COVID-19  INFORMATION

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Questions and Answers:

What are the symptoms this coronavirus causes?

The virus can cause pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.

If I get coronavirus, how sick will I get?

A large study in China found that about 80% of confirmed cases had fairly mild symptoms (defined as no significant infection in the lungs). About 15% had severe symptoms that caused significant shortness of breath, low blood oxygen or other lung problems, and fewer than 5% of cases were critical, featuring respiratory failure, septic shock or multiple organ problems. However, it is possible that a larger number of very mild cases are going under the radar, and so this breakdown in severity could change over time as wider screening takes place. Older people and those with respiratory problems, heart disease or diabetes are at greater risk.

Can a face mask stop coronavirus? 

Wearing a face mask is certainly not a guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone (although others have found lower levels of effectiveness).

Is coronavirus mutating into a more deadly strain?

All viruses accumulate mutations over time and the virus that causes Covid-19 is no different. How widespread different strains of a virus become depends on natural selection – the versions that can propagate quickest and replicate effectively in the body will be the most “successful”. This doesn’t necessarily mean most dangerous for people though, as viruses that kill people rapidly or make them so sick that they are incapacitated may be less likely to be transmitted.

Is coronavirus more deadly than the Flu? 

Many individuals who get coronavirus will experience nothing worse than seasonal flu symptoms, but the overall profile of the disease, including its mortality rate, looks more serious. At the start of an outbreak the apparent mortality rate can be an overestimate if a lot of mild cases are being missed.

Does coronavirus only kill elderly people? 

Most people who are not elderly and do not have underlying health conditions will not become critically ill from Covid-19. But the illness still has a higher chance of leading to serious respiratory symptoms than seasonal flu and there are other at-risk groups – health workers, for instance, are more vulnerable because they are likely to have higher exposure to the virus. The actions that young, healthy people take, including reporting symptoms and following quarantine instructions, will have an important role in protecting the most vulnerable in society and in shaping the overall trajectory of the outbreak.

 

How long do you need to be around an infected person before you have a risk? 

For flu, some hospital guidelines define exposure as being within six feet of an infected person who sneezes or coughs for 10 minutes or longer. However, it is possible to be infected with shorter interactions or even by picking the virus up from contaminated surfaces, although this is thought to be a less common route of transmission.

 Is there a vaccine to prevent coronavirus?

Scientists were quick out of the gates in beginning development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus, helped by the early release of the genetic sequence by Chinese researchers. The development of a viable vaccine continues, with several teams now testing candidates in animal experiments. However, the incremental trials required before a commercial vaccine could be rolled out are still a lengthy undertaking – and an essential one to ensure that even rare side-effects are spotted. A commercially available vaccine within a year would be quick.’

Is coronavirus a pandemic?

A pandemic is defined as worldwide spread of a new disease – but the exact threshold for declaring one is quite vague. In practice, the actions being taken would not change whether or not a pandemic is declared. Containment measures are not simply about eliminating the disease altogether. Delaying the onset of an outbreak or decreasing the peak is crucial in allowing health systems to cope with a sudden influx of patients.

There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. But you may able to reduce your risk of getting or spreading an infection by.

  • Washing hands  often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoiding touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

  • Using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe to clean and disinfecting surfaces that you frequently touch.

  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Then throw away the tissue and wash your hands.

  • Staying home when sick

  • Use a facemask only if you have symptoms of COVID-19, so you can prevent spreading it to others. Facemasks are not recommended for people who are not sick.

This information can be found on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html