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FAQ COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions - Answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

COVID-19

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FAQ COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

The Virus

How contagious is this new COVID-19?

The virus is passed on from one person to another largely by droplet infection; in other words by coughing, sneezing or saliva.

How dangerous is this new COVID-19?

It is still too soon to say how exactly dangerous the virus is. Currently, the new coronavirus seems to be significantly less dangerous than MERS (up to 30 percent mortality rate) and SARS (approx. 10 percent mortality). Currently a mortality rate of up to three percent is being assumed for the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Similarly to seasonal influenza viruses (mortality of less than 1 percent), older people and those with weakened immune systems are primarily affected. It has been estimated that an infected person can pass on the virus to 2-3 others. In the case of measles, however, this number can rise to 18.

Which symptoms does the COVID-19 illness cause?

Most infections with the new COVID-19 take a benign course.

Signs of infection are as follows:

A high temperature

A cough

Shortness of breath

Respiratory problems.

It is only in more severe cases that the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Is it possible to get tested for the COVID-19?

The decision on whether you are a suspected case and require testing has to be taken by a doctor.

How long does it last until I notice that I have been infected? How long does the incubation period really last?

According to current information, both the WHO and the ECDC use an incubation period of two weeks in their case definitions.

The incubation period is the time which passes between infection with the virus and the start of symptoms.

How is the illness treated?

There is no vaccination. Treatment is symptomatic, in other words it reduces the severity of the symptoms, for example via medication to lower a high temperature.

Does a two-week period of quarantine suffice for suspected cases when the incubation period is much longer?

According to current information, both the WHO and the ECDC use an incubation period of two weeks in their case definitions.

How can infected persons who exhibit no symptoms be prevented from infecting others?

The population is generally being made aware of the special need for hygiene, also due to the current flu season. This covers sneezing and coughing etiquette including the use of tissues as well as frequent hand washing and disinfection.

How long will it take to develop a vaccination?

The WHO is currently assuming a period of around a year until there is a sufficient amount of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine available for the general population.

Can cats or dogs also be infected by the COVID-19?

So far there have been no indications that domestic cats or dogs can become infected.

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, is an upper respiratory tract disease caused by one of the seven coronaviruses known to infect humans. It was first identified in humans in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. The virus that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2.

Who is at higher risk?

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
    • Immuno-compromised

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms, which generally appear two to 14 days after exposure, include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Most people who become sick do not require hospitalization, but older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to require more advanced care.

Prevention

Can masks (disposable face masks) offer any protection?

Disposable face masks are not an effective protection against airborne viruses or bacteria. However, they can contribute towards reducing the risk of spreading the virus via droplets from sneezing or coughing.

The most important and effective measures to protect oneself and others from being infected with respiratory viruses are frequent hand washing, correct cough etiquette and maintaining a minimum distance (approx. 1-2 metres, 3-6 feet) to persons who might be infected. These measures generally apply also during the influenza season. At present, wearing face masks is not recommended for the healthy general population either by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

I can't get any face masks in my pharmacy where I live. What can I do?

Correct cough etiquette and maintaining a minimum distance (approx. 1-2 metres, 3-6 feet) to persons who might be infected. These measures generally apply also during the influenza season. At present, wearing face masks is not recommended to the healthy general population either by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

How can I protect myself against the COVID-19?

As in the case of seasonal influenza, the following measures are recommended:

Wash your hands several times a day with soap and water or an alcohol-based gel

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not with your hands) when you cough or sneeze

Dispose of the tissue without delay and then wash your hands

Avoid direct contact with infected persons.

The most important and effective measures to protect oneself and others from being infected with respiratory viruses are frequent hand washing, correct cough etiquette and maintaining a minimum distance (approx. 1-2 metres, 3-6 feet) to persons who might be infected. These measures generally apply also during the influenza season.

What does correct hand hygiene involve?

The most important and effective measures to protect oneself and others from being infected with respiratory viruses are frequent hand washing, correct cough etiquette and maintaining a minimum distance (approx. 1-2 metres, 3-6 feet) to persons who might be infected. These measures generally apply also during the influenza season.

What do I need to do if I think I am a suspected case, or have had contact with a symptomatic person, etc.?

If you have symptoms or are afraid you have become ill: stay at home, minimize contact with others, call your healthcare provider.

Links

Centers for Disease Control

The Centers for Disease Control website is a key resource for national information on the spread of COVID-19, what you can do to protect yourself, and what to do if you get sick. Since the spread within the U.S. is confined (so far) to specific geographic areas, it is also important for organizations to monitor their local public health departments for updates on testing, quarantine, and possible limits on public gatherings.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Better health for everyone, everywhere

We are building a better, healthier future for people all over the world.

Working with 194 Member States, across six regions, and from more than 150 offices, WHO staff are united in a shared commitment to achieve better health for everyone, everywhere.

Together we strive to combat diseases – communicable diseases like influenza and HIV, and noncommunicable diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)>>

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