Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Facts and Details
What is COVID-19?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel (new) coronavirus first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. SARS -CoV-2 causes the human respiratory illness coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. Seven sub-groups are known to infect people, including several that cause the common cold. MERS-CoV (which causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), SARS-CoV (which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome), and the 2019 novel coronavirus infect animals and have evolved to make people sick.
How common is COVID-19?
Over 80 million COVID-19 cases have been identified globally with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with most cases being linked to community spread.
How do people become infected?
Similar to other coronaviruses, COVID-19 is spread by droplets from an infected person’s nose or mouth through coughing, sneezing, and talking.
A person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by aerosolized droplets produced by talking.
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
Reports show that COVID-19 causes mild to severe respiratory illness. Some patients have developed pneumonia, and some people have died from the infection.
COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chills or shivering
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Fatigue or feeling more tired than normal
- Ringing in the ears or temporary loss of hearing
After exposure, COVID-19 symptoms typically appear within 14 days.
How long can a person spread COVID-19?
Someone with COVID-19 may be contagious from two days before they show symptoms until 10 days after symptom onset or 72 hours after symptoms stop, whichever is longer.
Who is at risk for COVID-19?
Anyone who is exposed to the virus can become infected. Adults are most affected and people over age 60 and adults who also have other health conditions are at greater risk for severe illness.
How is COVID-19 treated?
COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics won’t work. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one drug, Remdesivir, to treat COVID-19 in certain situations. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some people have developed pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization.
How can you prevent COVID-19?
Presently, there are two vaccines for COVID-19 in the United States. One is manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech; and the other is manufactured by Moderna. Each need two doses from the same manufacturer.At this time, the CDC recommends people avoid all nonessential international travel and travel to states with community spread.
You can prevent infection by doing the following:
Wash your hands often with soap and water
Don’t share drinking cups or utensils with other people
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet between you and others
Stay home when you are sick
Homemade masks/face coverings are the easiest and most effective way to protect each other, and keep people from unknowingly spreading the virus
When available, get a COVID-19 vaccine for yourself and family members.
Face Mask Guidance
Use this acronym when considering safe homemade mask use:
- Multi-layered, tightly-woven 100% Cotton. Use a thread count of 180 or higher. Don’t buy surgical or N95 masks.
- Avoid your face and remove it from behind. Never touch the front of the mask, and always remove it from behind your head.
- Scrap it if it’s damaged, soiled, or doesn’t fit. Make sure it’s breathable and fits snug. Don’t use it while it’s damp, wet, or dirty.
- Keep the mask and your hands clean. Wash your hands before you put the mask on/after you take it off. Wash or dispose the mask after every use.
Mandatory quarantines in due to travel with high COVID-19 community transmission areas were recently updated and can be found here.
For More Information:
Sedgwick County Health Department Epidemiology Program
1900 E. 9th St.
Wichita, KS 67214