COVID-19 questions & answers

SARS, which killed 774 people when it came in 2003, is very much different than the current novel coronavirus. Dr.Mark Siedner, who is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School quoted “ COVID-19 has a bigger pre-symptomatic period”, which means unlike the SARS virus where people used to show symptoms very quickly after getting infected, novel corona virus-infected people don’t show symptoms quickly. The symptom usually surfaces after 3 to 4 days of getting infected. Since the infected people roam freely just like any other asymptomatic person, this makes contact tracing very hard..

What’s working in terms of prevention and treatment?

Till date, there is no particular cure for the novel coronavirus, which means “social distancing is what left for us” as mentioned by Dr.Seidner. Since there is no recommended procedure for COVID infected patients, people should resort to stay at home and maintain social distancing. In any case, a person gets infected, he should take care of himself to relieve his symptoms. For people who are suffering from a severe illness should get hospitalized immediately so that they can get the help they need. In serious cases where additional life support is needed, oxygen and ventilators are to be used to save the patient.

When is it necessary to wear a face mask?

People who work in the medical sector wear masks at all times in the workplace. The other majority of the people should also wear masks all the time, because “50% of the infections spread from a person to other before he shows any kind of symptoms”, according to Dr.Seidner. “You can get the virus from an infected person by just staying close to him for few minutes” he explained further. Some of the latest research shows that COVID-19 can stay in the air for hours after getting outside from an infected person, but much of this fact depends on the environment. That is why everyone should wear masks whenever they step outside the home. More the people will wear masks, more socially acceptable it will become. We all must make this a social necessity.

How long does it live on various surfaces?

According to a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine, the lifetime of coronavirus depends very much on the type of surface it lands. Another factor that plays a major role in its survival is the type of environment. It can live from 3 hours to 7 days, depending on the surface and environment. Some of the materials and the respective covid-19 lifetime on it are:-
1) Glass- 0–5 days
2) Plastic and stainless steel- 0–3 days
3) Wood- 0–4 days
4) Copper- 0–4 hours
5) Cardboard- 0–1 day

How reliable are antibody tests?

Some of the early antibody tests may show wrong results. The major point to worry is that people may start going to get these tests done on them without knowing the percentage of its accuracy. The public health department knows that many tests they do may come positive for actually negative people. And the same can happen for people who are positive, but the tests may show negative. This will cause a situation where people will walk around freely, thinking they are COVID negative, but actually they are positive, explained by Dr.Seidner.

Can coronavirus live in the heat?

Coronavirus can live in heat, and can be transmitted by living beings, said Seidner. He further added that, whether or not the spread will decrease by some percentage is still debatable, but increased heat of the environment will not kill coronavirus.

Can you test negative in the very beginning stages of the virus?

“Yes, it’s a possibility that you will test negative in the beginning stages, but it’s rare”, said Seidner. Because it takes time for the virus to grow and divide inside the body of a host, which is why if you are exposed to someone infected, you should do test only after 1–2 days after the first contact. To get better results, people should go for antigen tests or the PCR tests because these tests specifically look for the virus in the body hence making very rare mistakes.

How long does it take for the body to develop antibodies?

For our body, it takes around 7 to 21 days to make antibodies that will fight the novel coronavirus, according to Seidner. Hence, taking tests very early may show negative results even if you have been exposed.

How do you know when it’s safe to discontinue home isolation?

According to the latest CDC guidelines, 10 days is the period after which its safe to discontinue home quarantine. As of May 3, it has been noted that novel coronavirus cannot be cultured successfully in the lab for more than 9 days after the illness. Furthermore, people can be tested positive (PCR or antigen) for up to 6 weeks after the first symptom shows, while it is still debatable that whether or not the person can spread the virus to other people during this whole period.

Does the virus mutate enough to evade the immune system?

“it is too early to state anything like that,” said Dr. Seidner. He further added that COVID-19 has few features which make him think that it is not expected to mutate in the near future because, “it contains proofreading enzyme which makes sure that there is a perfect genetic duplication, which reduces the chances of error”. He further said that it is very early to say anything regarding the possible mutation of novel coronavirus and whether it will come back again in a more strong and deadly form and cause a second wave to happen.

Realistically, should we expect to be social distancing until 2021?

