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Slow the Spread & Other Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

Last updated 3/18/2020

Each day, new cases of COVID-19 are being recorded worldwide, and the headlines just keep getting worse. With a lot of questions still unanswered, here are the facts we know.

What Is the Difference Between Coronavirus and COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the new coronavirus that is called SARS-CoV-2, or sometimes just “novel coronavirus”.

Social Distance/Social Distancing or Physical Distancing

What Is Social Distancing?

Social distancing, or physical distancing, is a set of actions taken to stop or slow the spread of a highly contagious disease. The goal of social distancing is to limit face-to-face contact to decrease the spread of illness among people in community settings (or community spread).

What Does Community Spread Mean?

Community spread means the virus is spreading person to person in an area, but the source of can’t be traced to travel or a specific person with known infection.

High Risk Groups, Pregnant, & Pets: What Is the Risk?

What Groups Are at Higher Risk of Contracting COVID-19?

About 80% of people who develop COVID-19 will have mild illness that can be managed at home. According to the WHO, older adults and persons with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for severe illness from the virus.

This includes people who have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

Am I at Increased Risk for COVID-19 if I’m Pregnant?

Women are more susceptible to some respiratory illness such as flu during pregnancy, but little is known about how coronavirus, or COVID-19, impacts an expectant mother and her baby. At this time, it does not appear pregnant women are at higher risk of the virus.

A report by the World Health Organization found that out of 147 pregnant women with COVID-19, 8% had severe disease and 1% were critical.

Should I Be Concerned About Pets or Animals and COVID-19?

While it is rare for animals to have COVID-19, the CDC and the World Organisation for Animal Health have reported a few cases, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.

While the initial reports of COVID-19 were thought to be linked to a live animal market, the virus is now primarily spreading from person to person. There’s also no evidence that any animals imported from China pose a risk of spreading the virus. 

Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals in the U.S. spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. However, the CDC recommends that you treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.

How Should I Protect Myself?

Am I at Risk for COVID-19 From a Package Shipping From China?

While the CDC states there are many unknown factors about how COVID-19 spreads, there is a very low risk of spread from products and packages being shipped from China. It is unlikely that the virus can survive the conditions or time involved in shipping.

There are currently no cases of transmission of COVID-19 via imported goods in the United States. 

Should I Wear a Mask to Protect Myself?

The CDC recommends that homemade cloth mask covers can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in a community. Mask covers can limit the spread of germs from the mask wearer to others by helping block large droplets from coughs and sneezes. 

The CDC has also provided new recommendations about wearing homemade or cloth face mask covers. In addition, University of Utah Health has released guidelines that address masking and information about ProjectProtect, an initiative to make PPE face masks for our health care workers. Together we can stem the spread of COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Vs. the Flu & Virus Survival

How Long Can the Virus Survive on Surfaces?

It is still not certain how long the coronavirus survives on surfaces. Preliminary studies suggest that the virus can persist for a few hours up to several days.

Is COVID-19 Deadlier Than the Flu?

Like flu, COVID-19 is most dangerous for specific groups as above. While the exact severity is not fully understood because mild cases are not counted in most statistics, COVID-19 appears to be somewhat more likely to cause death than flu in a typical year.

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