Here Are the Coronavirus Facts You Need to Know to Stay Safe
As the new coronavirus spreads rapidly across the globe, it’s crucial to stay informed and know how to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Even though it’s difficult to know what the future holds, having the correct information can reduce fear and anxiety about COVID-19 and help you prepare.
What is the coronavirus and how is it spread?
The new coronavirus, also called COVID-19, is an infectious disease that originated in Wuhan, China and has spread to every continent except for Antarctica.
Someone can catch the virus when they come into contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person. These droplets are spread through coughing and sneezing. It is also possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface that is contaminated with the virus and then touching your own face. Scientists estimate that the virus can live on surfaces for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
- About 80% of those infected with COVID-19 recover from it without any special treatment
- 1 out of every 5 people infected with it will need hospital care
- People over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions are more at risk of developing complications from the coronavirus
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?
The main coronavirus symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
Those infected with the virus may also experience general cold and flu symptoms and diarrhea, but other people may not notice any symptoms. The incubation period for the virus is between 1-14 days.
How can you protect yourself from the coronavirus?
It’s important to create habits that will keep you healthy. Here are four ways you can reduce your chances of getting the coronavirus:
1. Frequently clean your hands
The best way to protect yourself from infection is by frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Along these same lines, avoid touching your face.
2. Practice social distancing
It’s important to stay home if you’re sick or starting to feel sick, and be sure to keep your distance from people you know are sick.
If you are in an area where COVID-19 is spreading quickly, try to limit your interactions with others in your community. Avoid large gatherings, public transportation, and try to keep a distance of six feet from people in public. You can use this interactive COVID-19 map created by Johns Hopkins University to track the high-risk regions.
3. Refrain from touching others
Handshakes, high-fives, and hugs are a part of our daily lives, but it’s important to swap these habits for new ones in the wake of the coronavirus. Instead of handshakes, try a head nod, and give a thumbs up instead of a high-five.
4. Clean surfaces regularly
Get in the daily habit of sanitizing surfaces you frequently touch with a disinfectant product. Some examples of high-touch surfaces are doorknobs, light switches, and phones.
5. Stay informed of local guidelines
Staying on top of updates from your local public health authorities is important as new developments related to COVID-19 unfold. Local and state authorities are initiating different rules about travel and group interactions, depending on your location.
What should you do if you think you have the coronavirus?
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have a fever and respiratory problems, you should call a healthcare professional right away.
Follow these guidelines as well:
- Stay home and do not go out in public, except to get medical care from your doctor.
- If you plan to visit your doctor, call them ahead of time so they can take the necessary steps to prepare for your visit.
- Wash your hands frequently and cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces you frequently touch.
- Try to limit your contact with pets, and if possible, ask for another household member to care for them until you recover.
- Do not share household items with other people in your home, such as towels, drinking cups, or utensils.
- Call your doctor right away if your symptoms worsen.
- Call 911 in the case of a medical emergency, like if you’re having trouble breathing, and notify the dispatcher that you have COVID-19 or you suspect you may have it.
- Talk to your doctor about how long you should isolate yourself at home.
For more details, see the CDC’s full list of instructions for what do when you’re sick with the coronavirus.
What are some common coronavirus myths?
It’s easy for misinformation to be shared when there is widespread concern about a disease, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right facts. Below are some of the most common myths about COVID-19.
Can the coronavirus live in hot and humid climates?
The outside temperature of a place has no effect on COVID-19. The disease can be transmitted in hot and humid climates, as well as in cold climates.
Are certain races or ethnicities more likely to get COVID-19?
Certain races or ethnicities, including Chinese Americans or people of Asian descent, are not more susceptible to the coronavirus. You can do your part to stop the spread of fear and misinformation by letting others know that being of a certain ethnicity does not mean you’re more likely to contract or spread COVID-19.
Is there a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus?
There is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 at this time. Scientists are researching drug treatments, and WHO is helping organize vaccine development efforts.
Can you stop the coronavirus by drinking a lot of water?
Drinking water won’t prevent the coronavirus, contrary to many tips circulating the internet. These posts claim that sipping water every 15 minutes can wash the virus into your stomach, where it will be killed by stomach acids, but there is no medical basis for this advice.
Can antibiotics kill the coronavirus?
Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viruses. No antibiotics are effective in treating COVID-19.
Can spraying yourself with bleach, chlorine, or alcohol kill the virus?
Spraying your body with bleach, chlorine, or alcohol will not kill COVID-19. These substances can be harmful if you spray them on yourself.
In a time of uncertainty, you can make a real difference