Local February 9, 2020 | 8:20 am

They call on Dominican society to remain calm against coronavirus

Dania Torres

SANTO DOMINGO. – The republic remains free of diagnosis of patients with coronavirus 2019-nCoV, so its citizens must remain calm and avoid promoting panic with erroneous information.

“The virus may arrive, but we currently have no diagnosed patients, we have no danger and now it does not represent a threat,” said Dania Torres, an infectious pediatrician and professor at the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC) during a talk with Medical students of the academy.

The doctor recalled that, like other viruses, it has no cure and its code was delivered by China to the United States, Australia, and Germany for the creation of a vaccine. “No virus has a cure, so what is the terror we have. People are more likely to die from a cardiovascular event than from being infected by a coronavirus.”

Upon its reproduction, the INTEC teacher said that so far more than 24,000 cases and about 490 deaths have been reported, of which only two occurred outside of China. However, he emphasized that there have been no reports of patients with coronavirus 2019-nCoV under 35 years of age and their lethality is associated with comorbidities, that is, the presence of a disease before contracting the virus.

“Each virus has a basic reproduction number and in this case the coronavirus 2019-nCoV has a reproduction of 1.4 to 2.5 that is, that a person can infect three, however, in the chickenpox virus it is 11,” Torres highlighted.

The INTEC teacher explained that there are currently 39 strains of different coronaviruses, of which seven have affected humans and only Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and now the coronavirus 2019- nCoV They have caused massive mortality.

“The first coronaviruses to appear were the SARS, in 2003, which had a lethality of 10%, and the MERS, in 2012, with a lethality of 34.4%, while that of the 2019-nCoV is only 3%”, pondered Torres.

The teacher said that coronaviruses have a different genetics because they make a leap from animals to humans, therefore, absolutely no one has a defense mechanism, that is, the entire population is susceptible to infection.

The doctor said that the emergency call issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) means that there is a possible pandemic and this implies that the coordination is directed by the organization and that countries must report the presence of cases.

About the symptoms before a contagion, the doctor explained that there is an elevated fever greater than 38.5 degrees Celsius (101.3°F), cough and shortness of breath, headache, renal failure, vomiting, diarrhea, and once the first step to be detected is to isolate the patient, keep it hydrated and wear N95 or N91 masks.

As for the indicated medications, the infectologist said that “definitely in the previous outbreaks in both MERS and SARS, two antiretroviral drugs lopinavir and ritonavir were used empirically and this was apparently successful.”

Distribution of 2019 nCoV cases

Dr. Emilce Medina, a specialist in epidemiology, understands that the rapid dispersion of the coronavirus is due to the fact that internal migratory movements in China are difficult to control and put into a ban.

“In the 71 years of existence of the World Health Organization, they have issued six global emergencies,” said Dr. Medina, while stressing that this entity informs the population before health problems affect it.

The teacher of INTEC said that the Dominican Republic has the capacity and experience to address cases that may arise.

“Public risk communication activities to improve public awareness and the adoption of self-protection measures must be effective if the message is carried correctly and before the problem arrives. I have not seen the first message of alert communication, not alarm about how to act before the announcement of the virus in the country,” Medina said.

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