Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses that includes certain forms of the common cold. The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is the latest variation of the virus. COVID-19 is extremely contagious, causing severe respiratory disease that was not previously seen in humans. Coronavirus disease was named based on its crown-like shape under a microscope (“corona” means “crown” in Latin).
Now that we’ve answered, “what is Coronavirus?”, let’s walk through some COVID-19 frequently asked questions.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease began in Wuhan, China in December 2019, where people developed viral pneumonia after visiting a seafood market there.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that an office worker also contracted the disease but had no link to the seafood market.
The investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus disease remains ongoing.
No. Scientists have studied the genetic sequence of the virus and concluded that it was not man-made or engineered.
Scientists define coronavirus as a family of viruses that are named for their crown-like appearance. There are currently seven different strains of the virus, with COVID-19 being the latest strain.
There are 3 things to know about the spread of Coronavirus:
Yes, COVID-19 is a highly contagious illness. And people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Yes. The CDC says Coronavirus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets from an infected person.
The CDC indicates that Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days.
Warmer temperatures and sunlight exposure may reduce the time that Coronavirus survives on surfaces and objects.
Other common questions about Coronavirus living on surfaces include:
According to the FDA, there is no evidence of food, food containers or food packaging being the source of COVID-19 transmission.
But if you’re still concerned about Coronavirus contamination on food, wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from packaging, and before you prepare or eat food.
Though we still have a lot to learn about COVID-19, experts believe it’s unlikely that the viral particles will survive on porous surfaces like clothing. COVID-19 spreads mostly through aerosol droplets, which means it is much more likely to get the virus person-to-person rather than surfaces.
In addition, WHO reports that the likelihood of COVID-19 being spread through your shoes is extremely low.
Common signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may include:
For certain people, COVID-19 can create more severe issues that can require hospitalization. Some more severe Coronavirus symptoms may include:
In these severe cases, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even become fatal. So if you’re experiencing severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
There are several ways that coronavirus symptoms can appear. Some people experience all symptoms of COVID-19, while others have some symptoms or none at all.
That said, knowing whether you have Coronavirus can be tricky on your own. Your best bet is to get tested for COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure.
If you have mild symptoms like a low fever, cough, or sore throat, you should stay at home and self-isolate.
Coronavirus feels different for everyone. Some experience severe shortness of breath, while others don’t realize they have the virus at all. However, about 80% of people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms such as:
Yes, it’s possible to have Coronavirus without a fever. But the virus affects everyone differently, so there are a number of ways that symptoms can present themselves. For some, coronavirus symptoms start with a cough or loss of smell and/or taste. In these cases, a fever only appears after the first few days.
Coronavirus and influenza (commonly called the flu) may share similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, while the flu is caused by influenza A and B viruses.
Here are the 3 other key differences of Coronavirus vs. the flu:
Note: It’s difficult to diagnose COVID-19 vs. the flu based on symptoms alone, so be sure to get tested to determine which illness you have.
The common cold is typically mild and doesn’t often require intervention for recovery. COVID-19, on the other hand, is a far more serious virus with many symptoms and complications. It typically takes three to 10 days to recover from the cold, but it can take individuals much longer to recover from COVID.
While symptoms of the common cold typically appear anywhere from one to three days after being exposed to the virus, COVID can take as long as 14 days to present symptoms.
The key difference of Coronavirus symptoms vs. common cold is the way symptoms are presented. For example:
At this time, cases of Coronavirus reinfection are very rare. But research is still ongoing.
The duration of Coronavirus infection can vary depending on your immune system.
According to the CDC, adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms remain contagious no longer than 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
But it may take up to 20 days for those who are immunocompromised or experiencing severe symptoms of the virus.
COVID-19 recovery is a very individual process, but most people recover within a few days to a few weeks.
Yes, unfortunately Coronavirus can be fatal. Visit worldometer’s Coronavirus statistics for up-to-date information, including statistics about Coronavirus deaths in the U.S.
A household cleaner that contains bleach or at least 70% isopropyl alcohol should kill the virus. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a database of safe disinfectants against COVID-19
Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol are strong enough to kill the COVID-19 virus. But if you’ve used enough hand sanitizer to build residue on your hands, it’s time to wash them. The film traps viruses and germs rather than killing them.
Hand sanitizers work well when a sink isn’t available. So remember: The top Coronavirus prevention tip is to wash your hands.
Thanks to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, COVID-19 testing is available to everyone in the U.S. Community-based testing sites also offer COVID-19 testing free of charge as a part of the national response to the pandemic.
There are 3 ways to get tested for COVID-19:
Pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart may offer testing. You can also check with local independent pharmacies to see if they offer tests.
There is currently no cure for COVID-19. But some over-the-counter medication can help reduce symptoms and make you more comfortable, though.
For fevers, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) can help lower your temperature. But cough medicine and over-the-counter medication for nausea and vomiting are largely ineffective against COVID-19.
Treating Coronavirus comes also down to several factors like your age and underlying medical conditions. If you’re under 65 and relatively healthy, the best solution is to stay home and treat it like you would any other cold or flu:
No. Antibiotics do not prevent or treat COVID-19 because COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Antibiotics only work against bacteria.
There's currently no cure for COVID-19. However, there are 2 treatments available in the hospital for severe cases:
As of March 2021, there are three coronavirus vaccines to guard against the Coronavirus:
Your eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine depends on your state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan and prioritization.
COVID-19 vaccines may also be available at local pharmacies across the country including CVS, Publix, RiteAid, Walgreens, and Walmart.
The above information does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a medical professional regarding your health needs. If you’re experiencing a health emergency, contact your local emergency health services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care.