Getting the facts on COVID-19

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sheryl Henderson talks about COVID-19

By Jonathan Gramling, Capital City Hues

For the past 25 years, Dr. Sheryl Henderson, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. She’s been in the field for over 25 years and did a fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta where she got an understanding on how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control — also based in Atlanta — tracks diseases looking at the large-scale in how transmission occurs.

Henderson and the staff at UW Hospital and the medical school have been putting in extra time as they treat present cases and prepare for any eventuality during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 stands for COVID-19 stands for COronaVIrus Disease-2019.

While for most of us COVID-19 is a strange new virus that suddenly appeared and has taken the world by storm. Henderson and her colleagues have known about corona viruses for some time.

“There are a few that have been circulating around humans for many years that we’ve known about that mainly cause a cold,” Henderson said. “It’s a respiratory virus. Based on that it means it causes sneezing, and coughing. It can affect the lungs sometimes. But it is in the same class. In general, it shares most of the same DNA and it is a similar structure. But if people remember the SARS back in 2003-2004, that was also a corona virus. It did not get into this country. It was fairly well contained. But it was a significantly serious virus related to the corona virus and caused a high mortality among people. COVID is actually the official name for it. It
is basically the second SARS virus.”

Because of its highly infectious nature that has caused it to spread rapidly, the scientific community has been playing catch-up on the specific nature of this corona virus and how to prevent it. Things have been evolving rapidly and so the information on prevention has rapidly evolved as well. Read more …