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Everything You Should Know About the 2019 Coronavirus and COVID-19

Medically reviewed by Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP on May 21, 2020 New Written by Tim Jewell
体育投注网址 of infections globally, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. The United States is the most affected country.

体育投注网址The disease caused by an infection with SARS-CoV-2 is called COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

体育投注网址In spite of the global panic in the news about this virus, you’re unlikely to contract SARS-CoV-2 unless you’ve been in contact with someone who has a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Let’s bust some myths.

Read on to learn:

  • how this coronavirus is transmitted
  • how it’s similar to and different from other coronaviruses
  • how to prevent transmitting it to others if you suspect you’ve contracted this virus

before you notice symptoms.

Some common symptoms体育投注网址 that have been specifically linked to COVID-19 include:

体育投注网址Less common symptoms include:

体育投注网址These symptoms may become more severe in some people. Call emergency medical services if you or someone you care for have any of the following symptoms:

  • trouble breathing
  • blue lips or face
  • persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • confusion
  • excessive drowsiness

The is still investigating the full list of symptoms.

COVID-19 versus the flu

体育投注网址We’re still learning about whether the 2019 coronavirus is more or less deadly than the seasonal flu.

体育投注网址This is difficult to determine because the number of total cases (including mild cases in people who don’t seek treatment or get tested) is unknown.

体育投注网址However, early evidence suggests that this coronavirus causes more deaths than the seasonal flu.

An estimated 体育投注网址 of people who developed the flu during the 2019-2020 flu season in the United States died as of March 14, 2020.

This is compared to about 6 percent of those with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States, according to the .

Here are some common symptoms of the flu:

Coronaviruses are zoonotic. This means they first develop in animals before developing in humans.

体育投注网址For the virus to pass from animals to humans, a person has to come into close contact with an animal that carries the infection.

Once the virus develops in people, coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. This is a technical name for the wet stuff that moves through the air when you cough, sneeze, or talk.

The viral material hangs out in these droplets and can be breathed into the respiratory tract (your windpipe and lungs), where the virus can then lead to an infection.

The 2019 coronavirus hasn’t been definitively linked to a specific animal.

Researchers believe that the virus may have been passed from bats to another animal — either snakes or pangolins体育投注网址 — and then transmitted to humans.

体育投注网址This transmission likely occurred in the open food market in Wuhan, China.

体育投注网址You’re at high risk for contracting SARS-CoV-2 if you come into contact with someone who’s carrying it, especially if you’ve been exposed to their saliva or been near them when they’ve coughed, sneezed, or talked.

Without taking proper preventive measures, you’re also at high risk if you:

  • live with someone who has contracted the virus
  • are providing home care for someone who has contracted the virus
  • have an intimate partner who has contracted the virus
Handwashing is key

Washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces can help decrease your risk for contracting this and other viruses.

Older people and people with certain health conditions have a higher risk for severe complications if they contract the virus. These health conditions include:

  • lung conditions, such as COPD and asthma
  • certain heart conditions
  • immune system conditions, such as HIV
  • cancer that requires treatment
  • severe obesity
  • other health conditions, if not well-managed, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease

体育投注网址Pregnant women have a higher risk of complications from other viral infections, but it’s not yet known if this is the case for COVID-19.

The states that pregnant people seem to have the same risk of contracting the virus as adults who aren’t pregnant.

体育投注网址Transmitting the virus from mother to child during pregnancy isn’t likely, but the newborn is able to contract the virus after birth.

to find out where testing is offered near you.

On April 21, the 体育投注网址 approved the use of the first COVID-19 home testing kit.

Using the cotton swab provided, people will be able to collect a nasal sample and mail it to a designated laboratory for testing.

The emergency-use authorization specifies that the test kit is authorized for use by people whom healthcare professionals have identified as having suspected COVID-19.

体育投注网址Talk to your doctor right away if you think you have COVID-19 or you notice symptoms.

Your doctor will advise you on whether you should:

  • stay home and monitor your symptoms
  • come into the doctor’s office to be evaluated
  • go to the hospital for more urgent care

体育投注网址There’s currently no treatment specifically approved for COVID-19, and no cure for an infection, although treatments and vaccines are currently under study.

