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Coronavirus 101: The Basics

March 16, 2020

We’re hearing a lot about Coronavirus. We must be informed with reliable information to get through this.

To help you sort through all the Coronavirus information, we’re posting some the basics, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

About Coronavirus

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from one person to another. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2,” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019,” abbreviated as “COVID-19.” The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first seen in an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that hasn’t been yet identified, and the virus causing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) isn’t the same as the coronaviruses that commonly are found among people that can cause mild illness, such as the common cold.

For sure, folks in the U.S. can get COVID-19. The virus has been reported in more than 2,700 individuals, and at least 58 patients have died. The only state that’s not reporting any Coronavirus cases so far is West Virginia.

The risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19, like healthcare workers, first responders, and household members. Others said to be at higher risk for infection are individuals who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, like Italy or China. In addition, the CDC says that seniors and those with serious underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes appear to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from the Coronavirus.

Symptoms

Those with the Coronavirus have symptoms that range from mild indications to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. These types of symptoms may appear anywhere from two days to two weeks after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The emergency warning signs for confirmed Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases include:

  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • A constant pain in your chest;
  • Chest pressure;
  • Confusion;
  • An inability to arouse or sluggishness; and
  • A bluish tint to your lips or face.

This list isn’t all-inclusive, and you may exhibit other symptoms.

If you experience any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19, you should seek medical attention right away.

Treatment

Right now, there isn’t a specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Today, those with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

There’s currently no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus disease 2019. Right now, experts say that developing a vaccine that can prevent the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will take somewhere between 12-18 months.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the Coronavirus. This virus is believed to spread primarily from person-to-person—between those who are in close contact with one another, typically within six feet.

The virus is spread trough respiratory droplets that are the result of an infected person coughing or sneezing. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are close by, or these droplets may be inhaled into the lungs.

Precautions

The physicians and scientists at the CDC explain that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the Coronavirus. You can do that by following these simple guidelines:

Clean your hands frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—especially when you come from a public place, as well as after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If you can’t use soap and water immediately, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact. As mentioned earlier, try to keep from having any contact with those who are sick. You should try to put some distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community in Michigan, and it’s particularly critical for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Try to protect others. Remain at home if you’re sick, and leave the house only to seek medical care.

Know what to do if you’re sick:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze—or use the inside of your elbow;
  • Dispose of your used tissues in the trash;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds right away;
  • If you can’t get to soap and water, use hand sanitizer to clean your hands;
  • Wear a facemask when you’re near other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

If you’re not sick:

  • You don’t need to wear a facemask unless you’re caring for someone who’s sick and can’t wear a facemask themselves;
  • Clean and disinfect all the surfaces you touch frequently every day; and
  • Use with soap and water before disinfecting the surfaces (don’t forget to clean and disinfect your cellphone!).

Global Outlook

Case numbers around the world are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report. There are multiple chains of transmission in almost every country.

The CDC says that the Coronavirus will spread throughout the world and will most likely infect 40-70% of the global population during its first wave, which may take six months to a year.

Do your part to slow the spread of Coronavirus by being smart about your actions and knowing what you should do.