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40 Days in the Wilderness

Published on March 19th, 2020

Residents of nursing homes who have confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 may need to be isolated for nearly 40 days while undergoing treatment in order to prevent its spread.  Chinese researchers studying data from COVID-19 patients who have died or survived found that the median duration of viral shedding, and time that they remain infectious, was 20 days for survivors — with the longest duration being 37 days. Findings were published online in The Lancet medical journal.

Investigators argued that the prolonged viral shedding supports strategies that promote isolating infected patients and giving them optimal antiviral interventions to improve overall outcomes.

Three key factors are tied to mortality in adults with coronavirus, a study of hospitalized patients has found. Compared to survivors, patients who died were more likely to be older (average age 69 vs. 52), and to have confirmed signs of sepsis and blood clotting problems on admission. Other factors came into play as well, including the presence of underlying disease (such as high blood pressure and diabetes), and prolonged use of non-invasive ventilation, said co-author Zhibo Liu, from Jinyintan Hospital, China.

In general, age-related weakening of the immune system may be a culprit in these poor coronavirus outcomes, Liu added. Weak immunity may encourage the virus to grow, causing prolonged inflammation and lasting damage to the heart, brain, and other organs, he said.

 

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