Dr. John Sinnott, an infectious disease specialist at Tampa General Hospital and Chair of the College of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida, provided a briefing on the novel coronavirus affecting the globe in a presentation at the Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday.
Dr. Sinnott’s presentation detailed what information is available, as well as what is still unknown about the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
COVID-19 was first detected in December in Wuhan, China. Currently, more than 71,000 individuals across the globe are infected, with the vast majority of those in China.
While most recover, about 2.5% of cases result in pneumonia, and half of those are fatal. To date, it has been reported that 1,775 with the illness have died. Sinnott expressed confidence that the outcome would be better in the United States due to advanced medical care available here.
As of Tuesday, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida. Floridians are far more likely to become ill with influenza, according to Sinnott.
There have been at least 26 million cases of the flu nationwide this season, resulting in 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Everyone should have a flu shot,” Sinnott said. “It can prevent the virus, reduce the severity of the symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness.”
Sinnott also advised Floridians to:
— Wash their hands
— Clean surfaces
— Seek medical care it they experience fever or shortness of breath
— Stay home from school and work if they suspect they are ill
Regarding COVID-19, Sinnott says “the future is unpredictable.”
Sinott said that knowledge is critical to stop infection. He pointed to trusted news sources, including the CDC and the Florida Department of Health, to understand infections such as the flu and COVID-19.
Misinformation contributes to the spread of diseases when individuals are not taking the proper precautions, he said.