What We’ve Learned About COVID-19
A Timeline of COVID-19
In December 2019, an outbreak of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) ensued in Wuhan, China, which lead to a global pandemic that supervened upon the year 2020. Due to the rapid spread of the virus, experts began to work tirelessly on gathering information and data about COVID-19 to navigate through the unpredictable impact in its entirety.
In March 2020, more than 120 countries reported confirmed cases and many, including the United States began to prohibit unnecessary travel and closed their borders to slow down the spread of Covid-19. Most people were quarantined in their homes for various periods of time and it was recommended or mandated to stay on lockdown, wear masks, follow strict safety procedures and protocols to assist in reducing the spread of the virus that was not yet fully understood.
The Major Differences
COVID-19 affects people in many ways. In the beginning, healthcare officials warned the public to be aware of symptoms including a fever, congestion, and shortness of breath. As the virus spread through a multitude of people, we began to realize that the virus was not strictly respiratory. Some symptoms that have since been reported were arrhythmias and heart attacks, a loss of taste or smell, damaged kidneys or livers, headaches, blood clots, rashes, swelling, and strokes.
Symptoms Known Then:
- Fever or Chills
- Shortness of Breath
Symptoms Known Now:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste or smell
- Blood clots
- Damaged kidneys or liver
- Heart attack
In early March, the CDC recommended only those infected or at high risk, and those caring for them should wear masks to reduce exposure. Later, the recommendation changed after studies showed that a large number of coronavirus patients are asymptomatic, and could transmit the virus unknowingly by coughing, sneezing, and speaking around others.
- Wear a mask if you are high risk
- Wear a mask if you are experiencing symptoms
- Wear a mask at all times when in public
- Wear a mask when around anyone not in your household
Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, the public has always been advised to take the precautionary measures of washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer regularly, coughing into your elbow, avoid touching your face, limit contact with those not in your own household, and to limit travel outside of your home – especially when experiencing symptoms.
When a virus is prefaced with “novel” like the novel Coronavirus COVID-19, that denotes the virus is new and therefore tests or vaccines do not yet exist. At this point testing is well underway, but when first started, samples were required to be collected via a nasopharyngeal swab. This swab would be inserted through the nasal passage along the nasal floor all the way back to the nasopharynx. This process is uncomfortable for the patient, and requires extensive PPE to be worn by the person collecting the sample as collection often leads to sneezing.
Collection Locations Then:
Collection Locations Now:
Luckily sample collection for testing has been expanded as testing assays have been developed to detect the novel Coronavirus in smaller amounts. Additionally transport media is being used to inactivate live samples to increase the safety of testers. You can read more about the different collection methods that can be used for a COVID-19 test on DTPM’s blog.
At the start of the global pandemic, there were several misconceptions about how the virus spread. Due to its rapid speed, experts had trouble keeping up with information. There was a lot of misconception on how long the virus could live on surfaces or if it is airborne or not. Experts are gathering the latest international multilingual scientific findings and knowledge on COVID-19.
What we knew then:
- Spread through respiratory droplets
- Live on metal and plastic surfaces for hours after contact
- Spread by symptomatic individuals coughing and sneezing
What we know now:
- Can be spread through airborne transmission in special circumstances
- Live on metal and plastic surfaces for two or three days
- Carried asymptomatically and spread unknowingly
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid those who have been exposed.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
What We Have Learned
Scientists and global health professionals have been working tirelessly to gather information and navigate through scientific findings that will help understand and treat COVID-19. In the United States, there is currently no authorized or approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19). However, according to the CDC, Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are under development, and as of October 13, 2020, four vaccines have begun large-scale (phase 3) clinical trials.
We have learned so much over the past eight months and gaining ground against this global pandemic. There have been great strides to develop more accurate and efficient testing options as well as the development of a safe and effective vaccine. COVID 19 has taken over 2020 and so many are making great strides to continue to discover as much as we can and as fast as we can, so we can save more lives.
How Tide Labs and DTPM Are Doing Their Part
Tide Labs has been working in conjunction with its partner company DTPM to perform testing for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). DTPM provides the testing supplies we need, including their EUA Approved SARS-CoV-2 Assay COVID-19 RT-PCR Test. Offering a multiplex option and our in-house PCR run time of less than an hour. Read more information about how DTPM is helping make strides with faster and more accurate testing options, or contact us about testing for COVID-19 today.