Here are the answers to the most common queries about the novel coronavirus based on our discussion with the various experts from the reputed institutes and analysis of the CDC, WHO, and MoHFW guidelines.
How deadly is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus has ‘high infectivity but low mortality.’ Mortality rate ranges between 2-3%. It is significantly less severe than 2003 SARS (MR: 10%) or 2012 MERS (MR: 35%) outbreaks. Risk of death is only higher in older people (above the age of ~60 years) and people with pre-existing health conditions.
Will I die if I catch the disease?
No. Almost 80% of people have mild symptoms, and recover from the disease in 2 weeks.
Most of the symptoms can be treated with timely medical care.
However, older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. Most coronavirus led illnesses are generally mild, especially for children and young adults.
Are children also at risk of coronavirus infection?
COVID-19 appears to be relatively rare and mild in children. Just over 2% of cases were under 18 years of age. Out of these, fewer than 3% developed severe or critical disease.
Can the novel coronavirus be passed on through food?
No. There is no such evidence as of now. Experience with other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS suggest that people do not get infected through food.
Can eating chicken or eggs cause coronavirus?
No. There is no such evidence as of now. The novel coronavirus is not known to spread directly through poultry products. But, experts say it can be a good option to have only properly cooked meat.
Do I have coronavirus if I am coughing or sneezing?
You may have coronavirus, only if you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) + any out of these:
-Travel history to a coronavirus-affected area (like China, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, etc.).
-Close contact with such a person.
-Working in healthcare facility/ labs where coronavirus patients are being taken care of.
Should I be tested for coronavirus if I have high grade fever, cough and difficulty in breathing? Or can I get a coronavirus test done just for the sake of satisfaction?
No. Testing for coronavirus will only be done as recommended by the doctors if someone falls under the definition of ‘suspected case’.
Why can only designated labs test coronavirus? Why can’t I get a home sample collection done for coronavirus testing?
It is because the virus is highly contagious and can only be tested by special labs equipped to handle such contagious pathogens. As of now, only labs with biosafety level 4 (BSL4) can handle the COVID-19 samples.
Can a person infected with coronavirus recover completely and be no more infectious?
Yes. In fact, about 80% of people have recovered from the disease without needing special treatment.
Can coronavirus be treated?
Yes. Symptom-based medical care is given and has proven really effective. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for novel coronavirus as yet.
Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
As per the experts in the field, heat and warm weather is likely to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
How long does the coronavirus survive over the surfaces or objects?
It survives up to 8-10 hours over porous surfaces (like paper, untreated wood, cardboard, sponge and fabric) and a little more than this over nonporous surfaces (like glass, plastics, metals, varnished wood).
What type of mask should one wear to protect against the coronavirus?
The 3-layer disposable surgical masks are good enough to contain the virus. N-95 or N-99 masks are not mandated.
For any further queries, contact the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on their 24*7 helpline number (+91-11-23978046) or email at ([email protected]).
Prepare carefully, but DON’T PANIC