The coronavirus is out there and it’s safe to say that the majority of us are significantly impacted. Let’s all breathe (in our safe-socially-distanced spaces) for just a sec. We will get through this. One of the ways to make sure of that is to stay informed of the facts and stop the flow of disinformation. One scan of #coronavirus on Twitter and your head will be filled with all sorts of “expert advice” and infographics on what kills this sickness. That’s a lot to wade through. Listen to the experts here: scientists, doctors, disease experts, the CDC (even though they don’t update their website every day). Do not listen to unreliable sources like your conspiracy-loving friends or your President-trusting grandma. You love her, but this is a global pandemic (still make her famous chicken soup recipe, of course, just take other measures too!).
Below, we’ve collected answers to some of the most prevalent coronavirus questions (looking at Google analytics), citing experts everywhere we could. Stay informed and stay safe out there.
What Are The Symptoms For The Coronavirus?
According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The symptoms can occur anytime between 2-14 days after your exposure to the virus.
Everyone can help prevent the spread of #COVID19. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. https://t.co/ehL8kmRHaN. pic.twitter.com/KwrKO7VNub
— CDC (@CDCgov) March 10, 2020
What Makes The Covid-19 Different From Other coronaviruses Like SARS and MERS
To start, the coronavirus has now killed and infected more people in the U.S. than Sars, Mars, Ebola, or Zika. The World Health Organization has said that Covid-19 is the first coronavirus to ever reach pandemic status.
So Is This Thing Just A Really Bad Flu?
No. While the coronavirus expresses flu-like symptoms, it is not the flu. To begin with, it’s much more contagious. According to Science Alert, experts estimate that each person infected with the coronavirus infects between two to three other people, a reproduction rate twice as high as the seasonal flu. It’s also proven to be more deadly than the flu, which typically kills 0.1 percent of patients inflected. Coronavirus’ fatality rate may be somewhere between two and three percent.
According to Francois Balloux, a Professor of Computational Systems Biology at University College London, “There is still considerable uncertainty around the fatality rates of COVID-19 and it likely varies depending on the quality of local healthcare… that said, it is around two percent on average, which is about 20 times higher than for the seasonal flu lineages currently in circulation”
I’m Fairly Young… I”ll Be Fine Right?
It’s very likely, the World Health Organization says that the coronavirus infection is generally mild, especially when found in children and young adults. But it can still get serious. One if every five people who contract the virus will need hospital care and you risk the people in your immediate contact if you become infected with the virus.
What Constitutes An Underlying Health Issue?
From what we know so far, The World Health Organization reveals that older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes are the most at risk of having complications with the virus.
Does Washing Your Hands Really Work?
Yes and no. It’s good practice to regularly wash your hands, especially if you’re traveling through a public place and touching a lot of objects that other people touch, this includes stair rales, atm machines, gas pumps, grocery carts, menus at restaurants — we touch a lot of stuff, and the coronavirus can live on many surfaces for a period of time. The more aware you are of what you touch the better.
But keeping your hands clean isn’t guaranteed to protect you from the coronavirus. If someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes your way, it’s totally possible that you can catch it if they’re within six feet. It’s also possible you won’t.
Will Warm Weather Have An Effect?
You probably hear this one a lot and for good reason. The coronavirus may very well be weakened once the weather warms. Unfortunately, we don’t know that for sure. Put plainly by Brittany Kmush, a public health expert at New York’s Syracuse University, told CNN, “Influenza and other coronaviruses that infect humans tend to follow a seasonality, with cases peaking in the winter months in the northern hemisphere. However, we don’t know if this virus will follow a similar pattern.” There are instances of coronavirus cases in the tropical climates of the Southern Hemisphere, but we don’t have enough current data to know the climate’s true effect on those cases. Kmush explains, “The question is are (tropical cases) travel-associated, connected to a known case, or cases of unknown origin… if there is seasonality, we would expect connected cases and cases of unknown origin to decrease as the temperature becomes warmer. I think it is really too soon to tell if we are going to see a seasonal pattern with Covid-19 or not.”
So let’s hope, so — but keep in mind there is no guarantee.
Can I Get Coronavirus From Things Like The Mail And Money?
According to infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci during last night’s CNN Coronavirus Town Hall, “I would think something that goes through the mail, by the time it gets to you, that’s it. Even if it is on there, would it be high enough of a concentration to actually be transmitted? So although it’s important, I don’t want to downplay the recommendations of wiping down the kinds of things you can easily wipe down… I think if you start to think about things like money and mail you start to immobilize yourself.”
