Dr. Borgen on Unanswered Questions With COVID-19

Patrick I. Borgen, MD, discusses what is currently known about coronavirus 2019 and unanswered questions that still need to be addressed.

Patrick I. Borgen, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center, discusses what is currently known about coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and unanswered questions that still need to be addressed.

What is most concerning about COVID-19 is that because the virus is emerging, investigators do not have a clear picture of what to expect, according to Borgen. Investigators are working to learn more about incidence rates, the type of patients the virus affects, as well as the disease course. However, over the next 2 to 4 weeks, Borgen predicts that many of these questions will be addressed.

COVID-19 appears to be dangerous for immunosuppressed patients, which includes those with cancer, says Borgen. As such, physicians within the oncology community must focus their efforts on providing the best care possible for patients while exercising caution.

Right now, the healthcare community as a whole is in the early stages of understanding the disease. COVID-19 could potentially be a seasonal virus like the flu, says Borgen. Although the virus does not appear to be comparable to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, it may be stronger than the current flu, which claimed 18,000 lives in the United States this year, concludes Borgen.

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