There is a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in over 200 countries and every state in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
What are the symptoms of COVID?
Symptoms of SARS-CoV2 infection include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptoms begin 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Some people can have infection without any symptoms.
Is it possible to get infected with COVID-19 a second time?
In the last week of August, there were several cases of reinfection reported – one in Hong Kong, two in Europe, and one in Nevada. Three of these individuals had mild cases the second time; however, the individual in Nevada had a more severe case the second time.
Hong Kong - https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3340.long
Europe - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-netherlands-reinfe/two-european-patients-re-infected-with-coronavirus-idUSKBN25L0LF?il=0
Nevada - https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3681489
Do masks really work?
A study of mask mandates in the United States found that between 230,000 and 450,000 COVID-19 cases were prevented by mask use prior to May 22, 2020.
A study looking at mask use in various countries showed that countries where masks were generally used showed an increase of COVID-19 deaths of 15.8% per week compared to a 62% per week increase in other countries.
Some masks are more effective than others at blocking the spread of coronavirus. Masks with exhalation valves or vents should not be used as they do not prevent transmission of the virus to others.
Are face shields a good replacement for masks?
Face shields are used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control, so face shields are not a substitute for masks.
Are there any long term-effects from having COVID-19?
A study of patients in Italy who were hospitalized for COVID-19 found that after about 2 months, only 13% had no remaining symptoms, while 55% of patients had 3 or more residual symptoms including fatigue (53.1%), shortness of breath (43.4%), joint pain, (27.3%) and chest pain (21.7%). A worse quality of life was reported by 44% after COVID-19. Even in patients with mild illness, between 10% and 15% have ongoing symptoms. A recent study of 100 patients with COVID (only 1/3 were hospitalized), found that more than 3/4 had MRI showing heart involvement and 60% had ongoing heart inflammation. There are professional athletes who will be missing at least a year due to COVID-19 related heart issues.
Should I get the Flu Shot this year?
The influenza vaccine does not increase the risk of getting COVID. With the increased number of people who are sick with COVID, it is important to minimize the number of people with influenza. With the extended quarantine for those with COVID like symptoms, getting a flu shot can keep you from missing an extra week or more from school or work if you avoid the flu.
How long should I be away from work/school if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
You need to isolate for 10 days after symptoms started or positive test AND your symptoms are better AND you have had no fever without medication for at least 1 day.
People who need to isolate include:
- People who have symptoms of COVID-19 and are able to recover at home
- People who have no symptoms (are asymptomatic) but have tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2
When you isolate, you need to:
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have an trouble breathing, seek emergency medical care immediately
- Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible
- Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets
- Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils
- Wear a mask when around other people, if you are able
How long should I be away from work/school if I have had a close contact that had COVID-19?
You should quarantine for 14 days after the last close contact with the person with COVID-19.
You have had a close contact if any of the following are true:
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
- You shared eating or drinking utensils
- Someone with COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after your last exposure to the virus. You should not leave home or have visitors for any reason. If you have been around someone sick at home, your quarantine period does not start until their quarantine period has finished.
When I want to meet with others, what can I do to be more safe?
- Stay outside
- Keep 6 to 9 feet apart
- Wear a mask (and make sure that they are wearing a mask)
- Do not be around others if you are having any systems of COVID-19