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Coronavirus is a common term for a group of viruses usually found in animals but causes severe disorders in humans when gets transmitted. The transfer of viruses from animals to humans is called zoonosis and coronavirus is one among them. Many coronaviruses reside in animals and cause them no harm, however, sometimes they get mutated into deadly strains. When these deadly mutated forms of coronavirus come in contact with humans, they affect them with mild to severe symptoms that range from the common cold to severe respiratory tract disorder and pneumonia.
You may have several questions regarding the novel coronavirus. Here is the list of all the questions and answers related to the outbreak of the Chinese virus.
1. What is a Novel Coronavirus?
The term 'Novel Coronavirus' or new coronavirus is given to an undetectable strain of coronavirus which was found recently in Wuhan (China). As this virus has not been identified yet, it was named as COVID-19.
2. What is SARS-CoV?
The term SARS-CoV means Severe Acute respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. It is referred to as a deadly and contagious disease that has caused an epidemic in 2002 in China and worldwide. The coronavirus responsible for SARS is known to have spread from bats and civets.
3. How similar is COVID-19 to SARS-CoV?
COVID-19 is not the same virus responsible for the spread SARS-CoV in 2002. However, it belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS.
4. How dangerous is novel coronavirus?
Novel coronavirus can cause mild to severe symptoms in people who are infected with the virus. Mild symptoms of coronavirus are usually flu-like, which include runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. When the symptoms become severe, it may lead to breathing difficulties, pneumonia or death of a person.
5. Who is more prone to coronavirus infection?
People with a compromised immune system or pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or respiratory disorders are more prone to getting affected by the deadly coronavirus.
6. Is it true that the COVID-19 got transmitted to humans from an animal source?
The past report says that SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV were transmitted to humans from an animals source. SARS-CoV became epidemic in 2002 and was transmitted from bats and civet cats to humans. On the other hand, MERS-CoV was transmitted to humans from Arabian camels.
As for COVID-19, researchers believe that the virus has spread most likely from the seafood animal market in China after diagnosing the first case of human coronavirus. However, it does not mean that you can get infected by a coronavirus from your pet or any animal. As the previous cases of coronavirus were from an animal source and COVID-19 is also believed to have spread from an animal, it is advised to prevent any direct contact with live animals in the seafood market or surfaces in contact with those animals until the exact animal source is identified.
It is also advised to prevent the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products and to handle their organs, meat and milk with care to prevent cross-contamination of these raw items to other foods.
7. Is the novel coronavirus contagious?
Yes, the novel coronavirus is contagious from person to person. The reason is that the virus mainly affects the respiratory system of a person and first cause common cold symptoms like sneezing and coughing. When a person sneezes or coughs without any mask, the infected respiratory droplets come out and spread to people who are in close contact with this person or touches infected objects. The infected respiratory droplets can be a nose discharge, sneeze, cough or saliva.
8. Can I get COVID-19 from my pets?
According to researchers, until now there is no evidence that the coronavirus might have transmitted from pets like cats and dogs, or such animals have been infected with the COVID-19.
9. Who are at major risk of coronavirus infection?
People who are living or travelling to China since the outbreak is at higher risk of getting the infection. Apart from this, people who are in close contact with travellers from China like their family members or colleagues and medical professionals who are taking care of the coronavirus infected person are vulnerable to coronavirus infection.
10. Can wearing a mask protect us from coronavirus?
Wearing a mask is suggested by WHO to limit the spread of the disease. Though it is effective to some limit, it does not guarantee to completely prevent the spread until other preventive measures are taken. However, wearing a mask will prevent you from coughing or sneezing in the open and also prevent you from the infected fluids of others from entering your nose or mouth.
11. What happens if a coronavirus infected person sneezes or coughs without any mask?
When an infected person sneezes or coughs without a mask, the infected respiratory droplets come out and sit on objects or surfaces. When a second person touches those surfaces unknowingly and then touches their mouth or nose, the virus finds a way to the respiratory system of that person and infect them. Next time when the second person sneezes without a mask, the virus comes out and infect a third person. In this way, it gets transmitted from person to person.
12. How long can the virus survive on surfaces?
The exact time of the survival of coronavirus on surfaces is still unknown. However, some information suggests that they may survive for a few hours on surfaces. Cleaning the infected surfaces with a simple disinfectant may kill all the viruses and can no longer infect any person.
13. How to identify the difference between flu and COVID-19 symptoms?
The symptoms of both flu and COVID-19 include runny nose, fever, cough and sneezing which makes diagnosing very difficult between the two. However, certain lab tests help identify the presence of coronavirus in the body and confirm the case.
14. What is the incubation period of coronavirus?
Incubation period refers to the time between getting infected by a virus and the appearance of the symptoms. The incubation period of COVID-19 is 14 days as per the medical experts. An infected person can also transmit the infection before the appearance of the symptoms. However, the majority of the virus is spread after the development of the symptoms.
15. Can I get infected if I receive a package from China or other infected countries?
No, receiving a package from the infected countries is unlikely to get you infected. The virus can't survive on objects or surfaces for a long time.
16. Why antibiotics are not suggested to treat the symptoms of coronavirus?
Antibiotics are antibacterial drugs which are used mainly to treat an infection caused due to bacteria, not viruses. As coronavirus infection is caused by viruses, antibiotic drugs are not suggested to treat the symptoms.
17. What type of medicines can treat or prevent COVID-19?
Until now, no such medicines have been developed to completely treat the infection caused due to novel coronavirus. However, there are certain medicines which are used to treat its symptoms. The best way to prevent COVID-19 is by maintaining personal hygiene.
According to a recent report, a patient in Thailand infected by novel coronavirus was recovered within 48 hours after receiving a cocktail of two approved anti-HIV drugs (lopinavir and ritonavir) along with a flu drug named oseltamivir.
18. When is lab testing for COVID-19 carried out?
If a person experiences flu-like symptoms and has been living in the infected area, had close contact with people visiting from the infected countries or has been among people involved in taking care of infected ones are advised to get tested for COVID-19.
19. What are the preventive measures for coronavirus?
Maintaining personal hygiene is a must to prevent coronavirus spread. Such preventive measures are as follows:
- Wash hands with alcoholic soaps and water.
- Avoid direct contact with sick people
- Stay at home if you are diagnosed with COVID-19. Avoid the spread of viruses by avoiding close contacts with your family members or other humans. Also, cover the mouth every time before coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching mouth, eyes or nose with dirty hands.
- Use disinfectants to clean the area around you.
20. What happens to patients after they are detected with COVID-19?
Patients who are detected with COVID-19 are kept in the isolation ward in hospitals and the healthcare workers who are involved in taking care of those patients are advised to wear protective gears like mask and gloves while treating those patients.
21. Can a person get coronavirus if they have flu symptoms but not visited any affected countries or came in contact with infected ones?
The answer is no. People who are suffering from flu but have not visited any infected country or place or came in contact with an infected person are less likely to get infected by the novel coronavirus. According to reports, several travellers travelled from China to their countries had flu-like symptoms. However, when their lab tests were carried out, the results were negative.