Health & Fitness News

Coronavirus and the Cancer Patient

We talked to each other at a distance of eight feet. She was feeling well, and fortunately her labs were stable. Not normal, and not even that great, but not worse, meaning the chemotherapy was still holding her leukemia at bay, and not so low that she needed a transfusion. We spent a few minutes discussing Covid-19, the precautions she was already taking, and what measures she could put in place to protect her further.

Then I washed my hands and began a weak approximation of a physical examination, to minimize the amount of time I had direct contact with her.

Whereas normally I cradle my patients’ arms and walk them to the exam table to make sure they don’t lose their balance along the way, I left her to her own devices.

Whereas normally I palpate a person’s neck, searching for lymph nodes, I tried to do this instead

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Despite Promises, Testing Delays Leave Americans ‘Flying Blind’

Wendy Bost, a spokeswoman for Quest, which introduced its coronavirus tests on March 9, said the company had ramped up its testing and could now process more than 35,000 tests per day — over 200,000 each week — at its 12 labs around the country. Last week, Quest asked hospitals to identify health care workers and symptomatic patients for priority processing and she said the company was providing results now on an average of a day for that population.

To date, Quest has processed nearly 550,000 coronavirus tests, Ms. Bost said. The current turnaround time for other patients, she said, is now two to three days although she acknowledged there was a longer wait in the areas most affected, like Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Miami.

LabCorp has four labs running, also averaging about 35,000 to 40,000 coronavirus tests each day, the company said. Mike Geller, a LabCorp spokesman,

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Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome

A virus is “simply a piece of bad news wrapped up in protein,” the biologists Jean and Peter Medawar wrote in 1977.

In January, scientists deciphered a piece of very bad news: the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The sample came from a 41-year-old man who worked at the seafood market in Wuhan where the first cluster of cases appeared.

Researchers are now racing to make sense of this viral recipe, which could inspire drugs, vaccines and other tools to fight the ongoing pandemic.

A String of RNA

Viruses must hijack living cells to replicate and spread. When the coronavirus finds a suitable cell, it injects a strand of RNA that contains the entire coronavirus genome.

The genome of the new coronavirus is less than 30,000 “letters” long. (The human genome is over 3 billion.) Scientists have identified genes for as many as 29 proteins, which

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How Coronavirus Attacks the Body

You’re looking at a virtual reality image of a coronavirus patient at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. The patient is a generally healthy 59-year-old man with high blood pressure. Just days before this image was created, he was asymptomatic. But now, those green areas show where the infection has damaged tissue in the lungs. For many, Covid-19 will be mild, but for others it’s deadly. This video is about the latter path: How the virus kills. We’ll start in China: 191 confirmed Covid-19 patients were in a hospital in Wuhan — 54 died. Of those 54, 50 had a condition known as ARDS, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. It’s a condition that stops oxygen from reaching the organs. “You have air hunger.” “It means that they can’t breathe.” “There’s a very strong correlation between the people who develop ARDS and the people who die.” ARDS is not unique to Covid-19.

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