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What You Really Need to Know About Coronavirus

Author:Biophilia  UpdateTime:2020-04-01

What is coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause disease in both animals and humans. They're named for the distinctive crown-like spikes on the virus surface. Human coronaviruses were identified decades ago, in the mid-1960s. The virus typically causes mild cases of the common cold but can lead to respiratory infections like pneumonia. The name of the current coronavirus is "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2," or SARS-CoV-2.


Does coronavirus live on surfaces? "What we know from coronaviruses is that they are very hardy and they like to stay on surfaces," says Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor and chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, a professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and co-author of the JAMA commentary. "The answer to that is probably 'yes.'" The virus probably remains on a surface for several hours, he adds. "We're missing a lot of information to be absolutely sure."

What are the symptoms of coronavirus diseases? What should I do if I have symptoms? Fever, cough and shortness of breath are the key coronavirus symptoms. Fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat and abdominal pain have also been reported. People may experience a mild illness but it can become very severe. If you develop these symptoms – particularly if you've recently traveled to an area affected by coronavirus or been in close contact to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 – call your health care professional, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises.

How long does coronavirus last? The illness lasts somewhere between two to three weeks, according to some estimates, although that isn't definite.
What is coronavirus in dogs? Can you get coronavirus from animals? Coronavirus is thought to have originated in a bat and then moved onto humans through an intermediate host, likely an animal called a pangolin. Bottom line: "You're not going to get coronavirus from an animal," del Rio says. (This is not the same type of coronavirus that affects dogs.)

Is coronavirus deadly? Although most people eventually recover, coronavirus can be deadly.

Who is at most at risk for coronavirus? So far, evidence suggests that older adults are more likely to develop coronavirus, with average ages in the late 50s. Males have been affected slightly more often, at least in China. "We don't know the reason for that," del Rio says.

People with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease may be at higher risk. "Older people are not only at higher risk of getting infected, but (also) of getting more severe disease," del Rio says.

What is coronavirus treatment? So far, there are no medications specifically used to treat coronavirus. Care is supportive, meaning the focus is on treating disease symptoms and complications. "It's all about addressing symptoms, but there is a drug that is being tried in clinical trials," del Rio says. "If I had the disease, I would do whatever I could to get into a clinical trial, if I was severe enough to be in the hospital." This investigational antiviral drug is called remdesivir.

Are antibiotics effective? Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Because coronavirus is a viral infection, antibiotics would not be effective to treat it.

How can you prevent coronavirus? Hand hygiene, such as frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizers, is a major recommendation. Avoiding exposure to people with respiratory infections and not going out if you're sick can prevent the virus from spreading. Isolation is part of coronavirus care. People with milder cases are advised to stay home and follow infection-control precautions. Hospitalized patients are typically placed in an airborne infection isolation room.
Are masks helpful or not? "That depends on which mask you're talking about," del Rio says. "But in general, the typical masks are not helpful for prevention. If I have a cold, if I have the flu and I need to go to the store, I put on mask to prevent me from infecting others." If you put on a face mask, take these steps:

First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
Check the mask for any holes or tears.
Find the top side of the mask, which has a bendable area to shape to the top of your nose. The front side is usually colored, often green.
Put the ear loops around each ear and pinch the mask to fit your nose. Place the bottom of the over your mouth and chin.
Is there a vaccine for coronavirus? There is no vaccine for coronavirus to date. "A lot of research is being done to create a vaccine for coronavirus," del Rio notes. "We're not there yet, but we are doing the best we can to develop a vaccine.

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