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Coronavirus is a human virus as well as a virus that can affect certain animals,
and there are two kinds of SARS coronaviruses that have caused diseases in humans. The SARS-CoV-1
and the one that's circulating now is SARS-CoV-2. It's an RNA virus that causes predominantly
respiratory problems. COVID-19, by the way, is the name of the disease that SARS-CoV-2
actually causes: coronavirus infectious disease of 2019. The nucleic acid structure is known
and we're still learning about where its vulnerabilities are. We don't yet know what kind of anti-viral
agents will be most effective. There are clinical trials that are being done for countermeasures
and then of course there are vaccines that are being developed. So I think whenever you're
confronted with an unknown virus, be prepared to be surprised in its biology and its pathogenesis.
So there are similarities and there are differences. The similarities of course is that the disease
is caused by a virus. The influenza virus is different from the SARS virus. We don't
yet understand the spreadability or the contagiousness of this particular virus. One thing that's
significantly different though is the subsequent problems that one faces if one does get infected
with the SARS-V2, and what I mean by that is that many of the deaths that were seen
after the 1918 flu were due to bacterial infections and bacterial pneumonias. So we really didn't
have adequate therapy for those secondary infections. Thankfully, now, we are much better
in terms of diagnosing the disease, of understanding the subsequent nature of secondary infections,
so there's a world of difference between what was happening in 1918 compared to the 2019
outbreak of this particular virus. The lack of diagnostic tests back in 1918 could have
been reflected in the lack of speed of getting out diagnostic tests in this particular outbreak,
but now the community is stepping up to provide way more diagnostic tests, which is really
what we need. We need the data. So it appears now that the elderly, and I hate to say this,
that's people over the age of 60, are more susceptible to getting a more severe illness,
and it ramps up with age. Over 70, over 80 get more and more severe disease. It appears
that children aren't getting as ill with this particular virus. So it's mostly the people
who have preexisting conditions, preexisting lung disease, preexisting heart disease, immunosuppressed
patients, as well as healthy elderly. When we think about preparedness or protection,
I like to think of it as in three stages. One is the individual and what the individual
can do is use hand sanitizer or wash your hands in good old fashioned soap and water,
which is equally if not maybe more effective. One can cover their mouth with either a handkerchief
or your elbow when you're sneezing or coughing. One can practice social distancing if somebody
is ill. Apparently the spread is by droplets and heavy droplets will basically fall to
the floor after a couple of meters. But in saying that, the virus can live on tabletops
and keyboards, on cloth, for anywhere from several hours to even perhaps several days.
So being aware of your surroundings and being aware of your place in your surroundings.
Are you 80 years old? Do you have preexisting conditions? Have you been in contact with
somebody who's either traveled to an area where there's an outbreak, and that could
be even in the United States of course. So being aware of your surroundings and being
aware of your place in your surroundings, very important. That's what an individual
can do. What the community can do is be aware of folks in the community, people are who
more vulnerable, keep an eye out for them. Businesses in the community can actually put
in place work at home policies. And then of course the federal, state, and local governments
are very responsible for getting testing out and making countermeasures available when
they do become available. So preparedness is not just what you or I can do as an individual,
but what our communities and our culture can do as well as what our government can do.
So it's really an entire population that needs to be prepared.


An Infectious Disease Expert Weighs In On COVID-19

24 タグ追加 保存
林峰生 2020 年 3 月 28 日 に公開
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