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Plan and stockpiles: how can a U.S. resident prepare for the spread of coronavirus in the country

Chinese coronavirus, or COVID-19, has infected dozens of Americans and thousands of other people around the world, recalls ABC News. While scientists are working to contain the outbreak and come up with effective treatments, health experts explain how Americans can prepare and protect themselves from infection.

Photo: Shutterstock

1. What are the symptoms of coronavirus

Chinese coronavirus can cause mild to severe symptoms, including coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Since the symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia, flu, and the common cold, only a diagnostic test can confirm that a person has coronavirus.

2. How is it transmitted

The first cases of COVID-19 are thought to have been linked to the animal market in China, but since then the virus has spread from person to person.

Transmission from person to person most often occurs in the process of fairly close contact, at a distance of up to 6 feet (1,8 m). When an infected COVID-19 sneezes or coughs, the virus gets into the nearby airborne droplets or they can inhale it.

Although theoretically the virus can be transmitted by touching objects or surfaces, health experts do not currently believe that this is how it is transmitted.

3. What do people living in the USA need to do

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that Americans should prepare for the spread of the virus in the near future, which could lead to significant changes in the daily lives of citizens.

February 25, authorities warned that the virus could spread to the United States, reports "Voice of America".

“Now the question is rather not whether this will happen in our country, but when it will happen,” said Dr. Nancy Messonier, CDC vaccination expert.

The CDC advises every person and family to plan for schools and enterprises to develop distance learning and distance learning systems if it is necessary to limit face-to-face communication.

Dr. William Schaffner, director of the National Fund for Infectious Diseases, has proposed a plan for how your family can handle the closure of schools and businesses. Are any relatives taking prescription drugs? Now is the time to stockpile for at least two weeks.

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The CDC recommends that Americans maintain good hygiene (like during the flu season): wash their hands often, spend as much time as possible at home, and if you are sick and coughing or sneezing, you should do this not in the palm of the hand, but in the elbow.

4. Do I need to wear a mask

CDC does not recommend that any healthy person wear a mask, and doctors warn that putting on and removing a mask frequently can have unpleasant consequences, as you will always touch your face with your hands.

“Surgical masks are not very tight to the face and are not thick enough to prevent infection,” Schaffner said.

The protection they provide is psychological rather than scientific. The N-95 masks used in hospitals are expensive and not easy to wear, meaning it is impractical for everyday use.

“What can a mask do? It gives you a false sense of security, which is useless, ”said Dr. Michael Merson, professor at New York University's School of Global Public Health and professor at Duke University.

Masks prevent the spread of bacteria and infect other people, but "those people who are already sick should still stay at home."

5. Do I need to be tested for the virus

If you have symptoms (coughing or fever) but have no travel history to the area of ​​the outbreak, you can go to the clinic and do a quick test to rule out more common viruses such as the flu.

If you traveled abroad, to the country where you found the coronavirus, or were in close contact with someone who was exposed to the virus, after which you developed symptoms of the disease, your doctor may contact your local health department to determine if you should get tested on COVID-19.

6. Should I cancel my upcoming trip to Europe or Asia

The U.S. Department of State provides travel guidelines for various countries, which include updated recommendations on which countries reported COVID-19 cases and how widespread the cases are. The situation is unstable and is developing rapidly, so you should check this information often.

On the subject: Border closure, flight cancellation, quarantine and checks: how the US and countries of the world are protected from coronavirus

In addition to the question of whether there has been a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the country in question, consider the situation there. Were domestic trips restricted? If this is a work trip, will the on-site environment hinder your productivity?

The answer may be different for each individual person. Schaffner, for example, noted that Italy is a large country, and he will feel comfortable traveling to Rome, since the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy is concentrated in the northern part of the country.

7. Does quarantine work

“Yes, and better than we expected,” Schaffner said.

According to Schaffner, after China introduced strict quarantine and containment measures in the heavily damaged Hubei province, new cases of COVID-19 are declining.

It is too early to talk about the effect of this quarantine, which is an unprecedented experiment in public health. And imposing strict quarantine measures on the entire community cannot be replicated outside of China.

8. Will the outbreak turn into a pandemic?

The World Health Organization defines the pandemic as “the spread of a new disease around the world,” and we are certainly on the verge of this reality.

An increase in virus transmission in more countries increases the likelihood of a pandemic, as well as the spread of infection in the United States.

“Be careful and be prepared for social constraints,” Schaffner warned. For example, if health authorities do not advise holding public events, do not.

“This should not cause you to panic,” Schaffner warns. “But that should get your attention.”

9. How much more serious is coronavirus

Stay up to date with CDC updates and recommendations from state and local health departments. Take the time to sit down and plan what you will do if local transmission of the virus occurs in your city.

COVID-19 appears to be more deadly than the flu, with COVID-19 mortality rates of about 2% and influenza deaths of less than 1%. However, compared with past coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, most cases of COVID-19 are mild.

On the subject: Northern California Recorded First Case of Unknown Origin Coronavirus

Unfortunately, this fact may also explain why COVID-19 is spreading faster than other fatal diseases. For example, HIV "was very deadly, but difficult to transmit."

10. Is there a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19

Not. Tests are being conducted in China and other countries, but since the virus is new, there is no approved treatment for COVID-19, and the vaccine is likely to be created no earlier than in a year.

Read the latest news and everything you need to know about the outbreak of a new coronavirus from China. ForumDaily special project “Chinese Coronavirus”.

Miscellaneous training Educational program coronavirus Special Projects

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