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  • Will Huang, MD

Coronavirus in Orange County, CA ??!

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Many have asked me about the current coronavirus (COVID-19) scare. No doubt it's scary given report of more and more people around the world getting infected and dying from the infection. Fortunately, best we know at this time, despite our large Asian population, there is NO evidence of any person-to-person transmission in Orange County, yet. Public Health has been aggressive in identifying persons who have been potentially exposed and imposing quarantine on those folks.

What we know so far about this virus:

Mask may help, but don't count on it!

This one is from me: As evidence shows, transmission of this virus will most likely come from someone that you least expect to give it to you. Healthcare workers should wear masks working around patients, but for the rest of general public, it's probably overkill, unless there has been widespread person-to-person transmission in the community.

Bottom line: If COVID-19 starts to spread in your community, the best thing to do is really self-imposed isolation, avoid exposure in public, and indeed if possible, avoid exposure to ANYONE. The ocean is the best barrier. Temporary restriction of travel is the best way to stop transmission and turning it into a pandemic. Anyone with potential exposure needs to be subjected to a 14-day quarantine, and then tested to make sure he/she does not carry the virus before returning to the general population.

China clearly paid the price of initial ignorance. Continued inadequate isolation procedures as have occurred aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in Iran, and Daegu South Korea have led to exploding spread of disease. Officials at the Federal level appear to have thus far, done all the right things to contain the disease by keeping quarantine facilities in military bases, away from populations centers. The Defense Department's move to force relocation of people under quarantine from Travis Air Force Base to Costa Mesa is an unnecessarily risky step, and may create the spark all this virus needs to start spreading in the United States.

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