Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. The novel coronavirus is a new strain, not previously identified in humans. Covid-19 is the infectious disease caused by the latest discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus through inhaling small droplets from people with COVID-19 who cough or sneeze or through touching contaminated surfaces. COVID-19 is a new kind of illness caused by a virus. People can carry and spread the virus without feeling sick. It causes fever, coughing, and trouble breathing. Anyone can get sick from COVID-19, but people who are older than 65 and people of any age who have a serious chronic disease are the most likely to become very ill or die. Making healthier choices every day can help people prevent and improve their chronic disease as well as their well-being, overall. Some of the most important healthy choices include quitting tobacco use, getting more physical activity, and eating nutritious meals and snacks. Covid-19 has demonstrated the grave need for us to invest in chronic disease prevention and support by building stronger, deeper relationships with patients and families, and by focusing more on the environmental, social, and psychological factors that lead to chronic disease and impact long-term disease management. In a post-Covid-19 world, doctors can be supported by virtual teams of care management nurses, health coaches, health navigators, and use telehealth technologies to help patients with their daily challenge living with chronic conditions. We can pay for these new virtual clinical services from the savings we will get by reducing costly hospital and specialty care services we use today to treat chronic disease progression and medical complications.
A COVID-19 pandemic is a group of viruses belonging to the family of Coronaviridae, which infects both humans and animals. Human coronavirus can cause a mild illness similar to a common cold. In contrast, others cause more severe diseases such as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The current COVID-19 starting from Wuhan city on December 31, 2019, spread too many other countries. Since May 05, 2020, more than 3,517,345 infected cases with 243,401 confirmed deaths were reported globally. In America, a total of 1,477,447 infected cases and 79,590 deaths have been reported. In Europe, a total of 1,566,684 infected cases with 145,602 confirmed deaths. In Africa, 32,570 infected cases and 1,112 deaths have been reported, whereas in Ethiopia, 665 infected cases with 22 deaths. The most common clinical features of the COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and sometimes death. According to different reports, the COVID-19 is more severe among chronic disease patients. A meta-analysis study addressing the prevalence of chronic disease patients infected with COVID-19 indicated that hypertension, diabetes, respiratory system disease, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic disease patients were more susceptible to the COVID-19. Other studies found that hypertension and diabetes mellitus is the most common chronic disease which infected by COVID-19 pandemic and has high records of deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on public health, resulting in excess death rates of 170,000 in Europe and of more than 100,000 in the USA during the first outbreak. However, not all people are equally affected by the virus; people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease had a 2,5–3,9 times higher odds of being infected, with infection generally resulting in worse outcomes and a higher mortality rate in elderly people and in patients with comorbidities such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. People with chronic conditions, however, are not only affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in a direct manner, but also in an indirect manner. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupts entire societies, including the routine health care systems. The unprecedented scale of this pandemic provided a significant challenge to modern medical care, requiring a collective shift towards the acute care for COVID-19 patients with severe presentation in hospitals, as well as the optimisation of infection control in the community. This comprehensive effort to contain the pandemic and minimize the subsequent morbidity and mortality has affected both the continuity and quality of care for patients with chronic diseases. Resources at all levels have shifted away from chronic disease management and prevention during the outbreak, and the lock-down of many services has translated into reduced access, a decrease in referrals and reduced hospitalisations of patients with non-COVID-19 pathology. Scattered reports suggest chronic patients have postponed health care seeking , some of them because of the fear of getting infected with the coronavirus. In addition, patients have less options for community-based support and care. This leads to a serious concern about the indirect health footprint of COVID-19, especially on chronic diseases with increased complications and accelerated progression due to delayed and diminished access to secondary care and to a disruption in follow-up at primary care level.
Patients need ongoing motivation and guidance from clinical care teams to help them evaluate the pros and cons of any proposed lifestyle or treatment changes. Additionally, patients need help exploring and overcoming practical barriers to personal change, answering a question that is often in the back of their mind but rarely explored by clinicians, “How can I do this?” Answering this involves identifying and solving for practical barriers, drawing on the help of people close to the patient, connecting the patient virtually with inspiring people who have successfully made similar changes, and helping them manage people in their lives who may be deterrents in their efforts to make healthy changes. Clinicians need to help their patients see patterns in their typical day and diet, including their home environment and household habits around shopping, cooking meals, and daily activities. This helps patients become more aware of their attitudes, beliefs, strengths, and roadblocks to change. These insights should be included in the patient’s care plan and electronic health records to complement and enrich the traditional biomedical information and analytics.
Everyone should follow CDC’s recommendations to prevent COVID-19:
- Avoid crowded places and stay at home.
- When you are outside your home, stay at least two arms’ length away from other people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water, you can use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with the inside of your elbow.
- Clean objects or surfaces in your home that people touch a lot, such as door knobs, elevator buttons, and key pads.