Coronavirus Help Guide and Important Precautions. Prepare carefully, but don’t panic. Here are the answers to the most common queries about the Novel Coronavirus based on our discussion with the various experts from the reputed institutes and analysis of the CDC, WHO, and MoHFW guidelines.
COVID-19 is an infectious condition, which means it can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another.
- Involves your upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, airways, lungs).
- Caused by the newly discovered coronavirus, called as novel coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
How deadly is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus has “high ineffectivity but low mortality”
- Mortality rate ranges between 2-3%. It is significantly less severe than 2003 SARS (MR: 10%) or 2012 MERS (MR: 35%) outbreaks.
- Risk of death is only higher in older people (above an age of ~60 years) and people with pre-existing health conditions.
Why is there so much panic?
The lack of verified facts and floating rumors are to be blamed for this panic. The most important thing is when a virus is new; we don’t know how it may affect people.
Will I die if I catch the disease?
- Almost 80% of people have mild symptoms, and recover from the disease in 2 weeks.
- Most of the symptoms can be treated with timely medical care.
Who is getting sick and how sick?
- Older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness.
- Most coronavirus led illnesses are generally mild, especially for children and young adults.
Are children also at risk of coronavirus infection?
COVID-19 appears to be relatively rare and mild in children.
- Just over 2% of cases were under 18 years of age.
- Of these, fewer than 3% developed severe or critical disease.
An infected person can spread the infection to a healthy person.
- Through eye, nose, and mouth, via droplets produced on coughing or sneezing.
- Close contact with infected person.
- Contact with contaminated surfaces, objects, or items of personal use.
Can the novel coronavirus be passed on through food?
There is no such evidence as yet.
- Experience with other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS suggest that people do not get infected through food.
Can eating chicken or eggs cause Coronavirus?
- There is no such evidence as yet. The novel coronavirus is not known to spread directly through poultry products.
- But, experts say it can be a good option to have only properly cooked meat.
Do I have coronavirus if I am coughing or sneezing?
You can suspect to have coronavirus, only if you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) + any out of these:
- Travel history to a coronavirus-affected area (like China, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, etc.).
- Close contact with such a person.
- Visiting a healthcare facility/ labs where Coronavirus patients are being taken care of.
Track what your symptoms are
Coronavirus can get you symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath. They can be almost similar to common cold or flu and may appear 2-14 days of exposure. Severity of illness can vary in different people from mild to severe symptoms.
If you have a fever, cold, or sore throat, don’t panic. Take good care of yourself:
- Inhale steam 2-3 times a day to clear off congestion.
- Stay hydrated and get adequate rest*.
- Washing your hands frequently can reduce the spread of the virus.
- Visit a doctor if condition worsens or does not get better with time.
- Take medicines as and when advised by the doctor.
Cold vs. Flu vs. Coronavirus
If you have a sore throat, it’s more likely a cold than flu or coronavirus, in general.
Should I be tested for coronavirus if I have high grade fever, cough and difficulty in breathing? Or can I get a coronavirus test done just for the sake of satisfaction?
- Testing for coronavirus will only be done as recommended by the doctors
- only if someone falls under the definition of “suspected case”.
Why can only designated labs test coronavirus? Why can’t I get a home sample collection done for coronavirus testing?
- It is because the virus is highly contagious and can only be tested by special labs equipped to handle such contagious pathogens. As of now, only labs with bio safety level 4 (BSL4) can handle the COVID-19 samples.
Can a person infected with coronavirus recover completely and be no more infectious?
- In fact, about 80% of people have recovered from the disease without needing special treatment.
Can coronavirus be treated?
Symptom-based medical care is given and has proven really effective. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for novel coronavirus as yet.
Can eating garlic prevent infection with the coronavirus?
- There is no science-based evidence that proves its ability to protect against the coronavirus.
Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
As per the experts in the field, heat and warm weather is likely to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
How long does the coronavirus survive over the surfaces or objects?
- Survives up to 8-10 hours over porous surfaces (like paper, untreated wood, cardboard, sponge and fabric)
- Little more than this over nonporous surfaces (like glass, plastics, metals, and varnished wood).
What type of mask should one wear to protect against the coronavirus?
- The 3-layer disposable surgical masks are good enough to contain the virus.
- N-95 or N-99 masks are not mandated.
Should the coronavirus outbreak concern you about your pets or other animals?
- To date, no case has been reported of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.
- We still recommend washing your hands before and after you interact with your pets as you may not know if some infected droplets get on your pet’s fur.
Major concern: How easily does it spread?
- The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and continually.
- Community spread is seen only in some affected geographic areas like China, Republic of Korea, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong, etc.
3Ps: All it takes to defeat Coronavirus!
Channel your worries into these 3 actionable goals:
- Protect yourselves.
- Protect your loved ones.
- Protect your community
- Wash your hand regularly with plenty of soap and water.
- Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer ready for times when soap and water are not available.
- Don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unclean hands.
- Keep your distance of at least 1 meter from anyone coughing or sneezing.
- Follow no-touch greeting for no germs contracted. Prefer “Aasalam Aleikum” or hand waving over handshake.
Protect your loved ones
- Don’t sneeze or cough into your hands. Use a tissue and throw it away immediately, or sneeze in the inner side of your elbow.
- Don’t travel or visit crowded places if you’re sick.
- Do wear a mask if you’re sick and also if you are taking care of someone with the symptoms.
Protect your community
- If you feel unwell, seek medical attention.
- If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, stay indoors. Call healthcare professionals and follow their advice.
- Do not share “just any forwarded message”. Only share authentic information coming through medical experts
For any further queries, contact the Ministry of Health on their 24/7 helpline number (1166)
References for Coronavirus Help Guide
Harvard Medical School. Coronavirus: Many questions, some answers.
This piece is for informational purpose only, it is not a substitute to a doctor’s advice or any professional medical advice