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Have you recently lost your sense of taste or smell? Then you may be infected with the coronavirus COVID-19, even if you don't display any other symptoms.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) posted on its web-site that loss of a sense of smell (anosmia) and loss of a sense of taste (dysgeusia) are both symptoms of  COVID-19. Even if there are no other symptoms of COVID-19 - meaning it's a mild case, but it is still infectious and can be spread to others. Reports from South Korea are that about 30% of patients and from Germany that more than half of patients experience this.

It doesn't seem to matter how sick you are, or whether you are congested or not. Nothing seems to help - not nose drops or sprays.  Persons regain their sense of smell and/or taste after a few days or weeks.

It is suggested that loss of sense of smell could be used as a COVID-19 screening tool. Excerpt from the UK ENT group statement posted on the AAO-HNS web-site...continue reading "Loss Of Sense of Smell Or Taste May Indicate You Have Covid-19"

News stories about the coronavirus called COVID-19 now sweeping the globe have stressed that people over the age of 60, or people immunocompromised in some way, or with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable to the virus. Which led many people to think that in persons younger than 60 getting a COVID-19 infection wasn't a big deal.

However, a report from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) looking at COVID-19 cases in the United States that occurred during February 12–March 16, 2020, found that surprisingly large numbers of younger adults also require hospitalization. They reported that nearly 40% of younger adults with COVID-19 between the ages of 20 and 54 wind up being hospitalized, and that nearly half of people admitted to intensive care units were under the age of 65. And there were some deaths.

On the other hand, no ICU admissions or deaths were reported among persons aged less than 19 years. Whew...

Still, the authors wrote, “these preliminary data also demonstrate that severe illness leading to hospitalization, including I.C.U. admission and death, can occur in adults of any age with Covid-19".

Excerpt from NY Times: Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S ...continue reading "Severe Illness From COVID-19 Can Occur In Adults Of All Ages"

Is blood type important in coronavirus COVID-19? A study of 2173 patients from 3 hospitals in China found that not only is blood type important in the risk of contracting COVID-19, but also in whether one dies from it.

The study found that people with type A blood are more prone to being infected with COVID-19, and also dying from it - as compared to people with other types of blood. People with type O blood had the lowest risk of catching COVID-19 and also dying from it.

The researchers pointed out that these same blood type differences occurred in the earlier SARS outbreak (lower risk in those with type O blood, and higher risk in those with type A blood). The researchers felt that "blood type is a biomarker for differential susceptibility of COVID-19" - meaning how susceptible you are to the virus. And that perhaps it is linked to "natural anti-blood group antibodies, particularly anti-A antibody, in the blood".

The study still has to be peer-reviewed, but what an interesting finding! General article describing the research from Newsweek: RISK OF GETTING COVID-19 COULD BE LINKED TO CERTAIN BLOOD TYPES, CORONAVIRUS STUDY SUGGESTS

Original study (in preprint): Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility

Novel coronavirus COVID-19. Credit: NIAID-RML

Worried about the new coronavirus? And trying to find accurate information about its spread? As you probably know, the novel coronavirus is called COVID-19 and is now spreading throughout the world, with numbers increasing daily.

There is one great site with a coronavirus global map that is updated numerous times every day. It has been developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers, and actually posts information down to the county and city level, including number of cases, deaths, and recovered. But please note that it really should be viewed on a computer, and not cell phone. Lots of detailed global information. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

Interestingly, one can see how some countries are dealing much better with the coronavirus than others. For example, Singapore (about 5.7 million people, and among the best healthcare systems in the world) has 117 documented cases at this time, with 78 recovered, but ZERO deaths. Which means a 0% death rate there. [Note: Unfortunately, the U.S. health care system is not ranked that well - not even in the top 20 globally]

The NY Times has a much simpler tracking map for the United States, with fewer details, along with an explanatory article.

We now know that most people (at least 80%) with the coronavirus don't have symptoms at all or only minor symptoms (whew!), but this allows the virus to spread "stealthily" through communities. So keep in mind that any map with "reported cases" is only recording those who have sought both medical care and been tested.

The goal is to try to slow down the spread of the virus until effective antivirals are available and good treatment protocols are in place. Studies are now ongoing (with results hopefully in a few weeks), with many thinking that the best antiviral may turn out to be remdesivir. Of course other drugs and vaccines are in development. Even older drugs such as chloroquine (an anti-malarial) are being looked at.

Best protection advice: 1) wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, 2) keep your fingers away from your face - especially the eyes, nose, and mouth, 3) try to keep a social distance of at least 3 feet (better 6 feet) from other people, and 4) cough and sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue which you then dispose of into garbage or a plastic bag. Stay home if feeling sick. And stay calm!

And for a little humor regarding the mass stampede for supplies and resulting bare shelves. (Make sure to look at photos): Costco completely out of divination supplies, thanks to artist  And: Coronavirus panic-buying in Australia is weirdly, obsessively focused on toilet paper.

Novel coronavirus COVID-19. Credit: NIAID-RML