Instead, treatment focuses on managing symptoms as the virus runs its course.

体育投注网址Seek medical help if you think you have COVID-19. Your doctor will recommend treatment for any symptoms or complications that develop and let you know if you need to seek emergency treatment.

Other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS are also treated by managing symptoms. In some cases, experimental treatments are tested to see how effective they are.

体育投注网址Examples of therapies used for these illnesses include:

  • antiviral or retroviral medications
  • breathing support, such as mechanical ventilation
  • steroids to reduce lung swelling
  • blood plasma transfusions

of 138 people admitted into hospitals in Wuhan, China, with NCIP, found that 26 percent of those admitted had severe cases and needed to be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).

About 4.3 percent of the people who were admitted to the ICU died from this type of pneumonia.

体育投注网址It should be noted that people who were admitted to the ICU were on average older and had more underlying health conditions than people who didn’t go to the ICU.

So far, NCIP is the only complication specifically linked to the 2019 coronavirus. Researchers have seen the following complications in people who have developed COVID-19:

(2 meters) away from people.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow whenever you sneeze or cough. Throw away any tissues you use right away.
  • Clean any objects you touch a lot. Use disinfectants on objects like phones, computers, and doorknobs. Use soap and water for objects that you cook or eat with, like utensils and dishware.
  • 体育投注网址 recommends that you wear a cloth face mask that covers your mouth and nose.

    When worn correctly, and by large percentages of the public, these masks can help to slow the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

    体育投注网址That’s because they can block the respiratory droplets of people who may be asymptomatic or people who have the virus but have gone undiagnosed.

    Respiratory droplets get into the air when you:

    • exhale
    • talk
    • cough
    • sneeze

    You can make your own mask using basic materials such as:

    • a bandana
    • a T-shirt
    • cotton fabric

    The CDC provides for making a mask with scissors or with a sewing machine.

    Cloth masks are preferred for the general public since other types of masks should be reserved for healthcare workers.

    It’s critical to keep the mask clean. Wash it each time you use it. Avoid touching the front of it with your hands. Also, try to avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes when you remove it.

    体育投注网址This prevents you from possibly transferring the virus from a mask to your hands and from your hands to your face.

    体育投注网址Keep in mind that wearing a mask isn’t a replacement for other preventive measures, such as frequent handwashing and practicing physical distancing. All of them are important.

    Certain people shouldn’t wear face masks, including:

    • children under 2 years old
    • people who have trouble breathing
    • people who are unable to remove their own masks

    A coronavirus gets its name from the way it looks under a microscope.

    The word corona means “crown,” and when examined closely, the round virus has a “crown” of proteins called peplomers jutting out from its center in every direction. These proteins help the virus identify whether it can infect its host.

    The condition known as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was also linked to a highly infectious coronavirus back in the early 2000s. The SARS virus has since been contained.

    COVID-19 vs. SARS

    This isn’t the first time a coronavirus has made news. The 2003 SARS outbreak was also caused by a coronavirus.

    体育投注网址As with the 2019 virus, the SARS virus was first found in animals before it was transmitted to humans.

    The SARS virus is have come from bats and was transferred to another animal and then to humans.

    Once transmitted to humans, the SARS virus began spreading quickly among people.

    体育投注网址What makes the new coronavirus so newsworthy is that a treatment or cure hasn’t yet been developed to help prevent its rapid transmission from person to person.

    SARS has been successfully contained.

    体育投注网址First and foremost, don’t panic. You don’t need to be quarantined unless you suspect you have contracted the virus or have a confirmed test result.

    Following simple handwashing and physical distancing guidelines are the best ways to help protect yourself from being exposed to the virus.

    体育投注网址The 2019 coronavirus probably seems scary when you read the news about new deaths, quarantines, and travel bans.

    Stay calm and follow your doctor’s instructions if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 so you can recover and help prevent it from being transmitted.

    Medically reviewed by Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP on May 21, 2020 New Written by Tim Jewell