Indy Style

Coronavirus what you need to know, how to protect yourself

Coronavirus what you need to know, how to protect yourself

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb in the U.S., it’s understandable that you may be concerned about contracting the virus.

Today on Indy Style, Kara Cecil, assistant professor of public health, University of Indianapolis joined us to answer some of the questions you may have involving the outbreak.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus or Covid 2019 is a novel strain of a virus from a known family of virus. If you recall SARS or MERS, Coronavirus is from the same family of viruses.

How is Coronavirus spread?

Coronavirus is a respiratory disease. It is spread through coughs, sneezes, and close personal contact with infected people. 

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms of Coronavirus include cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.

How serious is Coronavirus?

The virus is causing a significant disruption on the global stage. Latest numbers from Mainland China indicate that more than 80,000 people are sick. Of those, more than 33,000 have recovered. In the United States, there are 80 confirmed cases with 7 recovered. There have been six deaths in the US as of March 3rd.

While there is a lot of attention to Coronavirus, it is important to note that the absolute vast majority recovers. We are well prepared to respond to respiratory disease outbreaks. 

What about folks with travel plans?

Given the low risk in the US, anyone with plans to travel within the US for Spring Break should just plan to enjoy their trip. If you are traveling further for work or other trips, you will want to check with the CDC’s page on Coronavirus Travel information. This page provides country specific information. Right now only a few countries are designated as high or level three risks. These include China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. But, as this page is continually updated, you will want to check back for up to date information. 

What should those staying closer to home do? For those of us staying close to home, there are very simple and common sense things to do. Coronavirus is a respiratory disease just like seasonal flu. If you aren’t feeling well, stay home. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your cough, and keep your hands off your face.

How can people stay up to date? As with any ongoing public health situation, you can find up to date and accurate information from the CDC webpage. They are tracking the spread of Coronavirus closely and will always have the most up to date information. As can happen in any similar outbreak situation, misinformation can spread quickly. If you come across any social media posts or articles that seem hard to believe, crosscheck that information with trust sources such as the CDC, ISDH, or WHO. 

If people are concerned we will have a more significant outbreak in the US, what can they do to prepare?

This is a great time to think about your household or family emergency management plans. The website Ready.Gov has great information about families can prepare for Coronavirus and other incidents such as severe weather. Generally, folks will want to have a two week supply of food and water, refill prescription medications when they can, and check supplies of nonprescription medications such as vitamins, pain relievers, and cough and cold remedies. Beyond supplies, families will want to think about to care for children or loved ones if schools closed. People might want to look into workplace policies for working remotely if possible. 

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