The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has been rapidly spreading across the globe, overhauling everyday life as we knew it. As of today (April 6, 2020) the novel coronavirus has spread to 209 countries in just about all continents. The virus has resulted in 1,342,234 cases and 74,554 confirmed deaths since it first broke out at the end of December 2019.
As mentioned above, the coronavirus has also caused many interruptions in everyday life since its spread. Travel has been virtually discontinued, many schools are closed for the remainder of the school year, people are out of jobs, and the economy is the worst it has been in decades. Even hanging out with friends is now strongly advised against (unless done virtually, of course).
As worry over the novel coronavirus continues to rise exponentially, we took to forums, social media, and popular search reports to see what exactly people are wanting to learn about the coronavirus pandemic. To aid you as you continue to practice social distancing and protect the wellbeing of you and your family, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at five of the most common questions people have about the novel coronavirus and their (accurate) answers. Let’s dig in!
1. What Is COVID-19?
The novel coronavirus that is spreading rapidly is a virus of the coronavirus family. Coronaviruses have been known to cause illness in humans and animals. For humans specifically, there are several coronavirus strains that are known to cause the common cold, MERS, and SARS. Only recently, a new/novel coronavirus was discovered that causes the COVID-19 disease. These viruses tend to cause respiratory symptoms such as coughing, trouble breathing, and pneumonia.
The new coronavirus is considered “new” or “novel” because, although it may have existed for quite some time, it has not been identified until only recently. Rather than being the actual coronavirus itself, COVID-19 is actually the term used to describe the disease that is caused by the novel coronavirus.
2. What are the most common symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms people may experience with COVID-19 include fatigue, a high fever, and/or a dry cough. For the vast majority of cases reported, symptoms do not get worse than this (similar to a common cold).
However, especially for people who are immuno-compromised, symptoms may include trouble breathing, diarrhea, pneumonia, respiratory infections/failure, multiple organ failure, or even death.
3. How does COVID-19 spread from one person to another?
The novel coronavirus is spread most commonly through small droplets that are passed from person to person when someone coughs or exhales. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets land either directly on nearby people or on surfaces nearby. As unsuspecting people touch these surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, they may then contract the virus.
Because coughs and sneezes may spread droplets out as far as six feet, it’s important that you practice social distancing of at least six feet at all times.
4. What should I do to prevent myself and others from contracting the new coronavirus?
Most of the preventative measures you can take are easy, such as washing your hands regularly. Here is a list of the best preventative measures you can take to make sure that you and your loved ones remain safe in these unpredictable times:
- Clean your hands thoroughly and often with an alcohol-based soap or cleaner. Wash them for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Keep a safe distance of at least six feet between yourself and others when you have to leave your home, such as to buy groceries.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. As a general rule, avoid touching your face at all until you’ve washed your hands thoroughly.
- Wear a cloth covering your nose and mouth if you have to go out in public (such as to buy groceries). Safely remove this cloth covering and immediately toss it in the washer after each use.
- Stay home and self-quarantine if you don’t feel well. If you show common symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor in advance, and follow the instructions they provide.
- Stay home as much as possible and only leave for essential activities such as grocery shopping and caring for loved ones.
5. When will the pandemic end?
This is arguably the question we all want the answer to the most. Unfortunately, it’s a difficult one to answer.
The thing is that when the novel coronavirus ceases to spread and the pandemic ends is largely based on how well (or poorly) we contain the current situation.
There are a growing number of countries–-such as China, South Korea, and Singapore––that have implemented strict regulations that have effectively reduced the overall number of new confirmed cases. In fact, Germany even put a strict limit on how large gatherings can be: a mere two people maximum. With fierce restrictions like these, we can potentially see the pandemic end sooner than later.
Unfortunately, restrictions have been rather minimal for the rest of the world, resulting in the rapid spread of COVID-19. The United States, for example, saw a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in recent weeks. In fact, the U.S. is now the country with the most confirmed cases in the world.
Still, some scientists and experts have made mention that the virus could be curbed (not eliminated) dramatically in a matter of two months. Even still, this wouldn’t mean that normal life as we know it would resume right away.
To make a long story short, no one truly knows when this pandemic will end. It may be a few months or it could be a few years. But what we do know for sure is that this pandemic will end sooner than later if we all come together to practice safety measures. This means social distancing, staying home, washing our hands, wearing protective gear when out and about eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping well.
If we all come together as one unit and at the same time, we could make sure that COVID-19 doesn’t wreak havoc on the remainder of our 2020 and beyond.