There’s a lot of unknown about COVID-19 and what’s next. But, as the days unfold, we’re learning more about what it takes to reduce the risk. Experts are uncovering new answers to questions daily. Here’s what we know so far:
According to the CDC, the Coronavirus disease, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease found in more than 100 areas worldwide. The virus has been commonly spread by travelers, people who are in close contact with those who have it and large communities where the infection spreads unknowingly.
The Coronavirus is mainly spread from person-to-person. When someone coughs or sneezes small droplets are released into the environment. It can land on someone’s mouth, nose, their clothes or personal belongings – like most viruses.
Unless you are sick, you shouldn’t wear a mask. They’re meant to be worn for those that are sick to not spread germs from coughs and sneezes. Masks are also meant for caregivers of those that are ill and those working in healthcare. If you’re feeling well it’s best to save the masks for those that need them most.
Symptoms could take 2-14 days to appear. Here are the common symptoms to pay close attention to:
Shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest area
If you have chest pains or difficulty breathing it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Keep in mind that some people are asymptomatic to the virus. If you are recommended for testing it’s important to get tested even if you feel fine. The virus is silent for many.
Honestly, everyone is at risk of catching the virus. However, those over the age of 60 or with preexisting health conditions are at greater risk. Those with lung disease, high blood pressure or diabetes should be extremely careful and take all precautions.
The test is a simple swab in the back of your throat with a Q-tip, which is then sent off for testing. Test results could take 24-72 hours. The work done in the laboratory to identify whether or not the test is positive can be time-consuming.
Why are we socially distancing ourselves?
Staying away from others reduces the risk of the virus spreading in crowded environments. The more people you’re around, the more likely the invisible virus can spread.
What should I do about travel plans?
At this time, government officials are recommending canceling all unnecessary travel. Major public events are being postponed to reduce risks and assist with government recommendations. Airlines and hotels are being flexible to offer refunds and reschedule itineraries during the pandemic.
How long are government guidelines expected to last?
As of now, government restrictions and guidelines are expected to last for 15 days but could be longer. That doesn’t mean the virus will cease, but the hope is that the spread slows down during this time.
How long can the Coronavirus last on surfaces?
Based on similar viruses like SARS, the Coronavirus can stay on surfaces like plastic, glass and metal for up to nine days if not disinfected properly.