The first case of Coronavirus (Covid -19) was detected around the 17th November 2019 although the Chinese quote December 8th.The scientific evidence suggests that there was a jump across species from bats to humans around this time. On 12th January 2020 the WHO announced the detection of a new respiratory virus in the Wuhan region of China. The first UK transmitted case was confirmed on the 28th February 2020 and on 11th March 2020 the WHO classified this as a pandemic. The UK government implemented a lockdown on 23rd March 2020 and we are now coming out of the 1st lockdown. Initial estimates from Imperial college suggested that upto 500,000 people could have died from coronavirus in the UK but as we approach the end of lockdown I we are currently looking at around 60,000 excess deaths (36,000 with confirmed coronavirus infection).
What do we know about this virus? We know that it is an RNA virus and that it affects the respiratory system in patients causing a severe pneumonia that results in death in 1-2% of overall cases. However, children do not appear to be significantly affected whilst 14% of those over 80 years of age will die.
There is no effective treatment that has been identified and alot of work is going into both vaccine development and exploration of treatment regimes to help treat patients with active infection. This includes looking at hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and treatments that were originally developed to treat Ebola virus.
Economically, there is a balance between turning the country “off” to control the transmission of the virus and the economic consequences both nationally and individually. We have already seen scenes of unrest in Italy where unemployment begins to have an impact on social order. So we are now seeing the first phase of lockdown easing. This will most likely result in a second wave, very similar to what happened following the Spanish flu pandemic at the end of the first world war. The hope is that we now have the health resources to treat sick patients and the systems in place to help the country to continue to operate.
The Children’s e-Hospital will keep you up-to-date with the latest advances in treatment and research progress. This will include updates on vaccine production and also the different treatment regimes that are being evaluated.