Highland Family Medicine doctor helps us understand the threat of Coronavirus


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dr. Jeff Harp of Highland Family Medicine discussed the Coronavirus, its spread, and what you need to know about it Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“Actually, there’s not one coronavirus, there’s a whole bunch of coronaviruses,” explained Dr. Harp. “They basically range from the common cold to very serious diseases like this SARS thing that just happened, MERS, and what we’re having right now. So, it’s a whole family of one type of virus.”

The current strain, COVID-19, originated in China. When it comes to symptoms, Dr. Harp said they’re not dissimilar to the common cold. “So look for cough, fever, and trouble breathing. But the trouble is with some of these viruses, like the one that we’re seeing here, it can go on to very serious diseases like pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death.”

Dr. Harp said this strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19, has been identified in 32 countries. “We’re learning more about exactly how deadly it is at this point. So at one point, it seemed like a lot of people who were getting it were getting very seriously ill. Now, it looks like perhaps about 2% of the people who get the disease will eventually succumb to it, die from it, which is a lot less serious. For example, the Middle Eastern virus that was around a couple years ago, it was about a third of people that got it would die from it.”

Fear of Coronavirus and its impact has been reflected across the global economy and in the actions of individual people. Some have taken to wearing masks as a preventative measure. “It’s serious if one’s exposed to it,” noted Dr. Harp. “It’s not as contagious as many viruses, but it’s also preventable through the same kind of way that you would prevent the common cold. So we recommend that people take precautions. Obviously, traveling to China right now is not really the thing to do. Don’t go outside when you’re sick. Don’t hang around sick people. If you’re sneezing or someone’s sneezing, you know, cover the sneeze. Throw out the stuff that you use to clean it up. And then just use common sense in terms of, you know, touching objects, cleaning surfaces, that sort of thing.”

If you want to learn more about Coronavirus and the current strain, COVID-19, Dr. Harp said go online to cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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