Albany Med infection specialist talks latest on coronavirus with News10

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While local health departments keep tabs on individuals coming home from travel to high-risk areas, medical experts continue working to understand the novel coronavirus.

“Right now we know it spreads similar to like how other respiratory virus is spread, so through coughing, sneezing, or contact with those secretions from people,” Megan Helmecke, Infection Preventionist in the Department of Epidemiology at Albany Medical Center tells News10.

Helmecke says it’s still being studied whether the virus is also airborne.

It’s been reported that around 2 percent of coronavirus cases have ended in death.

“Experts are starting to argue that it’s probably even a little bit lower than that, because you have to remember, we are only seeing the severest of the severe cases. Those are the ones that are getting hospitalized and tested,” Helmecke said.”

And when compared to other diseases, like measles, Helmecke says the rate at which the disease is passed is fairly low.

“R Naught is the factor they use to say: so one person who is infected, how many people are they likely to infect? Originally, we thought coronavirus was looking to be about two,” Helmecke said.

She says the R Naught factor for measles can be around 8 or 10, depending on population density.

There is still much to understand about the virus, and Helmecke says companies are working on a vaccine, but it will likely take many months.

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