The World Health Organization declared novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a pandemic. With local grocery stores out of stock of household items like hand soap and toilet paper, the United States is in a frenzy to survive the frightening prospect of a mandatory coronavirus quarantine.
It’s a confusing time! Depending on where you get your news, you might’ve heard different messages about coronavirus, some more serious than others. To simplify this whirlwind of information, we’ve put together a list of the most important things you need to know about coronavirus and coronavirus survival.
- COVID-19 is just one type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness in humans or animals. COVID-19 is the cause of the current coronavirus outbreak and was unknown before the infections began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
- Coronavirus spreads from person-to-person through “respiratory droplets.” Coronavirus is passed around when respiratory droplets (from the nose and mouth) are sprayed through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or exhales. These droplets are so tiny, they land without being seen on objects near the sick person. Other people then touch these objects and pick up the virus.
The World Health Organization suggests staying more than three feet away from a person who is sick—but respiratory droplets can spray even farther than that. That’s why people diagnosed with COVID-19 must be quarantined.
- Coronavirus can infect people of any age. Older people and people with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. The World Health Organization says people of all ages should protect themselves by frequently washing their hands, or using hand sanitizer when running water and soap aren’t available. Most people survive coronavirus; its current mortality rate is 3.4% overall worldwide for all age groups.
- Social distancing and quarantine prevent spreading coronavirus. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings of people, like special events, or going anywhere that many people go, like a shopping mall, to prevent yourself from catching the virus. Quarantine prevents people who are already infected or could be infected with coronavirus from spreading the illness.
Some infected people can quarantine at home, while others are kept in the hospital. The bottom line is that keeping people away from each other is highly effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
To prepare for social distancing, you might want to go to the grocery store to buy supplies for a coronavirus emergency kit. Popular items to purchase include hand soap, hand sanitizer, food, cleaning supplies, medication, and toilet paper.
- Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu. It can take up to two weeks for you to feel symptoms of coronavirus. Symptoms include running a fever, coughing, and feeling short of breath. Some people have only mild symptoms and think they have the common cold. In more severe cases, patients with COVID-19 can develop pneumonia. Most infections—about 81%—are mild, and people can recover and self-quarantine at home.
With more than 127,000 cases of coronavirus reported so far and upwards of 5,000 deaths from it, it’s important to take this illness seriously to protect yourself and others. Follow advice from your doctor if you become sick, and avoid places where groups of people tend to gather even if you’re well.
If you know someone in quarantine or social-distancing from the coronavirus outbreak, you can cheer them up with a Personal Care Kit. Or, you can order your own to replenish your supply of household goods instead of shopping in a crowded store. Each kit contains snacks and microwavable meals; two kits also include health products, like Emergen-C and disinfectant wipes.
Check out our emergency kit options and send one as a gift to help make a friend or family member feel better, stay in, and stay safe.