A novel coronavirus is a new strain of virus that has not been previously identified in humans. The virus that causes COVID-19 is different from the coronaviruses that commonly circulate, causing mild illness, like the common cold.
In COVID-19, 'CO' stands for corona, 'VI' for virus, and 'D' for disease. It means coronavirus disease 2019. Formerly, the disease was referred to as "2019 novel coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV".
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
COVID-19 seems to behave like other coronaviruses. According to a recent study, COVID-19 may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. The study found that the virus can live for up to 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper. In addition, it is also detectable in the air for 3 hours.
Generally, COVID-19 infection is mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause severe illness and may be fatal for those who are older, as well as those who have underlying conditions. Thus, it is quite reasonable for people to worry.
To protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, it is essential to practise regular handwashing and good respiratory hygiene. Also, it is beneficial to follow the advice of local health authorities, particularly towards any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings to reduce the risk of infection effectively.
Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals whereby some of them are also capable of infecting humans.
Bats are recognised as natural hosts of these viruses, and several other species of animals are also known to act as sources. For example, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is transmitted to humans from camels, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) is transmitted to humans from civet cats.
Initial study found that the mortality rate for COVID-19 is at 2%. However, on March 3rd, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that 3.4% of those who are infected with the disease have died from across the globe. This data may change from time to time. It is too early to determine what the overall mortality rate is.
"Incubation period" refers to the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. The incubation period for COVID-19 is somewhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure. However, this estimate may change as we learn more about the virus.
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This means droplets from an infected person who coughs or sneezes or droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
It is also believed that people can become infected by touching an object that has the virus on it and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Current evidence suggests that while coronaviruses appear to be stable at low and freezing temperatures for a certain period, food hygiene and good food safety practices can prevent their transmission through food.
Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of getting infected. According to critical scientific analysis, coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.
There is no information from published scientific reports about the susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. However, pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which may make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19.
Coronavirus infection spreads mainly by close contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets. Also, it is still unknown whether a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to her baby through other routes of vertical transmission before, during or after delivery.
Based on available preliminary data, the average time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately 2 weeks. For patients with severe cases, the recovery period may last up to 3-6 weeks.
No, the symptoms of COVID-19 in children and adults are similar. However, children with COVID-19 have generally presented mild cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhoea have also been reported. Furthermore, it is still unknown whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, especially those with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. Hence, there is much more to be learnt about how COVID-19 impacts children.
There is limited evidence that rinsing the nose regularly with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, there is no evidence showing that doing so can protect people from COVID-19.
For the other coronaviruses, infected people are unlikely to be reinfected after they recover. However, it is still unknown whether similar immune protection will be observed with those who have recovered from COVID-19.
If hand sanitisers are not available, handwashing with soap and water is an even better alternative. For an alcohol-based hand rub to be useful, it must contain an alcohol content of 60% to 95%. Liquor is ineffective against coronavirus.
The WHO actively follows the ongoing clinical trials to obtain an effective response to COVID-19, which includes the scientific studies that are looking at the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Currently, there is inadequate data to evaluate the efficacy of either of these medicines in treating COVID-19 patients and in preventing people from contracting the coronavirus.
World Health Organisation
Several countries are evaluating the use of LPV/r and other antivirals, and the WHO welcomes the results of these investigations. Currently, there is inadequate data to assess the effectiveness of LPV/r or other antivirals in treating COVID-19 patients.
The current interim guidance from WHO on the clinical administration of severe acute respiratory infection when COVID-19 infection is presumed advises against the use of corticosteroids unless indicated for different reasons.
This guidance is based on systematic analyses that indicate inadequacy and possible harm from routine treatment with corticosteroids for viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
At present, no evidence suggests that taking a massive dosage of vitamin C supplements could help prevent or cure the new disease, COVID-19. In fact, medical health experts say there is limited evidence that vitamin C can even prevent the common cold.
On the one hand, isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. On the other hand, quarantine refers to the restriction or separation of movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
Yes, provided that you do it alone or with other members of the household.
Although people must stay at home to reduce the risk of infection, you are allowed to go out once a day for a walk, run, or cycle. However, it is essential to stay at least 2 metres away from anyone else that is not from your household.
You should not visit family members who do not live in your home, especially those who are at risk, such as the elderly.
