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Preparing Your Patients for Coronavirus

As of 3/5/2020

With the growing prevalence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S., it is important for healthcare providers to be aware of who is most at risk for contracting the disease and developing severe or life-threatening illness, and to provide their patients with the information they need to protect themselves.

Plasma Products Remain Safe for Patients

With a continued focus on patient safety, FFF remains committed to supplying safe critical-care plasma products to healthcare providers nationwide. According to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA)1, the "outbreak is not a concern for the safety of plasma protein therapies manufactured by PPTA member companies." Additionally, "existing manufacturing methods provide significant safety margins"4 against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Who Is Most at Risk?

Research conducted over the three-month COVID-19 outbreak has revealed older adults, males and those with pre-existing illness and co-morbidities are most at risk.2

According to data from the China Center for Disease Control (CDC), the vast majority of cases (87 percent) were in people ages 30 years to 79 years. Overall, China CDC found 2.3 percent of confirmed cases in this age group died; however, the fatality rate was 14.8 percent in people age 80 years and older. It is believed the age-related risk is due to a weakened respiratory system, which has resulted in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Those who developed ARDS had an average age of 61 years, and half of ARDS patients died compared with only 9 percent of patients who did not develop ARDS.

The effect of sex suggests men are more susceptible to COVID-19 than women; however, data varies. China CDC found 106 men per even 100 women contracted the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) Mission found men make up 51 percent of cases. And, a study of COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China, through Jan. 29 found 58 percent were male. What's more is the fatality rate for men is worse: 2.8 percent for men versus 1.7 percent for women.

According to the first large study of COVID-19, researchers found those with underlying health issues had a 79 percent greater chance of requiring intensive care or a respirator or both, or of dying. And, co-morbidities also raised the risk of acquiring serious disease, with cancer raising the risk 3.5-fold, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 2.6-fold, and diabetes and hypertension by about 60 percent. Even worse, co-morbidities raise the risk of dying from COVID-19. The fatality rate in people with no other health conditions was just 0.9 percent, whereas it was 10.5 percent for those with cardiovascular disease, 7.3 percent with diabetes, 6.3 percent with chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD, 6.0 percent with hypertension and 5.6 percent with cancer.

WHO and CDC Guidelines

On Feb. 28, 2020, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus held a media briefing to advise what countries must do to help prevent onward transmission of COVID-19.3 "It calls for all countries to educate their populations, to expand surveillance, to find, isolate and care for every case, to trace every contact, and to take an all-of-government and all-of-society approach — this is not a job for the health ministry alone."

To help providers assist patients in the prevention and spread of COVID-19, WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest patients be provided with the following guidelines:

  • If you are sick (cough/fever), don't go to work or school. Stay home and contact your primary care physician for guidance.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating or after coughing/sneezing. Singing "Happy Birthday" two times through is about 20 seconds. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face/nose/eyes.
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue and immediately dispose of the tissue and wash your hands. If a tissue is unavailable, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Use of facemasks:
    • CDC does not recommend the use of masks for the general public.
    • Facemasks should be worn by people with known COVID-19 infection.
    • Healthcare providers should wear masks in accordance with CDC recommendations when providing care to someone known to have COVID-19.
  • If you believe you may have COVID-19, contact your primary care physician for guidance.

Stay Informed About COVID-19

Please refer to CDC and WHO for additional up-to-date information on COVID-19.


References:

1. New Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and Plasma Protein Therapies (updated Feb. 17, 2020).
Accessed at https://www.pptaglobal.org/media-and-information/ppta-statements/1055-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-and-plasma-protein-therapies.

2. Begley, S. Who Is Getting Sick, and How Sick? A Breakdown of Coronavirus Risk by Demographic Factors. STAT, March 3, 2020.
Accessed at https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/03/who-is-getting-sick-and-how-sick-a-breakdown-of-coronavirus-risk-by-demographic-factors.

3. WHO Director-General's Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID-19, Feb. 28, 2020.
Accessed at https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---28-february-2020.

4. Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings (updated Feb. 21, 2020).
Accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/infection-control/control-recommendations.html