Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
(Updated March 17, 2020)
Who is at risk?
- Individuals older than 50 are at the greatest risk of serious complication from the virus. The average age of death is 80.
- Men have an approximately 50% higher risk than women.
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like: Heart disease, Diabetes, and Lung disease are at higher risk.
- Children and young adults are more at risk from the flu than from COVID-19.
- Mar 13: People with suppressed immune systems, such as those on steroids or chemotherapy.
How long is someone contagious?
Mar 12: Researchers now believe that a patient can spread the virus for up to 37 days after they start showing symptoms and up to 20 days after recovering.
What if I have been exposed?
- Mar 13: Most people will never know they have been exposed since testing for asymptomatic persons is not yet available. It is very likely that many more people have been exposed and remain aymptomatic carriers.
- Mar 13: In the US, where quarantines are not easily implemented, people are at a higher risk of exposure over the next 3-6 weeks.
- Individuals who know they have come into contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Individuals who test positive for the virus shoudl isolate themselves until symptoms clear and they test negative for the disease twice.
What are the symptoms? (Updated Mar 23)
The symptoms for this coronavirus are similar to that of the flu:
See here for detailed information.
- Sore throat
- Dry Cough
What can I do to prepare?
On Feb 25, the CDC said that Americans should prepare themselves for "significant disruption in their daily lives." If an outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time.
- Ask your children's school about their plans for school dismissals or school closures, and plans for teleschool.
- What would you do for childcare if schools or day cares close?
- Is teleworking an option for you?
If you are in a high risk group, you should: (1)
- Stock up on supplies, such as medications, groceries, and household items so you can stay at home for a period of time.
- Keep space between yourself and others. Avoid contant with sick people. Avoid crowds.
- Clean your hands often. Avoid touching surfaces in public areas. Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid cruises and non-essential air travel.
- During an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible.
Recommended foods to prepare for self-isolation: (1)
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener.
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- High energy foods
- Food for infants
- Comfort stress foods
- Ensure to pack a manual can opener and eating utensils
- Do not buy foods that will make you thirsty
- One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
What's the point of canceling events and instituting quarantines?
In countries that have been heavily impacted by this coronavirus in a short period of time (China, Iran, Italy), extreme measures have been taken, including lockdowns where residents are told to stay home and the health system being so overwhelmed it can't provide medical care for everyone who needs it.
By increasing social distancing, i.e, closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, avoiding crowds, the spread of the virus can be slowed down with the aim of preventing the country from becoming overwhelmed. (1)
Can pets become infected?
It is currently considered unlikely that pets can become infected or transmit this disease. On Feb 28, one dog tested weakly positive for this coronavirus, but there is debate as to what the results indicate. (1 2)
"It is important to wash your hands after touching animals, since their saliva can spread other germs even if coronavirus isn't an issue." (1)
How long can the virus live? (1)
- Mar 13: This new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit (26/27 degrees Celsius). It cannot tolerate heat.
- Mar 13: If someone sneezes with it, it takes those particles about 10 feet before they drop to the ground and is no longer airborne.
- 3 hours in an aerosol
- 4 hours on copper
- 6-12 hours on fabric. Normal laundry detergent will kill it.
- 24 hours on cardboard
- 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel
What about cleaning?
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces routinely in household common areas (tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks). Follow label instructions, including wearing gloves and having good ventilation where necessary. (1)
You need to amp up your typical cleaning routine if someone in the household exhibits signs and symptoms of respiratory infection, or if you live in an area with known cases of coronavirus. In that case, "Clean high-traffic areas that get touched frequently, such as kitchen counters and bathroom faucets, three times a day with a product that kills viruses.
Products that destroy coronavirus: (1)
How to clean an iPhone