Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
Here are the 35 Most Frequently Asked Questions covering myths and facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disease (with references)
It is a new strain of coronavirus that causes mild to severe respiratory infection. It originated in Hubei Province in China but has already spread to 87 other countries.
Coronavirus symptoms are mistaken for flu symptoms because they are very much alike. What people must know is coronavirus symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure and are characterized by dry cough, fever, fatigue, runny nose, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, aches and pains, and diarrhea.
3. How it is different from general flu symptoms?
Typical flu symptoms include headache, cough, fever, fatigue, and runny nose. The symptoms appear suddenly and the patient recovers in less than two weeks. With coronavirus, specifically, COVID-19, the symptoms appear suddenly and three cardinal symptoms are present – cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
According to the World Health Organization, distinguishing respiratory viruses that cause the same symptoms is quite hard.
4. What is the incubation period? how much time a virus can survive as per recent research?
The incubation period pertains to the time the symptoms start to exhibit after catching the virus. The incubation period for COVID-19 is two to 14 days, but usually around five-days post-exposure to virus.
There are some reports of individuals transmitting the infection to others before the symptoms even develop. To be safe, people returning from endemic areas are required to be isolated for 14 days.
5. Should I be tested for COVID-19?
If you are feeling sick and exhibit other symptoms of coronavirus infection like fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and you have close contact with a person with active coronavirus infection or have traveled from places with the ongoing spread of coronavirus, then you need to have yourself tested.
To protect yourself from coronavirus infection, you should practice the following:
- Wash your hands regularly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you have no access to soap and water, you can use alcohol or hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol.
- Refrain from always touching your nose, mouth, and eyes, especially if you have not yet washed your hands.
- Stay away from people who are sick. If you are sick, you should stay at home as you can infect others and at the same time be infected more as your immune system is compromised.
- Always make it a habit to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Disinfect frequently touched objects with household cleansers.
There are many trusted online sources for the latest information about coronavirus 2019 disease including the number of infected people and death toll. These include Worldometers and NYTimes.
As of March 5, 2020, the total reported death case has climbed to 3, 356. The total confirmed cases of COVID-19 are 98,059 in 88 countries and territories.
Reference : (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/)
8. What are the Lab tests and recent protocols for diagnosis?
The Center for Disease Control has developed a laboratory test kit to use in testing patient’s specimens for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 – the strain of the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019.
It is called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2019 – Novel Coronavirus Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase-PCR Diagnostic Panel. It should be used together with the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast DX Real-Time PCR Instrument with SDS 1.4 software.
It is a serology test that will check for the presence of antibodies; a specific protein made in response to infections. Such antibodies are present in the blood and other tissues of people infected with the coronavirus.
The presence of antibodies indicates that the person shows an immune response to SARS-CoV-2. It does not matter if the patient is symptomatic or not. What matters is that the patient showed the presence of antibodies.
9. How to prevent corona?
Currently, no vaccine was created to prevent COVID-19. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, you have to employ all the necessary measures to prevent contracting coronavirus infection.
- As much as possible, you should avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- If you are sick, it is best to stay at home to recuperate and prevent infecting others.
- When having a productive cough, you should put your sputum in a tissue paper and hygienically throw in the trash.
- Make it a habit to wash your hands regularly using soap and water. If water is not accessible, then you should use hand sanitizer or alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched using a household cleaning product.
- Always wear CDC’s recommended facemask. However, CDC discourages well people from wearing a facemask. It should only be worn by people exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to prevent the spread of infection.
- Health workers and other people taking care of sick people, especially those who get in contact with COVID-19 positive people are also recommended to wear an N95 mask.
Garlic is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is no evidence that eating garlic can treat and prevent coronavirus in 2019.
Older people are prone to contracting coronavirus infection, especially those who have underlying medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular-related diseases, and cancer. Those who have immunocompromised conditions/weakened immune system are prone to infection.
