Mar 10, 2020 10:30 AM


By now, you've probably heard of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Each day, new cases are 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”.

What is social distancing?

Social 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.

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.

How can I protect myself?

- Stay home when you are sick.

- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or cough or sneeze into your elbow.

- Avoid touching your face.

- Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

- If soap and water isn’t accessible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

For more information on handwashing, click here.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For more information, click here.

Should I be concerned about pets or animals and COVID-19?

The CDC does not believe at this time that any animals in the U.S. can be infected with COVID-19 or can serve as a source of infection. Besides a single possible case in Hong Kong, there have been no other reports of pets or animals becoming sick with COVID-19. To ensure safety, Hong Kong’s AFCD advises pets to be quarantined if their owners are confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.In Hong Kong, it is recommended that the animal be observed and tested for the virus for 14 days. There’s also no evidence that any animals imported from China pose a risk of spreading the virus.

For more information, click here.

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?

Yes. Wearing a mask will help prevent you from spreading respiratory droplets when you cough, sneeze, or talk. Masks help limit the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face mask coverings in public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores or pharmacies, especially in high community transmission areas.

Learn how to make your own cloth mask

Information links

WHO COVID-19 website

CDC COVID019 website

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