Find out answers to the most frequent questions about the new coronavirus COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
It is a potentially severe acute respiratory infection caused by an infection of a recently discovered pathogen - SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
What are COVID-19 symptoms?
The symptoms stressed out by the World Health Organization are:
- Shortness of breath.
However, not all of them develop at once. Based on the study of 99 patients, here are the symptoms by the incidence of their occurrence:
How not to get infected by COVID-19?
- The virus spreads mainly by touching the same objects as an infected individual have touched so the main prevention measure is washing hands with soap thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
- There is a high chance of getting infected if an infected person coughs or sneezes near you and doesn’t cover their mouth. Thus, it is important to keep a distance of 1.5-2 meters from other people when going outside. This distance ensures that the released droplets fall down before they reach you.
- Do not touch your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth while outside and before washing your hands thoroughly or using a 60% alcohol sanitizer. The virus is very contagious so if it is on your hands or clothes, it can easily get into your organism if you touch your face. It can penetrate even through the eye mucosa.
- To avoid spread of the disease even if you don’t have any symptoms, it is advised not to leave your home unless there is a necessity such as urgent need for medicines or aliments.
- Besides washing your hands or using sanitizer for them, do not forget to disinfect the gadgets you touch while being outside, i.e. your smartphone, earbuds, etc.
- If you are not a medical worker, do not work with food, or are infected, you don’t need to wear a mask. It cannot filter the small viruses but it can be helpful if an infected individual wears it and when coughing, the droplets can be stopped from spreading by the mask.
What to do if you suspect that you may have COVID-19?
If you suspect that you got infected as you develop a fever and other flu-like symptoms after being in contact with an infected individual, inform your healthcare provider by telephone and get the instructions on how to get treated. Do not go to a doctor because you can infect other people. Besides, going to the hospital and waiting in a line renders a load on your immune system which main priority must be fighting virus. Your doctor can tell you to get tested and send to you a special brigade with a test so there is no need to go outside when having the symptoms.
The treatment recommendations for people not from the risk group are:
- Stay in bed; - Take antipyretics such as paracetamol or Tylenol when you have fever;
- Drink plenty of warm (but not hot) water, tea, and other liquids, for instance, broth.
- If you develop severe cough or shortness of breath – inform your doctor by phone and follow his or her recommendations. If you don’t develop severe cough and shortness of breath you don’t need to seek emergency help.
But if you are in a risk group, i.e. are over 60 years of age, have chronic or recent acute respiratory disease, compromised immunity, and so on, inform your doctor about your symptoms immediately. In people from risk group the symptoms can quickly develop from mild cough to severe pneumonia.
Who is at the highest risk of developing acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19?
Based on the existing statistics, around 15% of people with the infection require intensive care treatment. The fatality rate by the age groups can be found below.
COVID-19 statistics: fatality rate by age
As you have probably heard, individuals with pre-existing conditions are also at the highest risk:
Note that people with compromised immunity, tobacco smokers, and people with other chronic diseases are also at a greater risk of developing COVID-19 complications and death. Currently there are no statistics on other diseases but it is evidential that any health condition can complicate the course of this new viral infection.
Is there COVID-19 vaccine?
No, there is no vaccine yet but many countries of the world work on its development. Is COVID-19 more deadly than flu? According to COVID-19 statistics available to date, it is more deadly than the regular seasonal flu and the rate is around 2-4% of infected people while this rate for flu is below 1 %. However, these aren’t final data. First of all, because the infection spreads very quickly. Secondly, because there are multiple cases that haven’t been diagnosed yet. And thirdly, the final statistics would be more accurate when the pandemic is over.
What countries are most affected by COVID-19?
According to the statistics for 24.03.2020, the countries with the biggest number of infected people are: China (81, 093; no new cases today), Italy (63, 927; 4,789 cases today), and the USA (43,022 9; 456 new cases today). The statistics are changing pretty quickly, you can also look for an interactive map to see the number of infected in your area.
Are there effective COVID-19 drugs?
There are no drugs developed specifically for COVID-19 but scientists have been testing the existing drugs and report that the most positive results for lowering of virus volume in the body and faster recovery are shown by:
- Lopinavir + Ritonavir. This is HIV medication tested by Chinese doctors and proven to be effective against the new coronavirus.
- Chloroquine. This is the antimalarial medication that first shown very positive results in vitro and then tested in COVID-19 patients and now is approved by the FDA for its treatment.