Where can I receive updated information on Coronavirus?
What is the coronavirus?
The 2019 novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, is a member of a large family of viruses, which can cause a variety of illnesses in animals and humans. One type of coronavirus causes about 20% of common colds in humans. Other types of coronavirus have caused more serious illnesses in the past, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
After apparently originating in the Wuhan province of China, the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread outward to several other areas, including North America. So far, it has caused illness in thousands of people. Among those with the illness, the severity has varied from simple “cold symptoms” all the way up to death. The fraction of those with a severe infection is a small portion of the total number infected with coronavirus, based on initial data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Novel Coronavirus in China alert and the routinely updated situation summaries are the best sources for up-to-date information.
How can a person protect themselves from the 2019 coronavirus?
There are several measures which reduce the likelihood of getting or spreading the virus:
- Stay home when you are sick. Please see medical attention if you are ill, and only come to the office when your doctor clears you to do so.
Regularly wash your hands (30 seconds!) and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. Sneeze into your elbow.
Do not share food or drinks
Avoid close contact with people who have fever, coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing
Keep yourself away from others if you have fever, coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
What are the symptoms of the 2019 coronavirus?
When a person has the virus, they may have a fever (above 100.4° F or 38° C), cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms overlap with several other common illnesses, including influenza.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, your health care provider will ask about recent travel or possible exposure to other people who are known to have the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19). At-risk individuals may undergo a physical examination, lab testing or additional consultation with experts, if needed.
How is the 2019 coronavirus spread?
According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may also be possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with the virus and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.
How widespread is the 2019 coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are tracking the spread of the disease. You can read more about this via the Coronavirus Situation Summary, which includes a map.
What should I do if I am sick?