Duration of quarantine in hospitalized patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection: a question needing an answer

Published:March 06, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2020.03.003
      In December 2019, a new form of pneumonia was observed in Hubei Province, China [
      • Zhu N.
      • Zhang D.
      • Wang W.
      • Li X.
      • Yang B.
      • Song J.
      • et al.
      A novel coronavirus from patients with pneumonia in China, 2019.
      ]. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) was subsequently found to be responsible for this condition, defined as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) [
      • World Health Organization
      ]. The virus has now spread outside Chinese borders with 82,297 cases and 2804 deaths worldwide as of 26th February 2020 [ ]. After infection, symptoms appear after an incubation time of 3–5 days, with 80% of those infected developing mild disease, 15% developing severe disease, and 5% requiring support in an intensive care unit (ICU) [
      • Wu Z.
      • McGoogan J.M.
      Characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in China. Summary of a report of 72 314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
      ]. Overall, the estimated case-fatality rate is between 0.4% and 2.9% and the basic reproduction number is approximately 3.28 [
      • Wu Z.
      • McGoogan J.M.
      Characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in China. Summary of a report of 72 314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
      ,
      • Liu Y.
      • Gayle A.A.
      • Wilder-Smith A.
      • Rocklöv J.
      The reproductive number of COVID-19 is higher compared to SARS coronavirus.
      ]. SARS-CoV-2 is a new pathogen for humans and no immune protection exists; as such, everybody can be potentially infected. Moreover, no primary prophylaxis measures (vaccination) or effective treatments are available. If the above percentages are applied to the worldwide population, it appears clear why all measures should be considered to avoid further spread of the virus and prevention of the saturation and collapse of health systems and the most catastrophic pandemic since 1919 Spanish flu.
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