Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inundated with constantly changing information about novel coronavirus/COVID-19. Here are a few commonly asked questions with answers from credible, up-to-date resources. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a librarian will help you find the information you need.
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WHAT IS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19?
You are probably hearing lots of terms to describe the virus–coronavirus, novel coronavirus, COVID-19. So, what do they all mean? Coronavirus is a general term used to describe many different types of viruses that cause upper respiratory illness in humans. In the early stages of the disease’s spread, the World Health Organization referred to the current strain impacting the globe as novel coronavirus because it was a new (“novel”) type of coronavirus. The official name for the disease is COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019). You’ll probably hear most people use the words interchangeably.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms usually appear within 2-14 days of exposure.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE COVID-19?
If you think you are sick with COVID-19, call your doctor immediately. Stay home except to receive medical care, and isolate yourself from others in your house.
WHY IS EVERYTHING CLOSED?
In the past few days, people have been encouraged to practice social distancing, non-essential businesses have closed, restaurants have moved to takeout-only, and many people are working from home in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
These practices will help “flatten the curve,” or spread the number of COVID-19 cases over a longer period of time so hospitals will not be overwhelmed with sick people. This simulator from the Washington Post shows how spread can be slown down with social distancing.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19?
The CDC recommends the following practices to protect yourself and others:
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Click here for more information about how to appropriately clean surfaces, and click here for a list of recommended cleaning products.
- Keep sick children at home. Do not send them to school.
- If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household at home.
- If you are an older person or an individual with underlying health conditions that puts you at greater risk of complications from upper respiratory diseases, stay at home and away from other people.
- Work from home if you can.
- Avoid social gatherings of groups of more than ten people.
- Avoid discretionary travel.
- Do not visit nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?
Turn to local, state, and federal agencies for accurate, up-to-date information.
- Westmoreland County Public Safety
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Institutes of Health
- World Health Organization
- Access peer-reviewed health information in POWER Library’s Health & Wellness Resource Center