Facebook has become a hub for both doctors and patients to share their experience managing the life amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
As the number of cases tops 1,000 in the United States, a woman from Seattle has shared her experience being diagnosed with and getting treated for the coronavirus.
Elizabeth Schneider, who describes herself as being in her mid-30s, says she was tested positive by the Seattle Flu Study. Schneider says that she most likely picked up the virus from a cocktail party she had attended on February 22. She says that the week after the party, she fell sick—claiming that about 40 per cent of the attendees also caught the virus as well.
“The media tells you to wash your hands and avoid anyone with symptoms. I did. There is no way to avoid catching this except avoiding all other humans,” she wrote in the post.
Both the World Health Organisation and Centre for Disease Control have advocated hand-washing as a means of protecting oneself from the coronavirus. The WHO recommendation is to wash for at least 20 seconds.
Studies have shown that coronaviruses like SARS, MERS and hCOV can persist on inanimate surfaces for at least nine days. The likeliest point of contact for a person is one’s hands, which is why US helath secretary Matt Hancock has called washing one’s hands regularly “the single most important thing that an individual can do.”
Schneider says that the symptoms can vary depending on a person’s constitution or age, describing how her friends had symptoms including headache, fever, severe body aches, joint pain, fatigue, nasal congestion and sore throat, itchy cough, chest tightness and other respiratory symptoms. She says that since she and many other people did not have respiratory symptoms, they were likely to be refused testing by government agencies. Her participation in the Seattle Flu Study was the reason she was diagnosed.
A review of literature on the coronavirus published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that fever, cough and shortness of breath were the most common symptoms.
Schneider says that as of March 9, it had been 13 days since her symptoms began and 72 hours since her fever subsided. Based on King County Public Health Department recommendations, she stayed isolated for seven days after the start or symptoms and 72 hours from the end of the fever. As a result, she says she is not longer isolating herself.
She ended the post calling for people to get tested “sooner rather than later”.
Recommended isolation periods can vary depending on the country. In Kerala, the isolation requirement for confirmed cases is 28 days from the first day of hospitalisation or 14 days from the last negative result, which ever is later.
Schneider also shared her story with Seattle-based King 5 News. Washington state has 269 confirmed cases and 22 related deaths.
Another viral Facebook post, one by doctor Abdu Shakawy, warned the public to take the virus seriously but in a rational manner.