Coronavirus (COVID-19), the new name for the disease being caused by the recent coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 is all over the news. You may hear one thing from one source, then hear the opposite thing from another source. That makes it hard to know what’s true. Read the following to get the real facts about the disease.
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What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. It was first reported in China in December 2019. Because this is a new disease, doctors are still learning about it. You can expect them, along with other health experts, to provide new information about it frequently.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a person to have a fever when he or she has a measured temperature of at least 100.4 °F [38 °C]. These symptoms may occur 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Most people who come down with COVID-19 have mild symptoms. These symptoms can make you feel like you have the flu. However, some people have more severe symptoms. In these cases, the virus may lead to pneumonia.
How do people get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The most common way to get COVID-19 is by inhaling respiratory droplets in the air. When a person with COVID-19 coughs and sneezes, tiny droplets leave their mouth and nose and go into the air. You can’t see these droplets. If you’re within 6 feet of that person, you may breathe in those droplets. You won’t even know you’ve done it. But by doing that, you may get the germs that cause COVID-19 in your body.
COVID-19 also can be shared if you touch a surface an infected person has touched. Some examples include door handles, elevator buttons and shopping carts. The germs can get into your body if you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Who is likely to get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
While there are many cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States, the overall risk of getting sick with it in the United States is still low for now. However, some people have a greater risk of becoming sick. Those include:
- Travelers returning from international areas where there is a high concentration of COVID-19 cases.
- People in contact with travelers returning from international areas where there is a high concentration of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
- People in close contact with someone who has Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Most of the people who are getting sick with Coronavirus (COVID-19)9 are adults. While some children have become infected with it, too, most of them have had milder symptoms than adults.
If people 65 years old and older get Coronavirus (COVID-19), they’re more likely to have a severe case. Likewise, people who have health issues, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are also at risk of getting a severe case.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) compared to influenza
Around the world, more than 100,000 people (as of the date of this article) so far have had Coronavirus (COVID-19). In comparison, at least 22 million people in the United States have had influenza this season.