5 things you need to know about COVID-19

March 11, 2020 | by Karen Sonnwald
5 things you need to know about COVID-19

Updated: 3/11/2020 

“Coronaviruses” are not new. The type of coronavirus making headlines of late, named COVID-19, is new. Although the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the threat to the American public is low, their medical experts are closely monitoring the situation to keep us well informed and safe.

“We encourage your continued attention to information coming from local and state health departments in addition to news from the CDC, as we continue to monitor potential impact to our patients, affiliated practices and communities,” says Jorge Del Toro, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs at MEDNAX.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

  1. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness causing fever, cough and shortness of breath. Currently, the CDC believes that symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

  2. COVID-19 is primarily spread through close contact with someone who is infected. Much like how the flu spreads, when an infected person sneezes or coughs, droplets can travel and infect those who are nearby – typically within six feet. Someone who is actively sick can spread the virus to others, but it is not clear how easy it is for transmission to occur.

  3. International travel warnings have expanded over the past few weeks. The CDC urges the public to pay attention to advisories and adjust plans accordingly. The U.S. State Department also recently advised citizens to steer clear of cruises.
  4. Regular hand washing is one way to help stop the spread of germs. Wash hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

  5. Established, trusted organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are the best sources for accurate, timely information.