What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

UPDATED: April 3, 2020

Do You Need a Mask?

Do You Need a Mask?

More and more people are wearing masks as a preventative measure from breathing in air droplets from those with the Coronavirus who cough or sneeze. It should also be worn by those who are caring for sick patients. But do you really need one? CNN’s Sanjay Gupta shared his medical expertise. 

“I think what is driving this is that there is significant community spread of this virus,” Gupta said. “It’s not for people who aren’t infected. This is more for people who might be infected and don’t know it.” The hope of wearing a mask is to lower the risk of spreading the virus. 

“If you have to go out for something essential, wearing a mask may not be a bad idea,” Gupta shared. 

Average Americans who chose to wear masks don’t need N95 masks, but cloth masks are fine.

Stimulus Check Scams are on the Rise

Stimulus Check Scams are on the Rise

Americans know they could be receiving a stimulus paycheck, but no checks have been issued yet. But, scammers are taking full advantage of people’s vulnerability during the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to CNN, criminals are calling and pretending to be the government. They’ll ask for your account information or other personal data with the promise that they’re sending your check, but need this information first. The IRS has made it clear that no further action is required on your behalf to receive your check. By law, you’ll receive a mailed notice no more than 15 days after the check has been processed. The notice will let you know the check amount, payment delivery method and IRS contact information for questions.

UPDATED: March 30, 2020

Approved Disinfectants to Shop For

Approved Disinfectants to Shop For

The rush for toilet paper, disinfectant and hand soap is continuing throughout the country. It’s becoming harder to find Lysol and Clorox in stores and online. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of approved disinfectants to help you shop. The list includes all of the active ingredients and the contact time that the surface should be wet in order for the disinfectant to work. Hopefully, there are a few alternatives to help make shopping easier during the pandemic.

Cleaning Your Phone During the Coronavirus

Cleaning Your Phone During the Coronavirus

Think about all of the places you carry your phone. Naturally, it can carry a lot of bacteria on the screen and in-between its case. During the Coronavirus pandemic and long after, it’s important to clean your phone regularly. 

Power off your phone and disconnect it from the charger before cleaning. Avoid directly spraying your phone with Lysol or other household disinfectants because the liquid could damage your phone. Instead, use a soft-cloth. One that is used to clean your reading glasses or computer screen is best. According to CNN, Apple does approve using Clorox wipes for cleaning. 

Remember to clean every part of your phone, and don’t forget to sanitize your case. You can also use a soft cloth. Be mindful that some cases may change colors or wear the material.

Handling Groceries and Take-Out Food to Avoid Coronavirus

Handling Groceries and Take-Out Food to Avoid Coronavirus

Many worry that the Coronavirus can be spread through food or its packaging when shopping for groceries or order take-out. Here’s what you need to know. 

If someone coughs or sneezes on packaging there is a risk of contamination. According to CNN, The Coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic for up to 3 days. 

Take-Out or Delivery 

  • Practice social distancing when ordering food or having it delivered. 
  • Throw the take-out packaging away and put your food in a dish at home. 
  • Avoid handling cash. Try paying online or over the phone. If you must handle cash, wash your hands. 
  • Wash your hands before eating. 

Groceries 

  • Wash your hands before handling groceries. 
  • Wipe packaging down with a disinfectant before storing in your cabinets or refridgerator.  
  • Always wash fresh produce with cold water.

UPDATED: March 25, 2020

Stay-at-Home Orders in Effect

Stay-at-Home Orders in Effect

Across the country, many counties and states are enforcing ‘Stay-at-Home’ orders to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. But what exactly does that order mean? Each state is different, but in large it requires people to stay home with a few exceptions.

You can go outdoors for walks or a jog as long as you continue to practice social distancing. You can also go to the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station or to restaurants that offer take-out. The last exception is to care for a loved one. But, other non-essential services will be closed to help encourage people to stay home and reduce the spread. So far, 16 states have enforced stay-at-home orders.

Coronavirus’ Impact on Medicine

Coronavirus’ Impact on Medicine

Most of the U.S’ medicine comes from foreign countries including China and India. Unfortunately, the pandemic is bringing a shortage in the supply chain, which could cause a shortage of medicine for Americans. 

According to U.S. News, the first Coronavirus-related shortage was reported by the Food & Drug Administration in February. But, recently, India decided to withhold essential medication for domestic needs, bringing another shortage for the U.S. in the near future. The U.S. relies on India for 40 percent of their generic medicine supply. In the coming weeks, there will likely be a shortage of antibiotics, pain medication and other essentials.

