Coronavirus

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019?

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales, they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects  such as desks, tables, or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • If a person is standing within 3 feet of a person with COVID-19 when they cough or sneeze, they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by the infected person. Basically, COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to flu.
  • People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
  • Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care.
  • In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death.

Who is at risk of contracting COVID-19?

  • Risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40.
  • People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

  • No vaccine is available at this time, though development is in progress.

What are some preventive actions you can take to help prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
    • CDC recommends that everyone should wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

How worried should we be about COVID-19?

  • That’s a complicated question for two reasons
    • First, while global knowledge of COVID-19 is increasing every day, much remains unknown. Many cases are thought to be mild or asymptomatic, making it hard to know how wide the virus has spread or how deadly it is
    • Second, much of the risk comes not from the virus itself but from how it affects the societies it hits. Examples include:
      • People not being able to go to work and school to reduce the risk of spreading the disease
      • Negative impact on the stock market
      • Overwhelming hospitals and the health care system
    • The most important thing is for all of us to remember and follow the guidelines to prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases
      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
      • Stay home when you are sick.

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