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Doctors say this is not the time to panic over coronavirus

For fact not fear, we turned to two experts at Tulane

NEW ORLEANS — There are 59 cases of the new coronavirus in the U.S. None of them are in Louisiana. 

Right now we know that a team of Tulane scientists is working on tests and vaccines for the new coronavirus. They just got delivery of the first samples at the Primate Center on the north shore.

And they tell us the NIH is testing a specific anti-viral medication that treated the Ebola outbreak to see if it works on coronavirus. Antibiotics do not work on this or any viruses

For fact not fear, we turned to two experts at Tulane, Dr. Maureen Lichtveld who worked at the CDC for 18 years and Dr. Tony Hu. He's working on a better test to know if people have the new coronavirus.

Do masks or bandanas on you face work?

No, only masks marked N95 work.

How is it spread? 

Cough and sneeze, or touching the virus left on a surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. We don't know, but the virus may be able to live for nine days on a surface.

The doctors say wash hand frequently. Do not share drinks. Avoid large gatherings.

What kills it on a surface? 

Wiping it down with a 75% alcohol solution.

Can it go through the AC systems in buildings? 

It appears it might. When on planes, some people avoid opening the air vent above them as a precaution.

Is 14 days long enough to quarantine someone? 

It might not be. Only 40 percent of people with the virus show fever early on.

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Some people did not test positive for the virus until 30 to 41 days after exposure.  That is why Dr. Hu is working on a more sensitive diagnostic test.

"For any type of disease, if you can identify the pathogen, then you can treat them better," said Dr. Tony Hu, of Tulane's Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department.

"Are we worried? Yes, but we need to put things in perspective. This year alone we have the second highest number of children dying  from the flu on the record, so we should take the flu a lot more serious," said Dr. Maureen Lichtveld of the Tulane Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences.

And she says this is not the time to panic. The U.S. health system and specialists who care for the people infected, are far better than other countries.

The death rate for the novel coronavirus is around two percent.

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