The contents of this item are drawn from the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publications concerning the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
COVID-19 is described as a flu-like disease, for which there is currently no approved vaccine.
The symptoms are similar to more familiar strains of flu and CDC recommends getting a ‘flu’ vaccine and taking everyday preventative actions to prevent the spread of germs. You should take ‘flu’ antivirals if prescribed.
How COVID-19 Spreads?
First, we should be clear that the chance of anyone individual becoming infected is very small. The chance that it will be severe or fatal is even smaller. COVID-19 is a new disease and we are ‘still’ learning how it spreads, the severity of the illness it causes and to what extent it may spread.
On the evidence so far, it seems to spread mainly from person to person:
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- The virus may be airborne and the droplets land in the mouth or nose or possibly inhaled by people nearby (about 6 feet)
- The virus may be conveyed by touching an infected surface and then by hand to the mouth, nose or eyes (this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads).
How easily does the virus spread?
- Some viruses spread easily from person-to-person (highly contagious) such as measles. Others do not spread so easily but may have more critical outcomes. COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily in some geographic areas
- Most reported cases (5th March 2020) are imported, i.e. traceable to an individual traveler returning to the US having already been infected by the virus
- It is to be expected that there will be an increase in cases of ‘COMMUNITY SPREAD’ infection. Community spread infection means people in a defined area have been infected with the virus and have no traceable contact with an external (e.g. returning traveler) contagious individual.
- COUGH (Dry)
- SHORTNESS OF BREATH
None of these symptoms of itself is evidence of COVID-19. Together they may indicate a flu-type infection but if you are uncertain, seek medical advice.
What to do?
If you or a member of your family (senior or junior) has or exhibits these symptoms AND ESPECIALLY if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or to have recently traveled from an area with an on-going spread of COVID-19, SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE.
CALL AHEAD before you go to a Doctor’s office or the ER. Be prepared to tell them about your recent travel and any ‘out of area’ contacts. Your information can help to keep you, your family and fellow citizens safe.
DO NOT PANIC
This is the ‘flu season’. It is far more likely that you have a dose of seasonal flu.
If you are required to have a test for COVID-19 it WILL be covered by your (ACA compliant) health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
Even if tested positive you can be sure that in the majority of cases (mild) you will be able to isolate ‘at home’.
INCONVENIENT! Of course, but better for you, and for your community.
Visit The Centers for Disease Control website for more information on the Coronavirus, including what you should know about symptoms, treatments, testing, and other frequently asked questions.
Read whether your health insurance covers Coronavirus?