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 February 27, 2021. As of February 27, 2021 there are a total of 113,727,033 global cases with 2,523,703 mortalities. A total of 28,544,890 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 511,776 deaths in the United States. In India, there have been 11,079,979 cases with with an associated 156,938 mortalities. In Brazil, there have been a total of 10,517,232 cases with an associated 254,221 mortalities. In Russia, there have been 4,187,166 cases with an associated 84,330 mortalities. In the United Kingdom, there have been 4,182,722 cases with an associated 122,939 mortalities. In France, there have been 3,747,263 cases with an associated 85,741 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

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