How deadly is the coronavirus and is there a cure: 10 questions answered

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In the wake of the rapid spread of coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, across the globe, people have begun to worry about many aspects of the epidemic.

Here are 10 questions answered:


Is the coronavirus deadly?

The virus can, in some cases, be fatal to those who contract it. Older people and those who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions and respiratory problems “appear to be more vulnerable,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Is there a cure for coronavirus?

There is currently no known medicine recommended by health authorities to prevent and treat the virus. There are efforts underway to create a specific treatment and relief for those suffering.

How is coronavirus spread?

The virus is usually spread through person-to-person contact with someone who is infected.

It is typically spread via infected droplets, such as those created by a sneeze, cough, or droplets of saliva. Good respiratory hygiene, like hand washing, is necessary. It is possible that people who have no symptoms may be infectious, although this is not certain as of this time.

Can coronavirus spread through pets?

There has been no evidence that the disease can be spread through household pets, such as dogs or cats, nor is there evidence that these animals have been infected by the virus.

Can coronavirus spread through mail?

Although the virus can spread via recently touched surfaces, the WHO notes that it is safe for people to receive packages in the mail as the disease does not survive long on objects such as letters or packages.

Can coronavirus spread through food?

Experiences from outbreaks of similar viruses, such as SARS in 2003, and MERS in 2012, show that transmission through food consumption did not occur, and likewise there have been no reported incidents of coronavirus transmission through food. The WHO does recommend, however, to avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products and to handle food with care to avoid cross-contamination.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

The virus’s symptoms are similar to other respiratory illnesses and include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever.

Did coronavirus come from bats?

Investigations into the source of the virus have not concluded yet, and the original source has not been identified. It is likely that a live animal market in China was the source of the original infections, the WHO said.

Does coronavirus need isolation?

Estimates of the incubation period for the virus range from one to 12 ½ days. Many countries have thus instituted a 14-day isolation period for those traveling from at-risk areas to prevent the disease’s spread.

A nurse walks inside a quarantine room at the Shanghai Public Clinical Center, on February 17, 2020. (File photo: AFP)
A nurse walks inside a quarantine room at the Shanghai Public Clinical Center, on February 17, 2020. (File photo: AFP)

Is coronavirus slowing down?

The number of infected has hit nearly 80,000 globally, with over 2,600 dead. The vast majority of these are contained in China, with Iran as the current second deadliest country. However, the number of people who have recovered after contracting the virus began to outpace new infections on February 19, 2020.

Source: World Health Organization, John Hopkins CSSE

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