2019-Coronavirus: What Clinicians Need to Know

Concern continues to grow regarding the rapid spread and clinical effects of the 2019 novel coronavirus first described in Wuhan, China. According to report from the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 7818 confirmed cases of infection towards the end of January 2020. This quickly exceeded 120,000 cases as of March 12, 2020.[1] The COVID-19 outbreak quickly changed from a global emergency of international concern to a global pandemic as declared by WHO on March 11, 2020.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 coincided with China's Lunar New Year, its busiest travel period of the year. Travelers were faced with the daunting decision of whether to forgo national celebrations given the risk for infection and the CDC’s level 3 warning to avoid nonessential travel to China.  At the time, the Chinese government had already shut down all transportation in the city of Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province.

Many more individuals might still develop an infection with the COVID-19 as incubation period of the virus is currently estimated to range from 1-14 days. However, more detailed information from those already infected is needed to determine the infectious period of the virus. One key question is whether the virus can be transmitted during the incubation period or from an asymptomatic person. The WHO and CDC continue to monitor this rapidly advancing situation and have provided interim guidelines to aid healthcare professionals in the diagnosis and management of this infection. The WHO has published updated advice for international travel on their website.[2] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Huge knowledge gaps remain on the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory and radiological characteristics of this virus. The goal of this clinical brief is to provide information to healthcare professionals on quick facts they need to know to manage this outbreak.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to: 
  • Distinguish the most common presenting symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus
  • Identify current recommendations to prevent the potential spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the healthcare setting
  • Outline implications for the healthcare team