Must-Know Coronavirus-Related Concepts Made Ridiculously Simple by Dr. E: Part 2

Presented in question and answer format, Dr. E answers your top-most important mind-boggling concerns about the Covid-19!
Countries with the highest number of Covid-19 cases as of March 4, 2020

Beneatha: Lately, I have been hearing much on “co-morbidity”. They say it is an important factor in predicting the prognosis (outcome) of the Covid-19. Is morbidity the same as mortality? Also, what are the co-morbidities of Covid-19?

Dr. E: Let me dissect these terms for you. “Co” means together, and “morbidity” means “illness”. Putting it together, it means illnesses or medical conditions that happen simultaneously in the same patient.  “Mortality” means “death, dying or deadliness”. Experts often use “mortality” with reference to death and dying, because they are by far the most dreaded consequence of any disease.

The co-morbidities often do not cause much harm individually, but when they co-exist in the same person, they increase the mortality (severity) of their condition. Have you heard  the story of the dying old man and his sons, and the bundle of sticks?

Beneatha: I am not sure if I have, would you please tell me about it?

Dr. E: A dying man told his sons to bring him a bundle of sticks. Then he asked if they can break it. They couldn’t! He then said let me show you how you could have done it.  He opened up the bundle and easily broke all  the sticks one at a time.  He then turned to his sons and said ”if you stick together no one can break you!”

The same is true of the bundle of comorbids. When they individually challenge our immune system and our body, we can tolerate them or can handle them with less difficulty. But when they gang-up and bundle-up against us, they can beat the hell out of us!    

I feel that your next question should be “what are the comorbidities of the covid-19?”

Beneatha: Dr. E, your ears must have heard my thoughts!

Dr. E: Thank you so much! I was under the impression that  my hearing is slipping away with my aging!  You helped me to realize  that may be with aging we tend to hear better with the ears of our mind! 

To answer your question, any coexisting and/or chronic ailment can act as a comorbid factor for any specific disease. However, given that severe lung tissue damage and pneumonia are the top  two dreaded consequences of the Covid-19 infections, the major comorbidities of it are also conditions that adversely affect our lungs.  The top two nasty comorbidities  that come to my mind are  chronic obstructive lung diseases, such as emphysema that characteristically worsens with aging, and pneumonia due to any causes (viral, bacterial, chemical, etc.).  The former of the two also supports the observation that covid-19 is more fatal in the elderly populations. However, I want you  to bear  in mind that there are other notable comorbidities for the Covid-19.  The list of our runner-ups  includes diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases, and anemic conditions such as sickle cell anemia. 

Beneatha: I understand that based on the available information for the total number of individuals who are infected with the Covid -19, the fatality rate of the disease as of March 4 is about  3.3%, that is, one percent higher than the late February’s. Also, the  three countries other than China with the highest number of affected individuals are Iran, South Korea, and Italy. What is a probable reason for the high number of cases in these three countries?

Dr.E: This shows that a higher number of people in these three countries travel to China for whatever reasons, including business or pleasure! 

Beneatha; What did those 3.3% patients die of? What did the reports of their medical  examiners say about the causes of their deaths? 

Dr.E: It is apparent that Corona is the final cause of the illness of all those affected individuals. But among those who’ve had covid-19 infection, the top two immediate causes  of death as reported by the medical examiners have been acute respiratory syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis. 

Beneatha: Would you please tell me more about sepsis and  ARDS! 

Dr.E: I knew that you were about to ask about these! You are giving me the goosebumps today! You made me fascinated with the idea that as I’m aging I tend to hear some of the voices with the ears of my mind! 

How about picking up these concepts at our next meeting! 

Catch you Later!

To be continued…

To view part 1 of covid -19 dialogues, please click here: 

Dr. E


Also known as "Dr. Testbuster", Dr. Eftekar (Dr. E) is the founder, head coach and lead lecturer of the medical board training programs at Northwestern Medical Review. A unique attribute of Dr. E is his well-rounded academic background that, in addition to the science of medicine, extends over several other disciplines such as physiology of aging and longevity, philosophy of science and medicine, and integrated kinesiology.


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