Coronavirus update 2/25/2020

The growing outbreak of Coronavirus Respiratory Disease is causing understandable alarm and uncertainty about the risk here.

How dangerous is Coronavirus infection?

The Chinese have reported a fatality rate of 1%-4%; other estimates have been lower. Most deaths have occurred in older men, with other health conditions. SARS, MERS and the Pandemic H1N1 of 1918 were much more deadly. No childhood deaths have been reported.

How much risk is there of exposure in the US?

Very small, so far. Almost all of the U.S. cases have occurred in people who had recently traveled to, or through China, or in people who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. A very few are family contacts of these travelers.

However, the emergence of new clusters, some of whose origins are unclear, in Korea, Italy & Iran have raised concern that a global pandemic may be developing. The CDC has issued an alert that the current low risk in the U.S. may change soon.

Is it safe to travel Internationally?

The CDC has issued a Level 3 Alert for travel to China and South Korea, i.e.: avoid all non-essential travel to those countries. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are not included. There are not yet any travel alerts for other nations, but the situation is fluid and could change.

Are people returning from overseas infected, do they need to be isolated?.

All travelers from China and S Korea should self-isolate at home for 14 days after returning to the U.S.  All other travelers from abroad, should immediately report any fever or respiratory symptoms that occur within two weeks after arriving in the U.S.

How long after exposure might one get ill?

It is not certain; initial estimates are that the incubation period is up to two weeks.

How is the disease diagnosed?

A nasal, or throat swab, like that used to diagnose other respiratory diseases is used. Suspected cases are screened by SFDPH and samples may be sent to the CDC, for testing and confirmation.

Is there a vaccine for Coronavirus?

No vaccine exists for Coronavirus

Is there any treatment for Coronavirus?

Several anti-viral drugs are being tested but results will take several months, at best. Treatment is exclusively supportive.

How can I avoid getting ill, do I have to stay home?

Respiratory droplets, from coughing or sneezing, spread Coronavirus, but it appears that people who are not yet ill may also spread the disease. It is not clear, how long the virus can survive on surfaces, such as counters, door knobs, etc.

Wash your hands upon returning home and before eating; don’t touch your face with unwashed hands; get adequate rest and nourishment; avoid contact with ill people. Surgical masks have little effect outdoors.

What if I do get ill?

If you have fever and respiratory disease, contact your doctor, an Urgent Care Center (UCC), or Emergency Room(ER), as you would do normally.

If you have travelled to an affected area, or have been in contact with a person with possible Coronavirus infection, be sure to explain that to the Doctor, UCC or ER, before appearing at their site.

What else should I worry about?

Every winter 30,000 – 40,000 people die of Influenza in the US and about 200 of them are children. Please make sure that everyone in your family has gotten their Flu shot as soon as possible. We will immunize the whole family, at one visit, if you wish.


Where can I get the latest updates on the spread of Coronavirus?

Both the CDC.gov and the WHO.int websites have regularly updated Coronavirus information, including advice for travelers.


Flu season is rapidly approaching and all children, 6 months or older, should receive a Flu vaccine as soon as possible. Doing so greatly reduces the risk of pneumonia in the upcoming winter.

As in the past, you can schedule a shot-only appointment during regular office hours or receive it during an already scheduled Well Child visit or office visit. Parents are welcome to receive their flu vaccines at the same time as their children.

More conveniently, you may make your appointment at one of our Saturday Flu Shot Clinics:

Saturday 10/5/19 and 10/19/19
10AM - 2:00PM
Location: 45 Castro Street #232

(Others to be scheduled as need dictates)

Updates on the Office:

  1. Moving: Our Sacramento Street office will move to 2100 Webster Street, Suite #427, most likely in April 2019. If you have a future appointment at Sacramento Street we will notify you, once our move occurs. Our telephone numbers are the same and the Castro Street location is not affected.

  2. PORTAL: Communication through a secure, encrypted, password protected e-mail, is part of the Follow My Health Patient Portal. We use this e-mail to relay important health news or announcements, to answer non-urgent questions, and to report test results. You can use it to download your child’s immunizations, growth measurements, problem list, medications & allergies. Please contact us to enroll in the PORTAL as soon as possible if you have not done so.
  3. Telephone/On-line Medical Services: Telephone and e-mail (Portal) communications with the doctor are efficient ways for us to help you, without a visit. However, the time devoted to these remote interactions for diagnosis, professional advice and treatment has greatly increased. Therefore, we will institute a fee for telephone and on-line services on May 1, 2019. The fee will start from $25, depending the complexity of the visit. Communication to follow up a recent visit, or that leads directly to a visit will not require a fee.


Updates on the Physicians:

  1. New doctor: We now have five board certified pediatricians, any one of whom you may designate as your child’s primary care doctor. Dr. Jean Lee, a native Californian who is fluent in Mandarin, has joined our practice. Dr. Lee trained in Pediatrics at UCSF and has worked as a hospitalist at CPMC and at UCSF, but her passion is for primary care.

  2. Pediatric leadership: Dr. Fukuda is a leader in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in California and nation-wide. She is the AAP’s liaison to the Japan Pediatric Society and was just elected Chair of the California region, the AAP’s largest. We know she will do a great job in advocating for children and helping to set policy. Please join us in congratulating her.

  3. Physician leave: Dr. Kelly will take a three-month leave for surgery, beginning in mid-March. As always, each of the doctors is available to see any patient, we all work closely together, and we will do our best to maintain a flexible and available appointment schedule.


Health Alert:

Measles outbreaks: Measles is now epidemic in many countries, including Japan, France and Italy. At least 5 of our own patients have had exposures while traveling abroad in the last six months.

If you are planning any travel outside of the Americas, with a child over 6 months of age, please call us, or check the PORTAL to be sure that her/his Measles immunization is current. (For children under 12 months that means at least one dose. For children 13 months or more, that means two doses.)