense.

WH Research currently has COVID-19 clinical trials in-progress and is actively seeking trial participants. Click here to learn more.