EVMS plans panel on coronavirus for Thursday


UPDATE Thursday: The coronavirus event at EVMS for Thursday night has been canceled and will be rescheduled, according to EVMS.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected more than 75,000.

Most cases are in China, but doctors worldwide are starting to worry as new information emerges that people with no symptoms are spreading it.

“The disturbing thing is that it’s much harder to control if you don’t have people with symptoms,” said doctor Edward Oldfield, an infectious disease expert with Eastern Virginia Medical School.

“And there’s nobody that has immunity to this, and so it could rage through the entire population,” he told WAVY.com.

The elderly appear to be most at-risk. Oldfield shared more new information from a study of 4,000 infected people. No one under the age of 10 died, but the virus did kill 15 percent of those over the age of 80 who got the virus.

While Oldfield insists he wouldn’t worry much here in Hampton Roads right now, public health and emergency managers always plan for the worst.

“We’re all one team the ports, Coast Guard, schools, airport… they’re all doing surveillance and that information gets to Norfolk public health so they can identify early on what may be coming our way,” Norfolk Emergency Preparedness ad Response Director Jim Redick told WAVY.

Hospitals and clinics are also doing surveillance, asking sick people whether they’ve recently traveled to China.

If so, they’ll get a mask and a test.

“It seems like we can control it. It looks like its about as infectious as the flu,” Oldfield said. You can protect yourself the same way you would for the flu as well, by covering coughs and sneezes and washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizers.

Oldfield and Redick will be among the speakers Thursday night at a public health event about the coronavirus.

It’s called “Don’t Let Misconceptions Eclipse the Truth” and will feature a panel of public health experts.

It’s happening at 6 p.m. in Lester Hall at EVMS. To attend, RSVP to mphinfo@evms.edu or call 757-446-6120.

You can check out the coronavirus tracking map here.

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