Frequently asked questions and their answers :
What is a novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus-causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illnesses, like the common cold.
Why is the disease being called coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.
How does the virus spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Can I get COVID-19 from food (including restaurant take-out, produce, refrigerated, or packaged food) or drinking water?
Currently, there is no evidence that people can get COVID-19 by eating or handling food. There is also no current evidence that people can get COVID-19 by drinking water.
It may be possible that people can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, such as a food package or dining ware that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
It is not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like those that cause the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.
What is a community spread?
Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your health department’s website.
Can mosquitoes or ticks spread the virus that causes COVID-19?
At this time, CDC has no data to suggest that this new coronavirus or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes or ticks. The main way that COVID-19 spreads are from person to person. See How Coronavirus Spreads for more information.
Does the use of masks prevent COVID-19?
Wear masks in public settings when around people not living in your household and particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. Masks may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and wear masks in public settings. Masks provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.
The masks recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Is it safe to get care of my other medical conditions during this time?
- It is important to continue taking care of your health and wellness.
- Continue your medications, and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Continue to manage your disease the way your healthcare provider has told you.
- Have at least a 2-week supply of all prescription and non-prescription medications.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your medical conditions, or if you get sick.
- To find out about different ways you can connect with your healthcare provider for chronic disease management or other conditions.
- Do not delay getting emergency care for your health problems or any health condition that requires immediate attention.
- Continue to practice everyday prevention. Wash your hands often, avoid close contact, wear a mask, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.
Am I at risk for COVID-19 from mail, packages, or products?
There is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how it spreads. Coronaviruses are thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products, or packaging. However, it may be possible that people 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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Is it okay for me to donate blood?
In healthcare settings, donated blood is a lifesaving, essential part of caring for patients. The need for donated blood is constant, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations. We must encourage people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of COVID-19. CDC is supporting blood centers by providing recommendations that will keep donors and staff safe. Examples of these recommendations include spacing donor chairs 6 feet apart, thoroughly adhering to environmental cleaning practices, and encouraging donors to make donation appointments ahead of time.
Should I use soap and water or hand sanitizer to protect against COVID-19?
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
What cleaning products should I use to protect against COVID-19?
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. See CDC’s recommendations for household cleaning and disinfection.
If You Or Someone You Know Is Sick Or Had Contact With Someone Who Has COVID-19
What should I do if I get sick or someone in my house gets sick?
- Most people who get COVID-19 will be able to recover at home. CDC has directions for people who are recovering at home and their caregivers, including:
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Use a separate room and bathroom for sick household members (if possible).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Provide your sick household member with clean disposable face masks to wear at home, if available, to help prevent spreading COVID-19 to others.
- Clean the sick room and bathroom, as needed, to avoid unnecessary contact with the sick person.
- However, some people may need emergency medical attention. Watch for symptoms and learn when to seek emergency medical attention.
- When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention, look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
What should I do if I have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Take your temperature and follow CDC guidance if you have symptoms.
What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?
Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. However, a few children have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Currently, information about this syndrome is limited.
How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?
- You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, like tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).
Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?
No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. COVID-19 can look different to different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems.
Should children wear masks?
CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth in public settings when around people not living in your household, particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks should NOT be put on babies or children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation. Children younger than 2 years of age are listed as an exception as well as anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
How do I prepare my children in case of a COVID-19 outbreak in our community?
Outbreaks can be stressful for adults and children. When you talk with your child, try to stay calm, and reassure them that they are safe. Talk to your children about COVID-19 and help them cope with stress.
Can my child hang out with their friends?
The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. While school is out, children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household. Some children with certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water. Remember, if children meet outside of school in groups, it can put everyone at risk.
How can I help my child continue learning?
- Stay in touch with your child’s school.
- Many schools are offering lessons online (virtual learning). Review assignments from the school, and help your child establish a reasonable pace for completing the work. You may need to assist your child with turning on devices, reading instructions, and typing answers.
- Create a schedule and routine for learning at home, but remain flexible.
- Consider the needs and adjustments required for your child’s age group.
- The transition to being at home will be different for preschoolers, K-5, middle school students, and high school students. Talk to your child about expectations and how they are adjusting to being at home versus at school.
- Look for ways to make learning fun.
How can I keep my children healthy?
- Watch your child for any signs of illness.
- Watch for signs of stress in your child.
- Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions.
- Help your child stay active.
- Help your child stay socially connected.
Is my child with an underlying medical condition at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
It’s not known yet whether all children with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Although most COVID-19 cases in children are not severe, a serious illness that needs to be treated at the hospital still happens. Some data on children reported that the majority who needed hospitalization for COVID-19 had at least one underlying medical condition. The most common underlying conditions reported among children with COVID-19 include chronic lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, and conditions that weaken the immune system. This information suggests that children with these underlying medical conditions may be at risk for more severe illness from COVID-19.
What if my child or someone else in the home is sick with symptoms of COVID-19?
If your child with special healthcare needs becomes sick with symptoms of COVID-19, contact your child’s healthcare provider. If your child has new or worsening emergency warning signs, such as trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to wake them up, or bluish lips or face, get emergency service. If you think your child may have COVID-19, notify the operator so those first responders may be appropriately prepared to protect themselves and others.
Notify your child’s healthcare provider if someone else in your house becomes sick with COVID-19, so they can provide any advice specific for your child.
What if my child’s symptoms of their underlying medical condition or complex, chronic medical condition get worse?
Call your child’s healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your child’s medical conditions. If you need emergency help, call 911.
Emergency departments have infection prevention plans to protect you and your child from getting COVID-19 if your child needs care for medical conditions not related to COVID-19. Do not delay getting emergency care for your child’s underlying condition or complex medical condition because you are afraid of getting exposed to COVID-19 when visiting the healthcare setting.
What if my child needs to go to the hospital?
- If your child’s healthcare provider tells you to go to the hospital for any health problem, including COVID-19
- Ask the healthcare provider to let the hospital know you are coming and to share important information about caring for your child.
- Visiting policies may have changed due to COVID-19. If your child’s hospital policy does not allow an adult to stay with a child, ask your child’s healthcare provider for a statement explaining your child’s need for a familiar adult to be present.
- Bring your care plans/emergency notebook with you along with paper and pen to write down questions you have during your time at the hospital.