Paid Sick Leave During the Coronavirus

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act gives those who catch the Coronavirus financial relief as they recover over a two-week period. According to U.S. News, the act pays 100 percent of an employee’s salary (up to $511/day) for 80 hours. You’ll also get 10 extra weeks at 67 percent of your pay in the case in which household family members catch the virus to care for them.  

However, this bill does not apply to employees that work for a company of 500 or more employees. If you work at a company with less than 50 employees, the U.S. News says you are qualified unless the business owner gets an exception from the Labor Department claiming that this act would put them out of business.

UPDATED: March 24, 2020

Youth Aren’t Abiding by CDC Recommendations

Youth Aren’t Abiding by CDC Recommendations

Unfortunately, the younger generation isn’t listening to federal and CDC advisories to stay home and practice social distancing. Even though people 60 and older and those with pre-existing conditions are deemed high risk, young people are being diagnosed and hospitalized, too. Many are asymptomatic so they feel just fine, but are carrying the virus to others. According to CNN, more than half, 53 percent, of the cases in New York are from adults ages 18-49. Young adults are advised to stay home and practice social distancing to help significantly ‘flatten the curve’ of Coronavirus cases and deaths. 

Schools are Taking a Toll

Schools are Taking a Toll

Five states still haven’t closed all of their schools due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska and Wyoming. The majority of schools in these states are closed, but few remain open. Others have taken schooling online for students to stay at home and avoid spreading the virus.

So far, across the country, over 118,000 schools have been closed – affecting over 154 million students. Closures are weighing on teachers, students and parents. But for high school students, they’re currently trying to figure out how to complete their grade for mandatory graduating credits and take Advanced Placement (AP) exams for college placement. Makeup classes, testing dates and more remain unknown.

According to NBC News and the School Nutrition Association, over 33 million kids won’t have free or subsidized meals from the schools while some schools are closed for weeks. Fortunately, local restaurants and community organizations are coming together to offer kids free meals across the country during the pandemic. 

What it Takes to Beat the Coronavirus

What it Takes to Beat the Coronavirus

Dr. Aaron Carroll and Dr. Ashish Jha recently published This is How We Can Beat the Coronavirus in The Atlantic. The article covers America’s testing infrastructure, self-quarantining and what we need next. 

“In the short term, we have to engage in strong mitigation,” Dr. Carroll told MSNBC.

He encourages people to stay in the house, stay away from people and keep enough equipment for medical professionals to keep them safe from getting sick and continue to care for patients. Dr. Jha says we need broad testing to see who’s impacted and flatten the curve quicker. It all comes down to what we can do sooner rather than later. 

Currently, California and New York have the country’s largest number of Coronavirus cases. The doctors say that Florida is likely the next hot spot for the virus considering spring breakers and retired senior citizens.

UPDATED: March 20, 2020

The Latest on a Treatment

The Latest on a Treatment

Researchers have found a possible treatment, called Remdesivir, that stops the virus from growing. In a recent CBS News article, they shared that it can start working in the body around 24 hours after starting the dose. Remdesivir was considered a treatment for Ebola. So far, two patients that have taken the treatment started to feel better the next day. The hope is to provide treatments for up to 1,000 people for clinical treatment soon, but there’s no set timeline. 

Addressing the Latest Take-Out Concerns

Addressing the Latest Take-Out Concerns

Restaurants across the country have been mandated to close amid the Coronavirus’ risk of spreading it through large crowds. They’re trying to stay afloat with takeout and delivery options for customers. But is it safe? Some families are concerned that they’ll contract the virus through food or the packaging from those that are asymptomatic. Fortunately, in a recent CNN interview, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained that you cannot.

So, it’s interesting. So, first of all, you’re not going to get it from the food that you’re eating. This isn’t one of those types of viruses,” he explained. “It is a respiratory virus.”

If you’re ordering takeout, it’s best to pay and tip online to avoid contact with others. You should ask the deliverer to leave the food at the door, and pick up the food when they leave.

What the Virus Means for Smokers and Vapers

What the Virus Means for Smokers and Vapers

Experts are now saying that those who smoke or vape could be more at risk if they contract the virus. The Coronavirus targets the lungs and could impact your immune system when needed to get rid of viruses. In fact, reports show that the people who smoke or vape are 14 times more likely to face extreme Coronavirus cases and symptoms than others.

