Here are the answers to the most common queries about the Novel Coronavirus based on our discussion with the various experts from the reputed institutes and analysis of the CDC, WHO, and MoHFW guidelines.
COVID-19 is an infectious condition, which means it can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another
Involves your upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, airways, lungs). Caused by the newly discovered coronavirus, called as novel coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan,China, in December 2019.
How deadly is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus has “high infectivity but low mortality”
- Mortality rate ranges between 2-3%. It is significantly less severe than 2003 SARS (MR: 10%) or 2012 MERS (MR: 35%) outbreaks.
- Risk of death is only higher in older people (above an age of ~60 years) and people with pre-existing health conditions.
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 when a virus is new, we don’t know how it may affect people.
Will I die if I catch the disease?
- Almost 80% of people have mild symptoms, and recover from the disease in 2 weeks.
- Most of the symptoms can be treated with timely medical care.
Who is getting sick and how sick?
- Older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness.
- Most coronavirus led illnesses are generally mild, especially for children and young adults.
Are children also at risk of coronavirus infection?
COVID-19 appears to be relatively rare and mild in children.
- Just over 2% of cases were under 18 years of age.
- Of these, fewer than 3% developed severe or critical disease.
So, how exactly does the Coronavirus spread?
An infected person can spread the infection to a healthy person
- Through eye, nose, and mouth, via droplets produced on coughing or sneezing.
- Close contact with infected person.
- Contact with contaminated surfaces, objects, or items of personal use.
Can the novel coronavirus be passed on through food?
No there is no such evidence yet
- Experience with other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS suggest that people do not get infected through food.
Can eating chicken or eggs cause Coronavirus?
No, there is no such evidence as yet.
- 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.
Do I have coronavirus if I am coughing or sneezing?
You can suspect to have coronavirus, only if you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) + any out of these:
- Travel history to a coronavirus-affected area (like China, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, etc.)
- Close contact with such a person
- Visiting a healthcare facility/ labs where Coronavirus patients are being taken care of.
Should I be tested for coronavirus if I have high grade fever, cough and difficulty in breathing?Or can I get a coronavirus test done just for the sake of satisfaction?
No. Testing for coronavirus will only be done as recommended by the doctors only if someone falls under the definition of "suspected case".
- Wash your hand regularly with plenty of soap and water.
- Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer ready for times when soapand water are not available.
- Don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unclean hands.
- Keep your distance of at least 1 meter from anyone coughing or sneezing.
- Follow no-touch greeting for no germs contracted. Prefer
“namaste” or hand waving over handshake
Protect your loved ones:
- Don’t sneeze or cough into your hands. Use a tissue and throw it away immediately, or sneeze in the inner side of your elbow.
- Don’t travel or visit crowded places if you’re sick.
- Do wear a mask if you’re sick and also if you are taking care of someone with the symptoms.
Protect your community:
- If you feel unwell, seek medical attention.
- If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, stay indoors. Call healthcare professionals and follow their advice.
- Do not share “just any forwarded message”. Only share authentic information coming through medical experts.
Harvard Medical School. Coronavirus: Many questions, some answers.
Note: All information and numbers are as available and reported on March 7, 2020.
Disclaimer: This piece is for informational purpose only, it is not a substitute to a doctor’s advice
or any professional medical advice.