12. Recent vaccine and new drugs information ?
There is no vaccine yet developed to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, there are drugs used in the experimental phase to assess efficacy in the treatment and management of coronavirus 2019 disease. These include the following:
Favilavir – It is the first approved drug for coronavirus in China. It is an anti-viral drug that has shown efficacy in the management of COVID-19. Seventy patients underwent clinical trials and the drug shown efficacy with minimal side effects.
- TNX-1800 by Tonix Pharmaceuticals – This vaccine is a modified horsepox virus created using Tonix’s proprietary horsepox vaccine platform. What this vaccine does is express a protein derived from the virus-causing coronavirus infection.
- Brilacidin – Brilacidin is a defending mimetic drug that has the potential to treat coronavirus infection. In some clinical trials, Brilacidin has shown its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immune-modulatory properties.
- Recombinant subunit vaccine – Clover Biopharmaceuticals is developing a recombinant subunit vaccine using Trimer-Tag technology, which is based on the trimeric S protein of COVID-19 virus. A highly purified S-Trimer vaccine will be available in six to eight weeks for pre-clinical studies.
- Vaxart’s coronavirus vaccine – The company develops an oral recombinant vaccine in tablet form using VAAST, a proprietary oral vaccine platform.
The very first autopsy report in a patient with coronavirus infection was done, which highlights how the virus affects the lungs. The post-mortem examination showed a SARS-like lesion on the lungs of an 85-year-old patient from Wuhan.
The features of the disease are of the same to that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) – all belong to the same family of coronavirus. Although the lesions found in the lungs of the patient with COVID-19 disease is less pronounced than SARS.
There is separate research indicating that coronavirus disease 2019 can cause stroke-like symptoms. However, in the post-mortem exam, there was no concrete evidence showing damage to other organs. Currently, there are a total of 11 post-mortems conducted by Chinese pathologists, but the symptoms and pathogenic mechanisms still have to be completed understood.
Reference : (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw-zXURqWe8)
There is no evidence that pets at home like dogs and cats can be infected with the coronavirus. As a standard precaution, you should make it a habit to do 20 seconds handwashing using soap and water after contact with pets.
There is not enough evidence that extreme weather temperatures can kill the new strain of coronavirus. Regardless of the external temperature, the normal body temperature remains the same.
The best way to protect yourself from infection is by practicing hand washing using soap and clean water. If water is not accessible, then you can clean your hands using alcohol and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Taking a bath regularly is one way of protecting yourself against any type of infection. However, taking a hot bath is not a guarantee of protection from catching coronavirus infection. In fact, taking a hot bath can be extremely harmful as it can increase the chances of burns.
The virus can stay on the surfaces for a few hours and even days, but it is less likely to thrive on surfaces after being moved, traveled, and exposed to varying weather conditions and temperatures.
For added protection, you can use alcohol and other types of disinfectants in areas or things suspected to be contaminated. Wash your hands and put alcohol after touching any contaminated surfaces.
There is no evidence suggesting that mosquitoes can transmit coronavirus 2019. Coronavirus 2019 is a respiratory virus that spreads through droplets.
It is caught when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Therefore, you should avoid people who cough and sneeze as they could transmit the infection.
The efficacy of hand dryers in killing coronavirus is not yet established. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus infection is frequent hand-washing. Dry your hands using a warm air dryer or clean paper towels.
Thermal scanners can detect people who have body temperature higher than normal (fever). As you know, fever is one of the signs of infection including coronavirus infection.
There are limitations though as the scanners cannot detect people who already have an active infection but do not yet exhibit the signs and symptoms. It usually takes two to 10 days before clinical manifestations show up.
Unfortunately, chlorine nor alcohol can kill the virus that is already in the body. In fact, they can do more harm than good. They can be extremely harmful to clothes and mucous membranes.
