Q.1 What is a novel coronavirus?
The novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, is a new strain of coronavirus that first appeared in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. It has not previously affected humans, and there is limited information available about this virus. Health experts are closely monitoring the situation.
Q.2 How dangerous is it?
The novel coronavirus causes respiratory illnesses. Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, fever, and sore throat. In severe cases, it can lead to breathing difficulties and pneumonia, and it can be fatal, particularly for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Q.3 How does this virus spread?
The virus spreads from person to person primarily through respiratory droplets. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, these droplets can be inhaled by individuals within a 6-foot radius, leading to infection.
Q.4 How long does it take for the symptoms of this virus to appear?
Symptoms typically appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The severity of symptoms can range from mild illnesses to severe problems requiring immediate hospitalization.
Q.5 What is the source of this virus?
The novel coronavirus belongs to a family of viruses that circulate among animals such as cats, camels, and bats. Genetic analysis suggests it may have originated in bats, but it is unclear if there were any intermediate animal hosts before transmission to humans.
Q.6 Who can catch this virus?
People traveling or residing in areas where the novel coronavirus is circulating are at higher risk of infection. Currently, China is the epicenter of the outbreak, with the majority of reported cases originating from there. Individuals who have recently traveled from China or have been in contact with people who visited China are also at risk.
Q.7 Can a person quarantined for this virus spread the illness to others?
Quarantine involves separating individuals exposed to a contagious disease to prevent its spread. The quarantine period for the novel coronavirus is 14 days. After this period, individuals released from quarantine do not pose a risk of spreading the virus to others.
Q.8 How can I help protect myself?
To protect yourself from the novel coronavirus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
- Stay at home if you feel sick.
- Disinfect and clean frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with sick individuals and maintain a distance of at least 3 feet.
- If you recently visited China and experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical care.
- Avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.
Q.9 How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
The exact duration for which the novel coronavirus remains viable on surfaces is unknown. Preliminary information suggests it may survive for a few hours. Regular disinfection with appropriate disinfectants can eliminate the virus and prevent transmission.
Q.10 Are antibiotics useful in the prevention and treatment of this virus?
No, antibiotics are not effective against the novel coronavirus. Antibiotics are designed to treat bacterial infections, not viral infections. If you experience symptoms related to this virus, do not take antibiotics and seek medical attention promptly.
Q.11 What is the difference between the flu and Novel coronavirus?
The symptoms of the flu and the novel coronavirus are similar. However, a significant difference is that a vaccine is available for the flu, whereas no vaccine currently exists for the novel coronavirus.
Q.12 Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
As of now, there is no vaccine available for the prevention or treatment of the novel coronavirus.
Q.13 Can a face mask help protect me from this virus?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend the use of face masks for individuals who have not been infected. Face masks should be worn by infected individuals to prevent the spread of the virus to others. Healthcare workers and those caring for infected individuals should also use face masks.