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Viruses are strictly intracellular and use the host cells for replication. Their structure is very basic and consists of a segment of nucleic acid surrounded by a protein shell. Even though they are structurally simple, they have efficiently utilised their nucleic acid in creative ways to increase their functionality and optimise their survival. Genetic mutations are a virus’s natural way to adapt quickly to pressure. Fundamentally, a “good” virus is one that survives. Once a virus has entered a host cell, viral replication is underway. The process becomes a race between host survival and virus survival. If the host wins, the virus is cleared through innate and adaptive immune responses. If the virus wins, large-scale virus replication results in host tissue destruction and disease, and possibly death of the host. Clinically, the immune responses mediated by cytokines result in symptoms such as fever, headache and myalgia. However, some viruses can cause tissue damage in the absence of an inflammatory response. That leads to asymptomatic infection and shedding of the virus which complicates case detection and disease control but is a survival advantage for the virus (1).
The Ministry of Health and multiple media sources state that people with diabetes are at greater risk of COVID-19 than the general population. This has generated concern and uncertainty amongst patients with diabetes, their families, employers and indeed health professionals. I will summarise below what is currently reported in the literature as of 28 March 2020, recognising that this is a rapidly evolving situation and more will become apparent over the coming months. I have not covered the general information about coronavirus public health messages that apply to everyone with or without diabetes.
Is it really safe for children to return to school and early childhood education? And what about the recent reports of Kawasaki Disease in children with COVID in the UK? The science of COVID-19 is moving fast, including the epidemiology. When the Centres for Disease Control released its first report on COVID in children on 2 April,1 there had been more than 239,000 cases of COVID and 5,400 deaths in the USA. In the analysis of 149,760 laboratory-confirmed COVID cases in the United States in February and April, 2,572 (1.7 percent) were children aged under 18 years. Due to the high workload of clinicians, clinical data was only available for a small proportion of affected children, so we should be careful about extrapolating.
The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network is a membership and support organisation for rural health professionals. Based in Wellington, the Network’s national membership and advocacy includes both rural practices and individual members covering more than 1800 doctors, nurses, practice managers and students. As part of our business operation we are contracted by the New Zealand government to provide a rural locum support and recruitment service which we do under the NZLocums brand, recruiting health professionals nationally and internationally.

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