What you should know
With so much information coming across the internet, news reporters, social media, and from family, friends and colleagues, it's hard to filter what's true and what's not.
So what exactly do you need to know about this new virus to keep you and your family safe and healthy? Well, here are some things that we know:
First of all, COVID-19 is a respiratory infection caused by a virus resulting in breathing problems, which I'm sure you know already. Next, the risk that COVID-19 poses on Canadians is serious, hence the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), basically meaning this virus have managed spread over a HUGE area and in this case, across the world. There is absolutely NO reason to take this situation lightly. I'm not stating this to cause any panic, but you have to understand that precautions must be taken in order to keep you and your family safe. So avoid touching random things and then touching your face. Wash your hands, people!
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza and other respiratory illnesses.
Common symptoms can be mild: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat
Symptom of serious illness: difficulty breathing or pneumonia
Here's the good news. Most people – about 80% – recover without needing special treatment. Here's the bad news. It can cause serious illness in some, and there is a risk of death in severe cases.
While we are still learning about COVID-19, serious illness appears to develop more often in people who are older or have pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes. Please note: this does NOT mean that healthy younger kids and younger individuals cannot suffer from this virus. Statistics may be reflecting the result of responsible parents doing their due diligence in effectively protecting/isolating their kids in the first place.
How it spreads
COVID-19 is transmitted through person-to-person spread by:
larger droplets, like from a cough or sneeze
touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth
COVID-19 is not airborne and cannot spread through the air over long distances or times, like the measles.
Studies suggest that the virus generally only survives for a few hours on a surface, though it may be possible for it to survive several days under ideal conditions.
Now here's an interesting topic which gained a lot of popularity. So here it is:
To date, THERE IS NO TREATMENT OR CURE FOR COVID-19.
Everything that you've heard or read to this day (March 31st, 2020) about treatment options or medications that can help with COVID-19 or drugs that are show promising results are not true.
What's true is this: researchers and other healthcare officials are working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19. So hopefully, this will become available for the public soon. And everyone should get it.
People infected with COVID-19 and require medical attention are given supportive care. What's supportive care? It's when you're treating the symptoms but not the underlying cause. For example, if you have a fever, you'll get acetaminophen to help lower the fever but you're not killing the virus that's causing the fever. Why are we not killing the virus? Well, it's because THERE IS NO TREATMENT OR CURE FOR COVID-19.
There are some medications that are being tested against COVID-19 but NONE have been proven to effectively kill the virus.
Differences and Similarities between COVID-19 vs influenza
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses.
Novel coronaviruses, like COVID-19, are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans. This means people have no immunity against it, and it has no specific vaccine or treatment.
COVID-19 vs. Flu
In some ways, COVID-19 is similar to influenza (also known as the flu), but there are also key differences.
Both cause respiratory disease.
Both are spread by small droplets from the nose and mouth.
Neither is spread through the air over long distances and times, unlike the measles.
COVID-19 does not have a specific vaccine or treatment available.
COVID-19 does not appear to transmit as efficiently as influenza:
only people with symptoms seem to be spreading the disease, but symptoms may be very mild, so transmission is possible even if the person is feeling well
controlling its spread is possible when people with symptoms are isolated
COVID-19 causes severe disease and mortality in more cases than the flu. On average:
COVID-19 has resulted in 1 to 2 deaths per 100 cases
Flu results in 1 death in every 1,000 flu cases
Because COVID-19 can cause serious illness, it is critical to keep it from spreading by having people with symptoms follow mandatory self-isolation requirements. And this means to quarantine yourself from the public and people you love who you don't want to infect.
Please act responsibly, and be kind to your neighbours. Stay safe out there, everyone.