Frequently asked questions about COVID-19
There’s a lot of curiosity around COVID-19 since so many people are affected by it worldwide. Like most illnesses, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about it. This is why I will be answering a lot of your questions about the Coronavirus.
What’s the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses in humans and animals. In humans, this virus causes respiratory infections like flu and colds. COVID-19 is a disease that’s caused by the coronavirus.
Can the coronavirus be transmitted through the air?
Coronavirus can’t be transmitted through the air; it’s mainly transmitted through droplets/contact. So, touching certain surfaces that may have droplets containing the virus or getting sneezed or coughed on by someone who is infected can cause infection. That’s why it’s advisable to wash your hands with soap and/or to sanitise regularly with an alcohol-based sanitizer to make sure you get rid of any virus particles that may be on your hands. Staying indoors to avoid places or things outside your home where you could come into contact with someone who is infected is the best way to prevent this virus from spreading. This is why the national lockdown is absolutely necessary.
Can COVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?
The main way the disease spreads is through droplets that come out when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. Although the risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low, many people with the virus experience very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all for up to 14 days. This is known as the “incubation period” - the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Which means you can definitely get COVID-19 from someone who has a mild cough or sneeze.
What if one of my family members is showing signs and symptoms of COVID19?
If any of your family members start showing symptoms, it is important that they isolate themselves from the rest of the family. They should do the following:
- Isolate in a single room that is well ventilated for at least 14 days
- Maintain a distance of more than 3 steps from all household members
- Use separate eating utensils and bathroom where possible
- Wash hands regularly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers (containing at least 60% alcohol). This should apply to all family members.
If a separate room is not possible, they should try to keep to one area of your home, at least 2 meters (3 steps) away from other people and wear a disposable face mask to prevent spread of the virus to other people. They should cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or use a tissue and dispose of it right after. The rest of the family should limit physical contact as much as possible with the infected person.
Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?
Although scientists are researching a vaccine, there’s currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) is working towards creating a vaccine in order to help stop the spread of this virus.
Why is it important to stay informed on the virus?
It’s important to keep up with updates on COVID-19 so that you are aware of what’s going on around you in order to make informed decisions. It also means that you are less likely to believe any fake news going around on social media.
Why is it important to stay in my house during lockdown?
I know it’s hard to stay indoors but it is so important for us to stick to these rules. The purpose of a lockdown is to reduce reproduction – in other words, to reduce the number of people each confirmed case infects. This will eventually reduce overall infections.
Here are all the helplines and websites you can contact
Call the COVID-19 Hotline 0800 029 999 if you suspect that you or someone you know may have the virus. Send “hi” on WhatsApp to COVID-19 Connect: 060 012 3456 for updates.
Visit the website www.sacoronavirus.co.za for regular updates and info.
Hopefully this information has been helpful and answered many of the questions you have been asking. Remember to stay safe by staying indoors, washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water, and only sharing information from credible sources on social media. Be responsible and be safe Chomas.
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