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Experts say coronaviruses aren’t new, but this strain is

LOS ANGELES — The coronavirus, a global pandemic, is testing the resiliency of residents here and throughout the world. 

While many have been are overwhelmed with fear and the constant evolving stream of information, health officials say the human race has faced and overcome other epidemics throughout history. 

Novel infectious coronaviruses may sound new, but are in fact common. The coronavirus was first discovered in the late 1960s.  Direct viral and bacterial pneumonia and bronchitis, influenza and the common cold are all coronaviruses.

What’s different is that COVID-19 is a new strain that started in December 2019 in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Central China. According to health officials, there was a cluster of unknown pneumonia cases related to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

As of March 18, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health had confirmed 192 cases of novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County. The Mayo Clinic reports that symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. A coronavirus vaccine isn’t currently available.

To address concerns, the Los Angeles City Council voted on more than 100 motions to assist residents and business owners to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by implementing social distancing; self-isolation; bars, entertainment venues and gym closures; help financially by ending utility shut off and issuing parking tickets on street cleaning day; clean but not remove homeless encampments; provide meal service to senior by utilizing local restaurants, and more.

“The persons who should be wearing a mask are those who are coughing, sneezing and [have] a mild fever,” said Dr. Nancy E. Gin, a board certified internist who is the senior vice president and chief quality officer for the Permanente Federation, overseeing quality for 23,000 physicians nationwide and more than 12 million members. 


[from coughs and sneezes]

can reach up to six feet on surfaces, the TV remote, uncovered food and bathroom areas. The mask protects those around the person who are already comprised. Viral shedding, the excretions from the mouth and nose with the potential for disease transmission and infection, stops about a week after symptoms first appear.”

A recent study published in the Lancelet Journal found prolonged viral shedding at the shortest amount of time someone was infectious was eight days and the longest amount of time was 37 days.

“Kaiser Permanente is in the position to test people,” said Dr. Gin said, who also serves as medical director of quality and clinical analysis for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “Since the resources are limited, we will reserve testing for those who are at high risk and are already sick.

“Currently, Quest Lab nationally can only process 4,000 tests a day. Kaiser Permanente is working with Quest.”

Kaiser Permanente states that its doctors and nurses are receiving refresher training to protect themselves from infectious diseases and coronavirus. Staff does have a higher concentration of sick people around them and personal protective equipment is available for them.

“Our nation’s health professionals are at risk.  We serve on the front lines of this pandemic.  Many are becoming exposed to the virus and test kits are still not available,” said Lorna Johnson, who founded and operates the Advanced Family Care Medical Group, an inner-city medical clinic. “This is no cause for alarm as testing is currently limited to those who are at risk.

“If you are sick with a high fever or cough, have a higher risk for complications from severe respiratory infection, older than 65, have a chronic medical condition or are pregnant, call your health care provider to be evaluated in person.

“If you do need to be tested the process is simple and painless,” said Johnson “A culture is taken from the inside of your nose and throat using swabs that are then sent to specific labs. Results are typically ready within 24 to 48 hours.”

“Artificial intelligence is running our lives and we are skipping our common sense intelligence to change things that will not matter if we don’t go back to the basics and do the right thing,” said Bill Montgomery, a transportation and technology expert and founder of Hidden Pioneers. “Wash both hands with soap and warm water using the World Health Organization technique for 20 seconds or longer often and especially after we touch people, surfaces, including but not limited to door knobs, counter tops, boxes, windows, technology devices like cell phones, computers, notebooks,  remote controls, car steering wheels, TVs and more.”

“The virus can survive on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours,” said study author, James Lloyd-Smith, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA.

While the United States is experiencing a rapid increase in cases, countries like Taiwan have made it through the pandemic.

“In Taiwan, we went through the 30-day heightened social distancing, school closures, self-quarantine, interruption of daily routine lives, hand washing, and mask wearing enforcement in late January  through February,” said Juanita Ingram, a wife and mother of two originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee. “The mandates work and our numbers continue to be low while the world is exploding with active cases.”

According to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, Taiwan only had 77 reported cases, Of those, 22 have fully recovered, and one died. For real-time numbers from around the world, visit the Coronavirus Global Cases interactive map that was designed by Professor Lauren Gardner, a civil and systems engineering professor at Johns Hopkins University. The dashboard was built with her graduate student, Ensheng Dong.  

John Hopkins University uses data for the map from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, local media reports, local health departments, and the DXY, one of the world’s largest online communities for physicians, health care professionals, pharmacies and facilities.

There have been more than 1.2 billion daily requests to view the map since early March.

For up-to-date information in Los Angeles County, go to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website that is in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for recent reports of a novel (new) coronavirus.

For other assistance information, call 211.