Dr. Jan Patterson, a longtime infectious disease doctor and infection control specialist with UT Health San Antonio, and several colleagues were among the public health experts asked to assist with an outbreak of a new coronavirus — one that caused SARS — in Toronto, Canada.
Several years later, she responded to the 2009 pandemic of H1N1, or swine flu, in San Antonio.
The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, caused by another novel coronavirus, is different and unlike anything Patterson, or anyone else alive today, ever has seen.
“In a way, we’re at war,” Patterson said. “We’re at war with this pathogen.”
More deadly than flu
But with this coronavirus, the mortality rate appears to be far higher, said Dr. Anthony Hartzler, another infectious disease specialist with UT Health San Antonio who was completing his fellowship training when H1N1 swept the country.
While deaths are highest among the elderly, he said, this coronavirus appears to be causing serious complications in young adults and killing them in high numbers, too.
Hartzler said that most people with this coronavirus are getting sick about the five-day mark, and that’s when they are believed to be most infectious.