Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
While there have been several reported cases of Coronavirus in the US, all Americans identified so far with the disease had recently been in China or had close contact with someone who became infected in China. In addition, public health officials report that many of the U.S. cases have been relatively mild infections.
Here are some 5 things you should know about the Coronavirus:
Coronavirus has a relatively low fatality rate
The number of deaths in China is startling, but remember – even a virus with a low fatality rate can kill many people if the number of infections is large. For example, influenza kills 0.14% of infected patients. But because the flu is so common — infecting up to 45 million Americans a season — deaths could climb as high as 61,000 people each flu season just in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How Coronavirus is transmitted much like the flu
The rapid spread of the coronavirus suggests it is transmitted person-to-person, much like influenza: An infected person coughs out moist droplets containing the virus and another person breathes them in.
Because the moist droplets fall to the ground within 3 to 6 feet, patients are most likely to infect people with whom they are in close contact. These droplets can also land on surfaces, such as door handles, and infect other people who touch the contaminated surface, then touch their mouth or eyes.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
The primary symptoms of Coronavirus are:
- Shortness of breath
If you or someone close to you has traveled to China in the past 14 Days, and you begin to experience the symptoms above, seek medical attention right away. REMEMBER: Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, as protocols need to be followed in order to prevent infecting others. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy
Following standard best practices to prevent illness is currently the best way to protect yourself from the Coronavirus.
- 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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Decontaminating an area contaminated with Coronavirus can only be completed by professionals
In the event that an individual is diagnosed with Coronavirus, any areas previously inhabited by that person will need to be thoroughly decontaminated by professionals, with the proper chemicals, protective equipment and experience dealing with infectious diseases. Attempting to clean a contaminated space without the proper equipment and procedures is extremely dangerous.
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