Frequently Asked Questions on Novel Coronavirus
Novel Coronavirus is the most concerning topic globally & talked about and in media and Individuals infected with coronavirus suffer from a disease called COVID-19. Coronavirus, which spreads like flu, has originated from Wuhan district, China and affected over 110 countries worldwide. It is understood that the virus originated from a food market in China. In the present scenario, the virus is spreading through Human-Human transmission and is new type of virus which can have serious consequences in around 20% of the infected patients.
There are over 1.2 million people infected by the virus, as on April 5th 2020, and around 69,000 deaths have been reported worldwide from this pandemic. Several countries around the world have imposed definite lockdowns with the people being locked up at their homes. In this blog, we have made an attempt to simplify information about this new disease which has affected mankind, providing you concise information to bust some myths which are causing anxiety & stress in the general population.
How it spreads?
This is a respiratory virus that affects humans severely. This virus is zoonotic and is believed to spread from bats, uncooked meat etc. The people who come in contact with or eat such affected species are prone to coronavirus.
Coronavirus is a communicable virus that spreads from one human to the other. In affected humans, the symptoms of coronavirus are almost like any upper tract respiratory infection such as cold, fever, sore throat, cough, myalgia, fatigue or loss of sense of smell, altered taste sensation & later on breathing difficulty. Around 20% of infected ones may also suffer from its severe symptoms like respiratory distress, decreased oxygen levels, pneumonia, etc. If these symptoms are not controlled at an early stage, they can have serious effects and can lead a person to the hospital. If still, the symptoms are not under control, it can further lead to respiratory failure such as breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, extremely low oxygen levels in the blood, etc. The uncontrolled symptoms of this deadly disease can put a patient on a ventilator, which can further involve detrimental impact on multiple organs including kidney and ultimately may lead to death.
The other common reasons for the virus spread include low immunity specifically in the older age groups, especially with comorbid conditions such as heart patients, people already suffering from respiratory infections, immunocompromised patients and transplant patients, who are more prone to acquire coronavirus. Also, in such cases, the virus spread is rapid and hence these patients need to be much more careful.
FAQs on Coronavirus
Why is there so much panic?
The lack of verified facts and floating rumours are to be blamed for this panic. The most important thing is Coronavirus is new one hence it is called Novel Corona virus, there is not much knowledge & which keeps on undergoing transformation, it does not give adequate time for medical scientists & researchers to study its pattern or develop a vaccine against it.
Will I die of this disease?
Almost 80% of the patients have mild symptoms and recover from the disease in 2 weeks. The mortality rate of COVID-19 ranges between 2-3% only. Risk of death is only higher in older people and people with pre-existing health conditions. However, it is vital that patients report themselves on having symptoms and are surrounded by positivity during their recovery.
How exactly does the Coronavirus spread?
Coronavirus is not an air-borne disease, it spreads via droplets produced on coughing or sneezing. A healthy person can get infected when they come in close contact of a sick patient, contaminated surfaces, objects, or items of personal use.
Does a runny nose necessarily hint at infection?
It does not. Around half of cases of coronavirus occur in people with underlying chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. All patients had pneumonia, most had a fever, 80 percent of them were coughing and more than half had trouble breathing.
Does the Coronavirus (COVID-19) affects only the old?
An ongoing rumour about the virus includes that the virus only affects the old people. The old are more vulnerable but the virus can affect people across age groups.
Are children also at the risk of Coronavirus infection?
COVID-19 appears to be relatively rare and mild in children. Around 2% of cases were under 18 years of age. Out of these, fewer than 3% developed severe or critical disease.
Can Coronavirus be treated?
Yes. Symptom-based medical care is given and has proven really effective. However, there is no specific treatment or vaccine available for Novel Coronavirus as yet.
Can a person infected with COVID-19 recover completely and be no more infectious?
Yes. In fact, about 80% of people have recovered from the disease without needing special treatment.
Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
Till date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the Coronavirus?
No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
How long does the Coronavirus survive over the surfaces or objects?
It survives up to 8-10 hours over paper, untreated wood, cardboard, sponge and fabric. And it survives little more than this over glass, plastics, metals and varnished wood.
What type of mask should one wear to protect themselves against the Coronavirus?
The 3-layer disposable surgical masks are good enough to contain the virus. N-95 or N-99 masks are mandated for medical personnel especially frontline staff.
Can the Novel Coronavirus be passed on through food?
There is no such evidence as of now to prove this.
Can eating chicken or eggs cause Coronavirus?
The Novel Coronavirus is not known to spread directly through poultry products. But experts say it can be a good option to have only properly cooked meat.
Does climate affect the virus?
From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 is at home in hot and humid weather, as well as the cold.
Does COVID-19 transmit by mosquito bites?
Till date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.
Can eating garlic prevent infections with the Coronavirus?
There is no science-based evidence that proves the ability of garlic to protect against the coronavirus.
Does drinking alcohol safeguard me from COVID-19?
Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous. Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems.
W.H.O has declared coronavirus outbreak as ‘public health emergency of international concern’ and hence, it is very essential to take precautions and be watchful to protect yourself. The most important measure is to maintain hand hygiene. Some of the other precautions which are needed to be taken care of include:
- Wash hands before going out and when entering back in the house and especially before eating food.
- In case of symptoms like cough, cold and fever, wear a mask to cover your mouth and also avoid going out until these symptoms disappear.
- In case of breathing difficulty and fever, contact the doctor.
- Use a clean handkerchief to cover your mouth while coughing, and properly dispose of the infected items.
- Wash hands repeatedly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with concentration of 60 % or more alcohol-based sanitizers.
- Avoid touching nose, eyes etc. with unwashed hands unnecessarily.
- Frequently clean the gadgets, such as mobile phones, which are more often used.
- Boil the milk properly before consuming.
- Consume only properly cooked meat.
The coronavirus can easily affect people if they are not cleaning their hands properly before touching their faces. It is important to get tested within 7 days, if someone has travelled to any of the highly affected countries or has come in contact with an infected person or has a persistent cold, dry cough or fever.
There is no treatment available for coronavirus currently, and hence, it is very important to prevent yourself from the infection. The treatment which is being offered currently is only symptomatic, like if there is severe shortness of breath then the patient is admitted in ICU and is put on a ventilator but if the infection gets severe, then there are no treatment options available. The only cure possible is if the virus and its effects diminish itself.
The reports are that the coronavirus is very resistant, and hence is leading to multiple deaths occurring worldwide. Hence, everyone needs to be aware of coronavirus and we need to educate each other on how to prevent it from spreading.
For any further queries, contact the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on their 24*7 helpline number +91-11-23978046 or email at email@example.com.
Dr. Ajay Doiphode is a Consultant ENT surgeon with more than 20 years of experience. He has graduated from the prestigious KEM Hospital & G.S. Medical College, Mumbai.