Can I Give Coronavirus To My Pets?
The World Health Organization says that there is no evidence that pets like cats and dogs can get the virus and pass it around. Scientists in China have concluded that pets like cats and dogs can test positive for low levels of the virus, but can’t get sick from the virus. So your little friend is going to be all right.
Should I Make My Own Hand Sanitizer?
If you need a project, sure. Otherwise, use soap.
How Easy Is It To Get The Coronavirus From Touching Surfaces?
According to the CDC, while it is possible, it’s not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Refrain from touching your mouth, nose, and eyes after touching surfaces that you fear are contaminated with the coronavirus.
What Is This I Hear About Flattening The Curve?
You might’ve seen this chart around or heard the phrase “flattening the curve”. We spoke with the professor who illustrated it and told us he wanted “to make clear what was at stake.” https://t.co/odx9C5SrRa
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 11, 2020
The coronavirus is here, we aren’t going to stop the virus from spreading, so now we need to focus our efforts on mitigating the situation by practicing smart social distancing, and refraining from gathering in large public places.
According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who co-hosted the CNN coronavirus Town Hall with Anderson Cooper, “We have some modeling to sort of predict just how many patients are likely to require medical care at all, how many will need to be in an intensive care unit, how many will need ventilators… we don’t have enough of these resources right now for a moderate pandemic, they say you need 200,000 ICU beds, we have about 100,000 ICU beds. Hopefully, not everyone needs it at the same time, which is why this flattening of the curve becomes so important — you could stagger when people actually need the medical care and hopefully that’ll help not put such a toll on the medical system.”
Here is the thing to understand about flattening the curve.
It only works if we take necessary measures before they seem necessary.
And if it works, people will think we over-reacted.
We have to be willing to look like we over-reacted.
— Kaila Colbin (@kcolbin) March 12, 2020
Are Pregnant Woman More At Risk Of Getting The Coronavirus?
From what we can tell, it doesn’t seem so, but enough data doesn’t exist. Speaking at the CNN town hall, Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician reveled “We have some limited cases in China… and so far it looks like unlike with influenza, where pregnant woman are one of the highest risk categories, COVID-19 does not impact pregnant woman quite the same way. But that said, pregnancy is a medically vulnerable state… taking extra precautions is a good idea.”
Maybe I Have Coronavirus, I Have Mild Symptoms But Otherwise Feel Fine
It’s incredibly important that if you’re sick, even if it isn’t with the coronavirus, you should avoid areas with large public gatherings, and avoid taking public transportation including rideshare services at all costs. Stay home. If you have the coronavirus, you need to isolate yourself so as not to pass the virus around to other people.
Okay, I’m Pretty Sure I Have The Coronavirus. What Do I Do?
Don’t panic. If you have persistent pain or pressure in your chest, difficulty breathing, mental confusion, and a high fever, it’s a good idea to seek immediate medical attention. But don’t jump in your car and drive to your doctor’s office, instead pick up a phone and call your health care provider who will walk you through the next steps.
It’s important that you listen to the directives of your healthcare provider and not attempt to show up at a hospital’s ER, doing so could put other vulnerable parties at risk and spread the virus.
If I’m Able To Get Tested How Long Does It Take To Get Results
Currently, the coronavirus test can take up to two days before results are revealed. Luckily, Dr. Jana Broadhurst, the director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit Clinical Laboratory, revealed on a CNN town hall last night that a test has been developed that can get results in typically four to six hours. Broadhurst says there is a tremendous effort being made to get the test approved and out to medical practitioners across the country.
Can I Spread The Virus Without Being Sick
According to the CDC, people are the most contagious when they are the most symptomatic, or sick. It is possible to spread before people show symptoms, but it is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Choose a room that can be used to separate sick or self-quarantined household members from others. Wash hands often. Clean “high-tough” surfaces every day. Don't share personal household items, like eating utensils. Follow doctor’s & health dept’s advice https://t.co/lr6QWE6b1E https://t.co/6TrzXabheW
— CDC (@CDCgov) March 13, 2020
If I Get The Coronavirus — Is This The End?
According to Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician who provided insight at CNN’s coronavirus Town Hall, “About 80% of people who get the novel coronavirus will have mild symptoms and do not require hospital care, 15% will require some type of hospital or more acute care, 5% may require intensive care, ventilation, etc.” The odds are in your favor, but that doesn’t mean you should act recklessly with your virus. Remember, you will likely infect up to three other people, those people may be a vulnerable party to this virus.
Be considerate, isolate yourself until you don’t feel symptoms anymore and then call your health care provider for next steps.