The Coronavirus: Questions and Answers

Late in 2019, the city of Wuhan, China, began to experience an entirely new virus, referred to as the Coronavirus or COVID-19. While there have been similar outbreaks and pandemics involving Coronavirus strains, COVID-19 is particularly new to the medical industry. 

Many believe it originated from a combination of animals, including bats, pigs, and pangolins. Past Coronavirus strains typically involve at least one animal such as bats or pigs. But the Coronavirus strain has yet to see the species fo pangolin so closely linked to the strain.

What is Coronavirus?

Contrary to what the media may have you believe, the Coronavirus is not entirely new. Previous strains have existed and infected millions of individuals around the globe. According to the CDC, there are multiple types of Coronavirus, including both MERS, or the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome as well as SARS.

Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1960’s. The name was derived from the spiky appearance of the virus itself when viewed under the microscope. Although the Coronaviruses are not new, COVID-19 is new and extremely contagious. This is why many countries across the globe have implemented lockdown protocols and social distancing guidelines. 

What Are the Symptoms of Covid-19?

It is currently believed that the incubation period of COVID-19 is approximately 2 to 14 days, with an average of 3 days. The most commonly noted signs and symptoms that manifest among individuals with COVID-19 include fever, a non-productive cough, and shortness of breath.

COVID-19 SymptomsSource: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, many COVID-19 patients have also reported experiencing a sore throat, muscle aches, and digestion issues, including nausea and diarrhea. Because COVID-19 symptoms vary among each individual who has contracted the virus, it is imperative to monitor common symptoms like fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. Doing so could help determine whether or not you should seek additional medical attention.

Who is at Risk?

COVID-19 was originally thought to particularly target the elderly, after the cruise ship The Princess was found to infect mostly elderly individuals, similar to Italy’s original outbreak. However, as cases surge, it seems that anyone, including younger people, can be at risk of catching and developing the COVID-19. 

COVID-19 risk factorsSource: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

It is important to note, however, that those who are most at-risk for critical or life-threatening conditions associated with COVID-19 include the elderly, the obese, and individuals with hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

What is Social Distancing?

After the spread of COVID-19 began to grow throughout China in December 2019, President Trump finalized the decision to close travel from China in late January 2020. Currently, many states throughout the US are enforcing state emergencies and quarantine lockdown protocols for the residents of the individual states themselves. Quarantine and lockdown procedures include participating in social distancing or the distancing from non-essential businesses as well as gatherings and traditional outings for a set period.

Social distancing with masksSource: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

Social distancing involves the ceasing of work and play for most individuals, depending on where you are currently located. 

In states with active emergency orders in place, residents are restricted from gathering in bars and restaurants. Even in businesses that are considered non-essential, according to the state’s current order and laws in place are limited from their daily operations. Staying at least six feet away from others is also advised to minimize your risk of being exposed to the virus or obtaining it. This also prevents you from becoming a carrier of COVID-19 who is capable of passing it on to others.

How to Stay Safe

We are months into this pandemic and the numbers continue to rise for the United States. At this point, there is no telling when we could flatten the curve. So, it’s crucial to follow safety and health protocols, not just for your own good. But also for the good of your family and those around you. 

Social distancing involves staying at least six feet away from other individuals, including relatives, friends, and co-workers.

Washing your hands is extremely vital, especially any time you are driving or out in public. Make it a habit to wash your hands after interacting with others, or when you’re done opening your mail. 

The proper way to wash is your hands is to do so for at least 20 seconds to one minute with warm water and anti-bacterial cleansing soap. It is also advisable to use hand sanitizer throughout the day, even if you’re home most of the time. The virus could live on hard surfaces for hours to days at a time.

While COVID-19 is still highly unpredictable, following the current safety and quarantine guidelines will drastically reduce your risk of contracting, carrying, and passing on the virus. In this time of uncertainty, you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe by staying home and practicing social distancing. 

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