The Rise of COVID – 19…Much of What We Know So Far

Thought to have originated from animals, the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China in
December of 2019. The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health
emergency in January of 2020 and a pandemic by March 11, 2020.
COVID-19 has been compared to the Spanish Flu, but due to an enormously larger world population and
much more frequent travel between countries, there really can be no comparison of the detriment that
this virus will cause. So far, there have been millions of COVID-19 cases and hundreds of thousands of
deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the United States alone.
We learn more about this insidious virus every day, and it is imperative to the well-being of our entire
world that we keep vigilant when it comes to research to uncover more about COVID-19, its causes,
testing, treatment and cure.
What we do know is that COVID-19 is much more contagious than the flu, spreading mainly person-to-
person by those infected through respiratory droplets and usually through close contact. COVID-19 can
be spread by those with or without symptoms. Additionally, the more time spent with those infected,
the higher the risk of infection rises.
We also know that COVID-19 can be spread by touching surfaces that have come in contact with the
virus and then touching one’s orifices including the eyes, nose and mouth. COVID-19 droplets can also
survive suspended within the air for a period of time. Infection in this manner is more probable in
enclosed areas, such as elevators and on mass transit. In addition, although these cases are not as
prevalent, COVID-19 is known to have spread from animal to human and human to animal.
COVID-19 can affect people in a variety of different ways. The abundantly wide range of symptoms
associated with COVID-19 can include, but are not limited to fever or chills, shortness of breath or
difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, problems waking
or staying awake, confusion or memory issues, headaches, body aches, loss of taste or smell, bluish lips
or face, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure
to the virus and can range from mild to severe or not all.
Older adults and those with underlying medical conditions, including heart and respiratory issues,
diabetes and obesity, are at higher risk of developing more serious complications from contracting
COVID-19. And the potential of the severity of this disease is extremely alarming. COVID-19 can cause
symptoms developing into septic shock, blood clots that can lead to amputation and multiple organ
failure. More specifically, the lungs are the organs most often affected, yet gastrointestinal organs can
also be compromised and COVID-19 can cause myocardial and liver injury as well. A common cause of
death due to COVID-19 complications is kidney-related issues, even in those people with no prior kidney
issues. COVID-19 can also manifest itself neurologically, in the form of seizures, stroke or encephalitis.
Children can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which can also be fatal.

Obviously, the long-term effects of COVID-19 are not yet known, which is also alarming due to the
insidious nature of this disease. However, it is thought possible that organ issues may develop or
continue to develop over time due to COVID-19.
The immune response to COVID-19 is still being meticulously researched, but so far we know that it is
similar to most infections in that is occurs with a combination of cell-mediated immunity and antibody
production. However, it remains to be seen if immunity is long-lasting, as those with recurring
symptoms are still being tested to determine if they were reinfected or simply suffering from a lingering
infection.
Current disease management includes isolation, symptom treatment and experimental measures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to protect against being
exposed to or spreading COVID-19 is to maintain social distance, cover your mouth and nose with a
mask when you are in close proximity to others, wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at
least 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol and disinfect frequently touched
surfaces often.
To protect humankind, we need to slow COVID-19, lessen its impact and institute preventions and
treatments as they become available. At this point, although scientists are working tirelessly to discover
helpful information in the battle against COVID-19, specific antiviral treatments of proven vaccines have
yet to be discovered.
We are, however, best armed against COVID-19 by keeping vigilant about epidemiology, which means
identifying the source of the outbreak in greater detail; monitoring and tracking the disease by
continually reporting different types of data including new cases, demographic information,
hospitalizations and deaths; and studying COVID-19 further through antibody and other testing to
discover how long those infected are contagious, uncover more details about the risk factors for severe
illness, and determine which medical treatments work best.
If you would like to find out more about COVID-19, you are welcome to contact Riverside Clinical
Research for more information. Riverside Clinical Research is an award winning medical research facility.
The Riverside Clinical Research team of professionals can be reached by calling 386-428-7730 Monday
through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can also reach Riverside
Clinical Research by email at info@riversideclinicalresearch.com. Riverside Clinical Research is
conveniently located at 1410 S. Ridgewood Avenue in Edgewater.