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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Turn up your sound to hear answers from OU Medicine’s Chief of Infectious Diseases Dr. Douglas Drevets’ afternoon press conference regarding COVID19 in Oklahoma.
HOW CONTAGIOUS IS COVID19?
“On average, one case of COVID19 is going to spread to 3 other individuals, and cause 3 other cases.”
HOW LONG WITH THE VIRUS LIVE ON CERTAIN SURFACES?
“So, the length of time that the virus persists on any given material depends upon a whole variety of factors, it depends upon the heat, and the humidity, as well as the type of material. On average, stainless steel, it may last for up to two days, so you have to be thinking about the one to two day range on most surfaces that you’re going to touch with your hands. In general, most people are going to be infected by person-to-person spread, so the droplets that you may inhale or come in contact with, when someone else is speaking, talking, or probably coughing, that’s much more likely than your picking up a newspaper that somebody touched a day ago.”
ARE MEN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO DYING THAN WOMEN?
“Nationally and worldwide, males tend to have a higher death rate than females. We are also seeing that here in Oklahoma, although our numbers are still small, and so, stay tuned, there’s more to come.”
WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GAIN CONTROL OF THE VIRUS AND RETURN TO LIFE AS NORMAL?
“Life will be a new normal, we can see that from historical reports of the 1918 pandemic. It will change things. The things that we need to gain control are several, first of all, there’s robust testing, and by robust testing, I mean ten to 100 times the capability that we have right now. This is not just in Oklahoma, but it’s also nationally. We also need effective drugs and those are being worked on very rapidly. We need a good vaccine, that’s still a minimum of a year, a year-and-a-half out. And then we just need a tincture of time.”
GOVERNOR STITT SAID LAST WEEK THAT HE EXPECTED THAT CASES WERE ALREADY AROUND 500 THEN AND COULD GO INTO THE THOUSANDS. WHAT DO YOU SUSPECT OUR TRUE NUMBERS ARE NOW AND HOW HIGH TO YOU ESTIMATE THEM TO REACH?
“This is somewhat of a guess, there are studies from China suggesting that they only identified 15 percent of all the case of infection in China and that was using much more widespread testing than we have here in Oklahoma, so I am guessing that we’re identifying one out of every ten. Right now we’re just under 500 cases, so I would estimate that the true number is somewhere close to 5,000.”
CAN YOU CONTRACT THE VIRUS A SECOND TIME?
“Nobody knows if you can be clinically ill a second time after recovery from COVID19. People are desperately looking at that question and I suspect that will be answered probably by the end of the month or next month. In general, there is reasonable data to suggest that once you had the illness, you do develop a degree of immunity so that you do overcome it. Now, I did see data this morning that after individuals have cleared the virus from their respiratory secretions, they were retested several weeks later and then also had evidence of the virus at that time. So, it’s hard to know if that’s reinfection or if it’s just viral footprints and does not indicate that the person was infected a second time.”
IF THERE IS A VENTILATOR SHORTAGE, CAN CPAP MACHINES HELP AT ALL?
“I know that in the hospital we use something similar to CPAP called BI-PAP, and BI-PAP can often be used as an intermediate device to prevent somebody from needing a ventilator. That said, if you need a ventilator because of the oxygen requirements or other requirements, I don’t believe a BI-PAP or a CPAP machine would work.”