Monday, 30 March 2020

Questions and Answers About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Because COVID-19 is a new virus, we are constantly learning more about what it is and how we can reduce its spread. 

Below, we answer common questions about the virus:

What is COVID-19 ("Coronavirus")?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, with patients reporting cases of fever and acute respiratory illness. Since that time, other countries, including the U.S., have seen cases of the illness.

How is the virus transmitted?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as MERS and SARS. Many of the early patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by COVID-19 in Wuhan, China had some link to large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, the person-to-person spread is now occurring.

Person-to-person spread is believed to occur via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Questions and Answers About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Questions and Answers About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. The latest situation summary updates are available on the CDC’s webpage Coronavirus Disease 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

- Fever
- Cough
- Shortness of breath

The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.

How can COVID-19 infection be prevented?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including: 

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- ​Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

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