Vaccines against pneumonia are not effective in giving you protection against coronavirus infection. COVID-19 is a new strain of virus and researchers are continuously trying to develop a vaccine against it.
COVID-19 can infect people of all ages. However, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more susceptible such as those with diabetes, heart-related diseases, and asthma.
Antibiotics are only effective in treating diseases caused by bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a virus and so antibiotics are not effective in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. However, if you contracted the infection, antibiotics may still be used to manage co-infected caused by bacteria.
To date, there is no specific medicine that can help treat and prevent coronavirus 2019 infection.
25. Can a face mask protect you from COVID-19?
Wearing a mask makes a difference in reducing the risk of spreading the disease to others, but its ability to prevent the virus has something to do with the type of mask. According to the CDC, people who have caught the virus should wear a face mask to avoid spreading the virus to others.
Wearing a face mask is also recommended for people who are in the same room with sick people. The question is what is the best type of mask? The Center for Disease Control has issued a guideline on the two types of mask namely surgical mask and N95 respirators.
Surgical masks can be easily bought in drug stores. The Center for Disease Control says that surgical mask protects the wearer from large droplets, sprays and splashes of body fluids and other hazardous fluids, and protection from respiratory emissions of the wearer.
There is one concern though, surgical masks do not offer excellent protection from inhaling minute airborne particles. CDC recommended N95 respirators as they protect the wearer from large droplets and small particles. It is called N95 because it can filter out airborne particles by up to 95%. Health professionals who treat patients with coronavirus wear an N95 mask. Just make sure the mask properly fits the wearer or else the efficacy will be affected.
26. All people who contracted COVID-19 will eventually die?
COVID-19 is not a death sentence. As a matter of fact, 81% of people with coronavirus have mild cases of infection. Only 13.8% have severe cases as manifested by shortness of breath.
About 5% is in the critical state causing respiratory failure and multi-organ failure. Only 2% of people infected with coronavirus have resulted in death.
No one is spared from contracting the virus. The good news is children are less likely to be infected by a coronavirus. However, children with underlying medical conditions, especially lung-related problems like asthma are susceptible.
The Chinese government said that money received by all banks should be sterilized before release to customers. This is an attempt to reduce the spread of infection. After handling coins, cards, and banknotes, you should thoroughly wash your hands using proper handwashing techniques.
Reference : (https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/03/06/coronavirus-cash/)
According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from humans to pets. The transmission is usually to a single species.
However, pet owners have to be wary as you could potentially catch the virus from the fur of your pets, especially if it is exposed to an infected person, especially if the pet is touched or coughed on by an infected person. As a safety precaution, wash your hands after touching your pet.
If you have a recent trip to places with known COVID-19 infection and start to notice symptoms of infection such as cough, fever, and difficulty of breathing, you should immediately seek medical attention. Avoid close contact with other people and most importantly, cover your mouth and nose with a mask. That way, you can contain the infection to yourself.
31. Should I travel internationally?
The Center for Disease Control strongly recommends avoiding non-essential travel to places with known cases of coronavirus 2019 infection such as China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran, to name a few. If there is a strong need for you to travel to such places, you should carefully observe the following:
- Stay away from sick people.
- Do not visit the animal market.
- Hand washing should be observed using soap and water for 20 seconds. If no water and soap, then your hand sanitizer/alcohol is your best friend.
Coronavirus 2019 is a new strain of coronavirus and sadly, there is no existing immunity in anyone. Immunity will develop over time, but older people and those people with immune-compromised conditions are at risk of infection.
The current death associated with coronavirus 2019 is lower when compared to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The mortality rate of COVID-19 is currently at 2.4% while SARS was 9.6%.
33. How to do proper hand rub with disinfectants or sanitizers ?
34. How to do hand wash (correct protocol) ?
Hand Washing Video by WHO
Hand Washing Video by CDC
35. How to maintain hand care ?
Reference : Above diagrams of hand washing and hand care steps given by WHO. Source: WHO