Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a zoonotic disease that began as a handful of infections in the Hubei province of China and has now spread to countries worldwide. There are multiple Coronaviruses in existence, but this is a novel (new) strain not seen before.
There is no vaccination for Coronavirus. The best way to avoid the virus is to prevent exposure, followed by practicing good hygiene.
It is highly infectious and has a current mortality rate of 3.4% (by comparison, the mortality rate for this season’s Influenza is less than 0.1%).
While Coronavirus has officially been deemed a pandemic by the WHO, and cities – and even countries – are going into lockdown, it’s important to know the facts.
WHO IS AT RISK
As of the time of this article (Friday, March 13, 10:00AM EST), there are roughly 125,000 cases worldwide and counting, including 1,215 cases in the United States. The most at risk are the elderly, those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease, and those with compromised immune systems. They are the most likely to develop serious complications.
The CDC is advising people avoid crowds and avoid non-essential travel, especially if you are over the age of 60. While there is NO need to hoard supplies like hand sanitizer and toilet paper (you may be harming immunocompromised people who NEED hand sanitizer by taking it away from them), the CDC advises you have
It is possible to contract Coronavirus and not show any symptoms, which is called being “asymptomatic.” Symptoms can include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath.
What is coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know in 60 seconds
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 16, 2020
If you have mild symptoms, stay at home until you’ve recovered. Self-quarantine is SUPER important as this virus spreads very easily through moisture droplets, which can be microscopic.
If you are experiencing difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to arouse, bluish lips or face, or any other emergency, seek medical attention immediately.
If you think you have the virus and want to be tested, the CDC has a limited number of testing kits for hospitals to use. Many hospitals have set up triage lines, including Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, where you can call toll free, report your symptoms, and have a medical professional guide you on if you should receive treatment or come in for testing.
The best way to prevent the virus from spreading is to practice good hygiene. This means washing your hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds (sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to reach 20 seconds). Hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol content can also be effective. Avoid touching your face, and if you cough, cough into the crook of your arm.
— JEZEBEL Magazine (@JEZEBELMagazine) March 11, 2020
– Wash your hands PROPERLY. Wash for 20 secs (sing happy birthday song 2x). Other songs here: https://t.co/jSwcvfD7pv
– Use 70% alcohol hand sanitizer & let dry (don’t wipe off excess). DON’T TOUCH FACE FOR 5 MINS. (per virologist contact working on coronavirus) pic.twitter.com/bvXKE1xjMA
— Cassie Young (@CassandraYoung) March 5, 2020
The Center for Biocide Chemistries posted a fairly exhaustive list of cleaning products that can kill the virus.
Medical Masks will not prevent you from contracting the disease. If you are NOT sick, do not wear a medical mask. It can actually make it easier for you to get sick, and the fit has to be VERY specific to prevent you from catching Coronavirus. In fact, you’re more likely to fiddle with your mask and infect yourself.
If you ARE sick, a medical mask will help prevent the spread of your germs when you cough or sneeze. Otherwise, please leave the masks for the medical professionals who are on the front lines and need them the most.
WHY SHOULD YOU WORK FROM HOME?
If you’re young and healthy, you may not be worried at all about the Coronavirus. Chances are, if you contract it, you won’t need hospitalization – many reports say it feels akin to a cold or flu-like symptoms.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to abandon protocol. It takes every single one of us to prevent the spread of the disease to those with compromised immune systems and the elderly. We need to nip the spread of the disease in the bud as quickly as possible, and social distancing – staying away from other people – can help us achieve that.
As it currently stands, with the rate of infection, the United States is facing a systemic healthcare crisis. In short: there aren’t enough hospital beds to care for everyone who will need hospitalization. By practicing social distancing, we can prevent the spread of the virus.
NBA season suspended.
This one chart shows why so many large group gatherings are being canceled right now.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) March 12, 2020
For more information on Coronavirus, visit the official government website, coronavirus.gov.