These Are the Coronavirus Facts You Should Know
As the new coronavirus spreads rapidly across the globe, it’s crucial to stay informed and know how to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Even though it’s difficult to know what the future holds, having the correct information can reduce fear and anxiety about COVID-19 and help you prepare.
What is the coronavirus and how is it spread?
The new coronavirus, also called COVID-19, is an infectious disease that originated in Wuhan, China and has spread to every continent except for Antarctica.
Someone can catch the virus when they come into contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person. These droplets are spread through coughing and sneezing. It is also possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface that is contaminated with the virus and then touching your own face. Scientists estimate that the virus can live on surfaces for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
- About 80% of those infected with COVID-19 recover from it without any special treatment.
- 1 out of every 5 people infected with it will need hospital care.
- People over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions are more at risk of developing complications from the coronavirus.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?
The main coronavirus symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
Those infected with the virus may also experience general cold and flu symptoms and diarrhea, but other people may not notice any symptoms. The incubation period for the virus is between 1-14 days.
How can you protect yourself from the coronavirus?
It’s important to create habits that will keep you healthy. Here are four ways you can reduce your chances of getting the coronavirus:
1. Frequently clean your hands
The best way to protect yourself from infection is by frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also use hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol. Along these same lines, avoid touching your face.
2. Practice social distancing
It’s important to stay home if you’re sick or starting to feel sick, and be sure to keep your distance from people you know are sick.
If you are in an area where COVID-19 is spreading quickly, try to limit your interactions with others in your community. Avoid large gatherings, public transportation, and try to keep a distance of six feet from people in public. You can use this interactive COVID-19 map created by Johns Hopkins University to track the high-risk regions.
3. Refrain from touching others
Handshakes, high-fives, and hugs can be a part of our daily lives, but it’s important to swap these habits for new ones in the wake of the coronavirus. Instead of handshakes, try a head nod, and give a thumbs up instead of a high-five.
4. Clean surfaces regularly
Get in the daily habit of sanitising surfaces you frequently touch with a disinfectant product. Some examples of high-touch surfaces are doorknobs, light switches, and phones.
5. Stay informed of public health guidelines
Staying on top of updates from public health bodies is important as new developments related to COVID-19 unfold.
What should you do if you think you have the coronavirus?
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have a fever and respiratory problems, you can get advice on what to do next by calling the Department of Health’s Coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080 or find out more at health.gov.au/contacts/national-coronavirus-helpline
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, you need to isolate as directed by your state or territory health department. You can find the local advice for your state here.
You should also follow these general guidelines:
- Stay home and do not go out in public for at least 14 days
- Practice good hygiene – cover your coughs and sneezes,
- Use alcohol-based sanitisers and avoid touching public surfaces, eyes, hands and mouth
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- Sleep alone if possible
- Try to keep at least 1.5 metres away from others in your home and while people can drop off items, do not have visitors.
For more details on what to do if you get sick, see the government’s advice for self isolation.
What are some common coronavirus myths?
It’s easy for misinformation to be shared when there is widespread concern about a disease, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right facts. Below are some of the most common myths about COVID-19.
Can the coronavirus live in hot and humid climates?
The outside temperature of a place has no effect on COVID-19. The disease can be transmitted in hot and humid climates, as well as in cold climates.
Are certain races or ethnicities more likely to get COVID-19?
Certain races or ethnicities, including Chinese Australians or people of Asian descent, are not more susceptible to the coronavirus. You can do your part to stop the spread of fear and misinformation by letting others know that being of a certain ethnicity does not mean you’re more likely to contract or spread COVID-19.
Is there a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus?
There is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 currently. Scientists are researching drug treatments, and WHO is helping organise vaccine development efforts.
Can you stop the coronavirus by drinking a lot of water?
Drinking water won’t prevent the coronavirus, contrary to many tips circulating the internet. These posts claim that sipping water every 15 minutes can wash the virus into your stomach, where it will be killed by stomach acids, but there is no medical basis for this advice.
Can antibiotics kill the coronavirus?
Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viruses. No antibiotics are effective in treating COVID-19.
Can spraying yourself with bleach, chlorine, or alcohol kill the virus?
Spraying your body with bleach, chlorine, or alcohol will not kill COVID-19. These substances can be harmful if you spray them on yourself.
In a time of uncertainty, you can make a real difference
More than 100,000 people across the world have died from the coronavirus, and hundreds of thousands more have fallen ill. Many of those don’t have the financial means to pay bills while they’re out of work—but you have the power to take action. Click the “donate” button below to find out how you can help others stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19.