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ER Doctor Breaks Down COVID-19 for AP Statistics Students
ER Doctor Breaks Down COVID-19 for AP Statistics Students

In between her hectic shifts as an emergency room medical resident, Dr. Jackie Anderson Zoomed into EA's AP Statistics class on Tuesday, April 7.

Dr. Anderson shared her experiences on the frontline treating patients with COVID-19 and some of the statistics associated with the current pandemic. Dr. Anderson stated that out of an abundance of caution, "I assume everyone is infected, even if they come in for toe pain."

Along with discussing COVID-19, Dr. Anderson also highlighted the results of the retrospective studies that are being conducted on available data, and her experience with COVID-19 as an ER doctor.

Class started with the question, "What exactly is coronavirus?

"Coronavirus is an enveloped virus," explained Dr. Anderson. " 'Corona' means crown in Spanish and describes the spike glycoproteins on its surface that it uses to attach to cells it is planning to attack. It hijacks the host cell, stops the cell's normal defense mechanisms and tells it to make more virus particles."

Dr. Anderson explained that there are currently several types of coronavirus that affect humans, three originate in animals.

A student asked, "Did this originate from a bat?" Dr. Anderson replied, "Researchers believe it did."

Scientists are also looking at pangolins as an immediate host between bats and humans. "A 2013 CNN report called pangolins 'the most trafficked animal you have ever heard of,' " shared Dr. Anderson.

"It's very important that you stay home right now because you could be an asymptomatic carrier," shared Dr. Anderson. "The incubation period for the flu is one to four days. Scientists currently suspect it is up to 14-days for COVID-19."

Students analyzed the spread of the disease in Pennsylvania and worldwide and also compared statistics, including incubation time, of the seasonal flu to COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the case fatality rate for the seasonal flu is 0.1% or less. The current rate for COVID-19 is estimated to be at least 1%. "As of April 6, Philadelphia had 3,728 cases compared to 637 ten days before," pointed out Dr. Anderson. "As an ER doctor, we are now seeing more and more cases."

Another student inquired, "Do you think it's likely this will be recurring? We will have to get coronavirus shots?" "We don't know. Is this virus going to mutate? I like to find hope in that China is not reporting any new cases," said Dr. Anderson.

There are simple things students can do to help. "Let's all stay safe and out of the emergency department," urged Dr. Anderson. "Wash your hands, don't touch your mask once it is on, and please no hanging out with friends, no dangerous activities. We don't want you to end up in the ER with a broken leg."

Her final, and perhaps most important message to students, "reach out to support each other and take care of yourself!" said Dr. Anderson.

Dr. Jackie Anderson is a third year Emergency Medicine Resident in Philadelphia and is the daughter of EA Academic Dean, Chris Anderson.