If you have vulnerable relatives, you may help them in buying their daily needs or assist them in ordering their essentials online. However, you must not enter their home. Instead, you may leave the shopping bags and medication at the door.
If the answer is yes to those mentioned above, you may volunteer to care for vulnerable persons. However, it is crucial to be mindful of the guidelines set out by the UK government to ensure your safety.
No, there is no need for people suffering from pollen allergy to self-isolate if they develop their typical hay fever symptoms. Furthermore, they should continue following the general guidance for social distancing and seek medical advice only if the symptoms get worse and they develop fever or breathing difficulties.
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
If you think you have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. You can also call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online.
Testing now mostly takes place in hospitals. People with respiratory illness or those in intensive care units will be tested for COVID-19. When there is a cluster of infections in a care home, those people will be tested as well.
Smokers are more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers and cigarettes are in close contact with the lips. Thus, increasing the possibility of transmission from hand to mouth. Also, they may already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity, which would significantly increase the risk of serious illness.
An early study suggests that there may be a chance that some blood types are at a higher risk of getting infected. Researchers of the said study assessed 2,173 confirmed cases in Shenzhen and Wuhan, where the outbreak originated.
They found that patients with A blood group types were more likely to have been hospitalised than average, while those with an O blood group type were less likely.
In the local population, 32% had a type A blood group, compared with 38% of those in hospital. Meanwhile, 34% of residents had type 0 blood, compared with 26% in the hospital.
No evidence suggests that COVID-19 is a man-made virus nor proof that this is used as biological warfare. Coronaviruses originate in animals and cause illness in animals. However, sometimes they can spread from animals to humans.
The virus is completely new. Thus, health experts still need further research to better understand how it will react to warmer weather by examining its behaviour and properties. However, just like any viruses, it is clear that warmer weather does not stop the transmission or growth of the virus. For COVID-19, we cannot expect it to completely disappear by the summer.
People can fight stigma by helping and not hurting those that are affected by COVID-19. One way of helping others is by providing social support. Counter stigma by learning and sharing evidence-based facts.
Generally, most people with disabilities are not at higher risk of becoming infected with or having severe illness from the new coronavirus. However, some people with physical limitations or other disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection because of their underlying medical condition and/or other chronic health conditions.
Coronaviruses generally survive for shorter periods at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or drier environments. Currently, we have no direct data for the new coronavirus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature-based cutoff for inactivation. The necessary temperature would also be based upon particular materials of the surface as well as the environment.
An antibody test studies a patient's sample by testing the blood for coronavirus antibodies to see if they have already beaten the virus and gained some immunity to it. Also, it will determine if the patient has had the coronavirus before and has since recovered.
An antigen test determines the presence or absence of an antigen. An antigen is a structure within a virus that triggers the immune system's response to fight off the infection. The antigen tests spot viral proteins in the blood and give quicker results to help identify whether someone has an infection.
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick whereas quarantine refers to the restriction or separation of movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
The Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund is a secure way for individuals, philanthropies and businesses to contribute to the WHO-led effort to respond to the pandemic.
The United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation have created the solidarity fund to support WHO and partners in a massive effort to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the novel coronavirus, particularly those where the needs are the greatest.
Social distancing is a public health practice that puts space between people to prevent them from coming in close contact with those who are infected with the disease. This practice aims to slow the spread of transmission or reduce opportunities of transmission in a community.
Social distancing includes maintaining a barrier of physical distance which include:
Cancelling group events
Closing public spaces
Working from home
Not taking public transportation, including buses, subways, taxis, and rideshares.
Generally, well-controlled means that your condition is stable, not life-threatening, and laboratory assessments and other findings are as similar as possible to those without the health condition. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your GP if you have questions regarding your general health and wellbeing, as well as how to manage any health conditions while staying at home.
The Solidarity Trial is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, launched by WHO and partners. It is hoped that one or more of the treatments under trial will result in improving clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients and save lives. Other trials are on-going around the world in addition to the Solidarity Trial.
Critical workers are those working in health and care and other essential services, who can take their children to school or childcare, regardless of year group, and can use hotels and other accommodation services for work-related purposes. For example, those who cannot go home after a shift or need to isolate from their families. This critical worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a critical worker, you may still travel to work if you cannot reasonably work from home.