Will the Coronavirus in Boston Affect the SouthCoast?
With this weekend's news of the coronavirus diagnosis reaching Boston, we thought it might be helpful to once again check in with Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz. Dr. Lacerda is the Chairman of Infectious Prevention at Southcoast Health and gave us an overview of the new virus last week.
When we last spoke with Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz, he told us that his concern for the SouthCoast was rather low due to the fact that no one in the United States had contracted the virus from someone else in the United States. The circumstances, however, have changed since that last interview. There have been two confirmed cases of the coronavirus being transmitted from person to person within the United States.
We've also found out that a member of the UMass Boston community is in quarantine with the virus, and that it is unknown how many people that patient came in contact with since he arrived back in Boston from China.
"There have been about 14,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the world, and 304 deaths. You are looking at about a mortality rate of two percent," Dr. De La Cruz said. That being said, 98 percent of the people who have contracted this virus have managed to survive.
We asked the doctor if people who were in better physical health had a higher rate of survival. He told us that is something they are still looking into, but they do believe that to be the case. Typically, it was the older population, with people that may be dealing with other medical issues, who were the majority of the victims that were fatally hit with the sickness.
"Are you more likely to die of the regular flu or of the coronavirus?" I asked the doctor.
"From these numbers?" said the doctor, "In the same population, probably yes. The flu can kill many more elderly and chronically ill people, it seems."
He told us that he was no more concerned about the coronavirus and its potential effect on the SouthCoast any more today than he was last week.