As physicians and other health care workers struggle to care for patients with COVID-19, they are impressed with the virulence with which this infection ravages the bodies of some patients, particularly the elderly. For those who work in hospitals overrun with critically ill cases, it seems like the clinical picture unfolding in front of them is unprecedented — like something they’ve never seen before.
In some ways, this is true. But doctors have seen many of the individual features of this illness throughout their careers in infectious diseases and internal medicine. While every virus has its own profile, here are some features that, though seemingly new to the general public, are facets not necessarily unique to COVID-19.
Method of transmission
COVID-19’s primary methods of transmission are through direct contact and droplets, the same methods of transmission for the vast majority of viral infections like influenza and colds. Because of this familiarity, we know how to protect healthcare workers and others who come into close contact with people infected with this type of virus. The difference here is that when facilities get overwhelmed with high volumes of cases, they run out of two crucial things: the protective equipment and the time it takes to properly put it on and take it off.