Everything Qatar Residents Need to Know About Coronavirus (FAQ)

  • 7 months   ago

How well do you know about Coronavirus? 

If you’re looking for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the deadly Coronavirus, now called COVID-19, here are some of the most important facts shared by Dr. Todd Ellerin via the Harvard Health Blog:


Q: Does the coronavirus spread person-to-person?

A: Yes, the virus can spread from one person to another. How?

- through droplets of saliva or mucus carried in the air for up to six feet

- when an infected person coughs or sneezes

- through viral particles transferred when shaking hands or sharing a drink with the virus carrier


Q:  Can you already tell if a person is infected prior to taking any coronavirus test?

A: Often it’s obvious if a person is ill, but there have been some cases where people who did not yet feel sick had the virus and could spread it.


Q: What are the basic steps to take for early virus prevention?

A: According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following basic steps for avoiding flu and other infections can be of big help:

- Practice regular handwashing as shown in this video.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

- Stay at home when you are sick.

- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

- Use facemasks if you show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others, if you are a health worker, or if you are taking care of someone at home or a health care facility


Q: What is the incubation period for the coronavirus?

A: An incubation period is the time between catching an illness and showing symptoms of the illness. COVID-19 usually appear within around five days or less in most cases, but the range could be between one and 14 days.


Q: What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?

A: An incubation period is the time between catching an illness and showing symptoms of the illness. Current estimates suggest that symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear within around five days or less in most cases, but the range could be between one and 14 days.


Q: Can people who are asymptomatic spread coronavirus?

A: A person who is asymptomatic may be shedding the virus and could make others ill. It is still unclear how often asymptomatic transmission is occurring.

Q: Can the coronavirus live on fabric, carpet, and other soft surfaces? What about hard surfaces?

A: Currently, there’s no evidence that COVID-19, the new coronavirus, can be transmitted from soft surfaces like fabric or carpet to humans.

It’s possible that the virus could be on frequently-touched surfaces, such as a doorknob, although early information suggests viral particles would be likely to survive for just a few hours, according to the WHO. 


Q: Should I wear a face mask to protect against coronavirus? Should my children?

A: Some health facilities require people to wear a mask if they have traveled from the city of Wuhan, China or surrounding Hubei Province, or have been in contact with people who did or with people who have confirmed coronavirus.

If you have respiratory symptoms like coughing or sneezing, experts recommend wearing a mask to protect others. This may help contain droplets containing any type of virus, including the flu, and protect close contacts (anyone within three to six feet of the infected person).

When and how to use a mask? Some information, videos, and illustrations are provided by CDC and WHO 


Q: Should someone who is immunocompromised wear a face mask?

A: If you are immunocompromised because of an illness or treatment, talk to your doctor about whether wearing a mask is helpful for you in some situations. If your healthcare provider advises you to wear a mask when in public areas because you have a particularly vulnerable immune system, follow that advice. 


Q: Should I accept packages from China?

A: There is no reason to suspect that packages from China harbor COVID-19. Remember, this is a respiratory virus similar to the flu. We don’t stop receiving packages from China during their flu season. 


Q: Can I catch the coronavirus by eating food prepared by others?

A: It’s not clear if this is possible. COVID-19 and other coronaviruses have been detected in the stool of certain patients, so there is no possibility yet of occasional transmission from infected food handlers. The virus would likely be killed by cooking the food.


Q: Should I travel on a plane with my children?

A: Keep abreast of travel advisories from regulatory agencies and understand that this is a rapidly changing situation. Most travel throughout the world is unrestricted (exceptions include China and now South Korea). 

If anyone has a fever and respiratory symptoms, that person should not fly if at all possible, but anyone who has a fever and respiratory symptoms and flies anyway should wear a mask on an airplane.


Q: Is there a vaccine available for coronavirus?

A: No vaccine is available, although scientists are working on developing one. In 2003, scientists tried to discover a vaccine to prevent SARS, but the epidemic ended before the vaccine could enter clinical trials.


Q: Is there a treatment available for the new coronavirus?

A: Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for this new coronavirus. Only available are some fluids, medicine to reduce fever, and, in severe cases, supplemental oxygen. People who become critically ill from COVID-19 may need a respirator to help them breathe. Bacterial infection can complicate this viral infection. Patients may require antibiotics in cases of bacterial pneumonia as well as COVID-19.

Antiviral treatments used for HIV and other compounds are being investigated.

There’s no evidence that supplements, such as vitamin C, or probiotics will help speed recovery.


Q: How is this new coronavirus confirmed?

A: A specialized test must be done to confirm that a person has COVID-19. The goal is to send test kits to laboratories so testing can be performed locally.


Q: How deadly is the coronavirus?

A: Many people may have had mild cases of the virus and recovered without special treatment.

Some developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which causes tiny air sacs in the lungs to fill with fluid, crowding out air so that not enough oxygen can reach the bloodstream.

As of February 25, 2020, the reported confirmed cases and deaths in China suggest the mortality rate is roughly 3%. By contrast, SARS had a mortality rate of around 10%; the MERS mortality rate is closer to 30% to 40%. There appear to be many more COVID-19 cases confirmed than there were with SARS and MERS.


Q: Can people who recover from the coronavirus still be carriers and therefore spread it?

A: People who get COVID-19 need to work with providers and public health authorities to determine when they are no longer contagious.


Q: What you should do if you think you have coronavirus or your child does? Go to an urgent care clinic? Go to the ER?

A: If you, your child, or other people you know, are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus, follow these steps from CDC to help prevent the disease from spreading:

- Call your health care provider or pediatrician for advice. If you do not have a doctor and you are concerned that you or your child may have coronavirus, contact your local board of health. They can direct you to the best place for evaluation and treatment in your area.

- Seek medical care in the ER only if you have severe respiratory illness. Severe symptoms are rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, high or very low temperatures, confusion, trouble breathing, severe dehydration. Call ahead to tell them that you are coming, so they can be prepared for your arrival.

- Call ahead to healthcare professionals if you are showing symptoms, like fever1, respiratory illness, cough or shortness of breath. Then, they will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

- Stay at home except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

- Call ahead before visiting your doctor, so the healthcare provider’s office can take some steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed beforehand.

- Wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol.

- Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.

- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day including counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, those surfaces with blood, stool, or body fluids on them.

- Monitor your symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening

- Continue home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.


Q: What the medical experts are doing to break the chain of Coronavirus transmission?

A: Government sectors and public health authorities around the world are imposing:

- quarantines and travel restrictions in many countries

- patients are taken isolation at home and symptom monitoring for a period of time (usually 14 days), depending on level of risk for exposure


Reliable resources:

WHO coronavirus website and answers to frequently asked questions

WHO coronavirus mythbusters page

CDC coronavirus website and answers to frequently asked questions