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Coronavirus basics


• Coronavirus is the term for the virus. When it turns into sickness in a person, it's referred to as COVID-19. But you'll often see the terms used interchangeably.

• The virus is transmitted chiefly in one of two ways: carried on a droplet of mucus or saliva, or left on surfaces. It can travel on droplets through coughing, sneezing, or talking.

• Coronavirus enters the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes. It does not pass through the skin. Washing your hands should make it safe to touch your face. Most experts agree it doesn't matter what kind of soap you use.

• Symptoms show between five and seven days after initial infection.

• The virus can't go through walls or glass. You don't have to worry about your neighbor who's keeping to his apartment.

• The World Health Organization says it's best to stay three feet away from a sick person. The CDC ups that number to six feet.

• You can't always tell if someone is sick. Most often the symptoms are no worse than those of the cold or flu, according to most virologists. Some people infected with the virus don't get sick at all.

• The coronavirus dies easily. It expires instantly in contact with common disinfectant.

• Don't panic buy. Indications are heading for Costco to provision yourself for possible quarantine isn't needed at this stage, though experts agree that picking up a few extra things here and there over time could be useful. The Surgeon General has advised people not to stock up on face masks, since across the board they aren't really needed immediately, and hoarding could keep supplies short for medical professionals.


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