COVID-19: The Global Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have identified an outbreak of respiratory illnesses caused by a novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China. The WHO Director-General announced at a media briefing that the COVID-19 outbreak has been classified as a pandemic. This post is being updated as of April 4, 2021. As of April 4, 2021 there are a total of 130,806,979 global cases with 2,847,093 mortalities. A total of 30,671,842 cases have been reported in the United States, which surpasses the total number of cases reported anywhere else in the world. There have been a total of 554,779 deaths in the United States. In Brazil, there have been 12,953,597 cases with with an associated 330,193 mortalities. In India, there have been a total of 12,485,509 cases with an associated 164,623 mortalities. In France, there have been 4,802,545 cases with an associated 96,439 mortalities. In the Russia, there have been 4,529,576 cases with an associated 98,713 mortalities. In the United Kingdom, there have been 4,371,393 cases with an associated 127,068 mortalities. The Johns Hopkins map reports updated data on the current case count around the world.

The mode of transmission of COVID-19 is by respiratory aerosol and is spread from person-to-person. The signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 are variable and can mimic many other illnesses. According to the CDC,  the following signs and symptoms are associated with COVID-19 at time of illness onset: fever, constant or intermittent (77–98%), cough (46%–82%), myalgia or fatigue (11–52%), and shortness of breath (3-31%). The CDC also noted that while fever was present in only 44% of patients at the time of hospital admission, 89% of patients became febrile during their admission. Other possible symptoms include sore throat, headache, productive cough, nausea, and diarrhea.

Please visit this post for more detailed information on laboratory testing. In addition to the PCR test, the CDC notes other common laboratory abnormalities found in patients with COVID-19. These include: leukopenia (9–25%), leukocytosis (24–30%), lymphopenia (63%), elevated alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels (37%), thrombocytopenia (36%), and leukopenia (34%).

For all new and updating information concerning the COVID-19 global pandemic, refer to the AccessMedicine COVID-19 Central channel (and "watch" the channel to receive alerts when new and updating information arrives).

Julie Grishaw, ACNP

Senior Editor, McGraw-Hill Education