UPDATED: March 17, 2020

The Latest on the Pandemic

The Latest on the Pandemic

COVID-19 has closed businesses, gyms, schools and attractions nationwide in a matter of days. Families are being urged to stay home to reduce the spread of the virus. Stores are closing early to thoroughly clean and restock the essentials. And headlines are changing by the second. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • The U.S. is under a National Emergency, which gives the government permission to use the $50 billion designated for disaster relief.
  • The government advises avoiding groups of 10 or more.
  • The U.S. has banned travel to and from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe. 
  • Non-essential services and businesses are being forced to close by government orders. This includes fitness centers, bars and theaters. Restaurants are either closing or offering take-out options only.
  • Many cities are enforcing curfews and lockdowns to keep families inside and reduce the spread of the virus.
The Scams Continue

The Scams Continue

Unfortunately, scams are continuing to grow and many are targeting seniors. Scammers have started selling teas and medications giving them the false hope that these remedies can remove the virus from their systems. Criminals are also buying domains that mention the Coronavirus for malware. They’re also sending phishing emails from the World Health Organization (WHO).

How to Stay Safe

How to Stay Safe

Remember, your safety comes first. Experts and the government are advising the following:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel and work from home if possible. 
  • Cover your mouth using a tissue or inner elbow when you sneeze or cough. 
  • Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces regularly. 
  • Stay home and avoid social gatherings. 
  • Pay close attention to your accounts, emails and potential scams.

ORIGINAL POST: March 13, 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is taking over major news headlines with the latest outbreak and updates across states and countries. There’s a lot of information to sort through including scams, symptoms ways to avoid spreading and more. Here’s what you need to know and do:

What is the Coronavirus?

What is the Coronavirus?

The World Health Organization (WHO) explained the coronavirus as a ‘family of viruses’ that can lead to respiratory infections such as common colds and could cause other viral diseases including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

It’s normally caught through small droplets when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes or exhales. These small drops land on everyday objects. If you happen to touch objects and touch your eyes, nose or mouth you could be at risk. 

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Symptoms to Watch Out For

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms visit your local doctor for testing immediately.

  • Dry cough 
  • Fatigue 
  • Fever 
  • Sore throat 
  • Nasal congestion 


The illness could also lead to difficulty breathing and call for emergency care. Those with pre-existing illnesses, including high blood pressure and diabetes, are more at risk. Currently, there isn’t a cure or vaccine for the virus. 

Ways to Avoid Spreading the Virus

Ways to Avoid Spreading the Virus

You can avoid spreading the virus by following a few simple steps. Most are common and should be used daily beyond the outbreak for good hygiene.

 

  • Avoid contact with anyone that’s sick. And, stay at home if you’re sick. 
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze using a flexed elbow or a tissue. If you use a tissue throw it away and wash your hands immediately. 
  • Try not to touch your face, eyes and mouth. 
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and use sanitizer frequently. 
  • Disinfect frequently – especially doorknobs, rails and anything often touched at work or home. 
  • Keep your immune system strong with fluids and a nutritious diet.
About Travel Concerns

About Travel Concerns

WHO says the risk of the virus is still low, but the risk varies depending on where you live or if you’re traveling. Before you travel, check the latest updates regarding your travel, events and the area you’ll be visiting.  

A Note about Face Masks

A Note about Face Masks

GettyImages-1205492287-min (1)  If you’re perfectly healthy, experts say that you don’t need a mask when out and about. Save the masks for those that are sick to prevent spreading the illness. However, face masks should be used by healthcare workers. 

Watch Out for Scams

Watch Out for Scams

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the epidemic with scams tied to the coronavirus. They’re targeting people a number of ways including acting as officials with the latest local updates on the virus in exchange for personal information. Criminals are also acting as officials asking for donations to fight the outbreak via phone and email. WHO advises families that they never ask you to log in, ask you to visit a link outside of www.who.int. They also never ask you to donate to emergency response plans or funding. Before you share any information, verify any information possible – links, email addresses or companies. 

If you’ve fallen for a scam report it to the Federal Trade Commission based on the scam method. Change all log-in information immediately and keep watch on your accounts. To keep your information safe beyond the outbreak consider an identity theft protection service to automatically alert you if your personal data has been compromised. 

Stay in the Know

Stay in the Know

Here are a few resources to stay in the know and get the most accurate and update to date information about the outbreak. 

COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Get the latest information about the Coronavirus and what you can do to stay safe.

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dashia

Written by

Dashia Starr

Dashia researches and writes on all things home automation and security. She focuses on the latest news, products, and providers to share only the best with you.