Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update

March 19, 2020

Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?

The World Health Organization states, "Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new Coronavirus. From the previous analysis, we know Coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages."

Coronavirus, what is it?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first identified in China but has now spread internationally. It is a new strain of a virus that has not been previously identified in humans. In COVID-19, 'CO' stands for 'corona,' 'VI' for 'virus,' and 'D' for the disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as "2019 novel coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV." Coronaviruses are zoonotic viruses, meaning they are transmitted between animals and humans.

Is there a cure for COVID-19?

There's no cure, but patients can be treated for symptoms and may recover.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.

How does the virus spread?

The COVID-19 is thought to spread from person to person through respiratory droplets emitted by coughing or sneezing. There's currently no evidence that the virus is airborne - meaning, for instance, it does not travel across a large room.

Who is at risk of infection?

People of all ages can be infected with COVID-19. Still, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes) are especially vulnerable to severe complications.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

Take the same precautionary measures you would during the flu season. Wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, avoid close contact with people or large gatherings and wear a face mask.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence to support the transmission of the novel coronavirus associated with imported goods, and there have been no reported cases of the virus in the United States associated with imported goods.

Coronavirus Signs & Symptoms

Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Respiratory / Flu-like feeling
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • FeverCough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

In more severe cases n-CoV can lead to:

  • Pneumonia
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Death

Most fatal cases were in older people and those with underlying conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

Should you wear a mask to protect from COVID-19?

Wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory disease. However, using a cover alone is not guaranteed to stop infections. It should be combined with other prevention measures, including hand and respiratory hygiene, and avoiding close contact – at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people.

The World Health Organization advises on the rational use of medical masks, thus avoiding unnecessary wastage of precious resources and potential misuse of covers. This means using masks only if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing), have suspected COVID-19 infection with mild symptoms, or are caring for someone with suspected virus infection.

A suspected virus disease is linked to travel in an area in China where the virus has been reported, or close contact with someone who has traveled from China and has respiratory symptoms.

How to wear a mask to protect from the Coronavirus

  1. Before putting on a mask, wash hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  2. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  3. Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap.
  4. Replace the cover with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  5. To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of the mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; wash hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

11 things to know about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new Coronavirus?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.

  • How capable are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new virus?

Thermal scanners are useful in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e., have a higher than average body temperature) because of infection with the new Coronavirus.

  • Are hand dryers effective in killing the new Coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the COVID-19.

  • Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new Coronavirus?

No evidence regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new Coronavirus.

  • Can gargling mouthwash protect you from infection with the new Coronavirus?

No evidence using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new virus.

  • Are antibiotics useful in preventing and treating the new Coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

  • Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new Coronavirus?

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not protect against the new virus.

  • Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new Coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new Coronavirus.

  • Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new Coronavirus?

UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands, or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

  • Can pets at home spread the new Coronavirus?

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new Coronavirus.

  • Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new Coronavirus?

No evidence from the current outbreak eating garlic has protected people from the new Coronavirus COVID-19.

The (CDC) has reported there is a slight risk that the Coronavirus can be spread from products or packaging shipped from China, due to poor survivability of this type of virus on surfaces

Content source: World Health Organization (WHO) & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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