Local doctors believe we are prepared for the new coronavirus

KELOLAND.com Original

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Overnight, more than 1,000 cases have been confirmed of the new coronavirus across the globe. The spread of the virus is something doctors in the United States are paying close attention to.

Wendell Hoffman is an infectious disease doctor for Sanford Health. He says because the U.S. has a sophisticated health care system, Americans are in better shape than most countries.

“Therefore, coronavirus in the United States is not going to be the same as the coronavirus in other locations,” Hoffman said.

Dr. Hoffman says Sanford doctors are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to a ‘T’. Hoffman also says Sanford is monitoring it, but there are other illnesses that are more concerning to him.

“Encourage people not to panic, go about their lives with the same kind of awareness that they should be with regards to the flu,” Hoffman said.

The flu has killed around 16,000 people this year. The coronavirus has killed less than 3,000.

“I’m far more concerned about the flu than I am about the coronavirus. That’s the message,” Hoffman said.

Jawad Nazir is a Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Avera. He also agrees the United States is well prepared for the coronavirus.

“We take care of patients on ventilators on a daily basis. We treat infections like tuberculosis frequently. So, I think the hospitals are very well equipped in case they have to take care of those complicated patients,” Nazir said.

Complicated patients could very well be anyone, but Nazir says those over the age of 80 and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

Dr. Nazir also says to remember that most of the patients infected with the coronavirus weren’t severe.

“Only a small proportion of those patients had severe disease, and among those patients, the ones who were elderly and had chronic medical conditions developed respiratory failures and required ventilators,” Nazir said.

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