COVID-19 (popularly referred to as coronavirus) has been at the top of the headlines since the end of last year and just this week, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that the virus, which has seen over 2,700 deaths worldwide, could spread in the United States as well. The first case of coronavirus infection was reported on December 8, 2019 in China.
On February 25, 2020, the city of San Francisco declared a state of emergency because of the virus. And on February 26, President Trump’s government released a statement on the government’s position on how to stop the virus from spreading.
The first report of a person who has been infected with the virus but who had not been exposed to the virus through their travel history or contact with another known patient, was confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on February 26 as well.
On February 29, 2020, the first death from coronavirus was confirmed in the US. With over 80,000 active cases of COVID-19 infection now confirmed in 56 countries, public health scientists, the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC have all raised concerns that COVID-19 could become a worldwide pandemic.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from coronavirus? At this point, the best thing you can do is to be armed with the right information so you can take the right actions quickly.
In today’s post, we’ll outline 17 things you should know about the coronavirus pandemic.
What do you need to know about coronavirus?
- The current outbreak of coronavirus-which has been officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization-started in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
- The first case of coronavirus infection in the United States of “unknown” origin was confirmed by the CDC on February 26, 2020.
- Antibiotics do not kill viruses and so an antibiotic will not be effective in treating a coronavirus infection.
- Since the first report of coronavirus, there have been over 81,100 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world with the highest number of cases in China. As of this writing, there have been 2718 deaths from the infection.
- The virus is spread through airborne transmission. This means breathing air infected with the virus is likely to infect a healthy person.
- A virus of this kind is likely to spread quickly in places where people congregate like schools, childcare centers and places of mass gatherings.
What are the symptoms of the COVID-19 infection?
According to the CDC, the symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
A fever and cough are usually associated with mild cases of the flu and so it can be easy to ignore and seek treatment later.
Since there is a current worldwide spread of the virus is now considered very high by the WHO, it is important to report the symptoms even if you think you’re “just fine”.
How should you protect yourself against coronavirus infection?
- There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. There is no approved medication to treat it either.
- The best way to protect yourself against the virus is to limit contact with people who might be sick. Even catching a cold could weaken your immune system enough that another infection takes hold. So stay away from anyone who is already sick.
- Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds after you are done using the bathroom, being outside or before you eat any food.
- Clean and disinfect any surfaces that you’re frequently in contact with.
- If you sneeze or cough, cover the sneeze or cough with a tissue. Throw the tissue away after use.
- If you have the flu, stay away from work or school.
- If you experience any symptoms of coronavirus infection, report to a hospital immediately.
- For now, the government is advising that you don’t travel to countries that are heavily hit by the COVID-19 infection.
- If you or a loved one are healthcare workers, it will be important to take extra precautions so that the virus is not spread to family members. The CDC currently has protocols that healthcare workers who are more likely to be taking care of patients with coronavirus.
- Since we are still in the 2019/2020 flu season, experts recommend that you get your flu vaccine and take any prescribed antivirals.
This news of COVID-19 infections is scary and may induce anxiety. If you find that this affects your mental health, speak to a mental health professional about it.
With no vaccine and no cure, the best action for you to take right now is to know the symptoms of the COVID-19 infection and to report to a hospital or doctor’s office immediately.