No matter who you are or where you live, one topic is dominating all conversations: The coronavirus. In this ever-changing world filled with more questions than answers, here’s what experts know for certain.
Fact #1: No one is immune
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. The respiratory illness has spread around the globe—reaching the U.S. and more than 100 other countries. Anyone can get sick regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Fact #2: It’s possible to have the coronavirus and not know it
Feeling like your typical, healthy self doesn’t necessarily mean you are virus-free. Some people who test positive for COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms at all. And even for those who do develop symptoms, it can take up to 14 days for the warning signs to appear.
Patients with COVID-19 report a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. In certain cases, the coronavirus can cause pneumonia and other deadly complications.
Fact #3: You don’t need to wear a face mask for protection
According to the CDC, you should only wear a mask if you have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. The one exception to this rule is if your health care provider specifically recommends that you use face masks. Otherwise, don’t stress about purchasing or wearing them.
Fact #4: You can help stop COVID-19
To prevent surface transmission (getting COVID-19 by touching an object with the virus on it and then touching your face):
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water; scrub for at least 20 seconds (You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if handwashing isn’t an option)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often (doorknobs, light switches, remotes, etc.)
To minimize person-to-person spread (getting COVID-19 through the droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes):
- Stay home when you are sick
- Keep away from people who are sick
- When going out in public, maintain at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others
- Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people
By following these simple prevention steps, you can help keep yourself and your community safe. Visit the CDC’s website for daily updates on COVID-19.