Yes, we have to practice it in some form or other” said Dr.Seidner. “While the extent to which we will have to do social distancing cannot be predicted”. Some states are already on the brink of opening their economy partially after a long period of lockdown. Restaurant, gyms, hair salon to be opened while others will remain closed. “there is a possibility that we may have to go back to lockdown if new cases of COVID-19 cases spike” Seidner said.

What are you most optimistic about?

“if we continue social distancing, we can keep this epidemic at bay till we have necessary tools and medicine to fight it”. Numerous lives have already been saved due to the already imposed lockdown, according to Seidner. We are still unaware as to how much social distancing should be practiced. Can we still go to the stores, malls, barber, and not spread or get the virus? All the important questions will be answered in the near future.

Are recovered people immune to the virus?

It is still unknown that people who have been infected with COVID19 once can become a patient again because of it, according to Seidner. Latest reports suggest that people may become immune to COVID19 after curing from it once but till when they will be immune is still not known.

When should people get tested for COVID-19?

CDC regularly updates who should be tested for COVID-19. As of the guidelines dated May 3, doctors are suggested to test and prioritize testing of people with the following symptoms:-
1) Cough
2) Fever
3) Shortness of breath
4) Muscle pain
5) Chills
6) Loss of taste
7) Loss of smell
8) Diarrhea
9) Vomiting
10) And/or who have sore threat.
15. Which body fluids can spread the virus?

COVID-19 aims for the respiratory system of the hosts. Hence, it can be spread from respiratory fluids such as cough, sneeze from the mouth or the nose. Coughing and sneezing without using masks can lead to spreading of COVID-19 via your respiratory fluids in the air for more than 3 hours. This means, there is a high probability that the virus may enter your body after you breathe in an air section where a COVID-19 positive person has sneezed or coughed 3 hours before!. While it is still unknown whether a COVID-19 positive person can infect others from other bodily fluids like urine, breast milk, vomit, etc.

Face shields, medical masks, regular bandanas?

“Someone who is sick, should remain indoors at all cost”, said Dr.Seidner. If they are not ill, then medical safety equipment should be utilized at all times like a single-use mask or N95 masks and if not, then even using a double-layered cloth would suffice. He further warned not to wear any inverted filter masks, in which case it will protect the person who is wearing it but not others who are around him.

How do we get out of the pandemic?

One way in which we can get out of this whole epidemic is Herd immunity. But herd immunity will show that we have failed as a society because till then, more than 80% of the current world population will be infected. And even if the mortality rate is 1%, it would mean that millions of people will lose their life to this disease.

Another way is developing a vaccine. A vaccine will prevent the spread of coronavirus in the states and also cure it at the same time. “The vaccine development is running at lightning speed” metaphorically said Dr.Seidner. Scientists now can research and conduct experiments faster than before. Also, since the virus sequence was published in early January, companies and organizations got a head start to develop the vaccine. The work has already developed to a very high level from where it can be predicted that next year this time, we may have a possible vaccine.

The third way out of this epidemic is a medicine which will prevent people from getting infected. The medicine will stop the spread to the people around a COVID-19 positive person while the period where an asymptomatic person can spread the virus should not be neglected. Hence, the medicine will limit the spread to a very large scale but not stop it completely.

DIY alternatives to specific brand cleaners and disinfectants?

Shops are going out of stock when it comes to sanitisers or disinfectants since the beginning of the crisis. If in any case, you cannot find these products in the store, you can follow the DIY CDC guidelines to make and prevent the spread of COVID-19:-
1) Wipe surfaces with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol
2) Make your own hand sanitizer by mixing aloe and alcohol in a ratio of 40:60 respectively.
3) Make your own hand sanitizer by mixing bleach and water.

How often should face masks and gloves be changed?

When it comes to gloves or any other kind of face masks or surgical masks, it should be discarded immediately after the first usage. The virus may stay in the creases or the folds, which may lead to increased exposure. In the case of cloth coverings, it should be washed once every day.

What to do if you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, but you’re not showing symptoms?

According to the Washington Department of Health, one should monitor him/her of the following symptoms:-
1) cough
2) fever
3) shortness in breath
this monitoring should go on for at least 2 weeks. Till that time, avoid any type of social gatherings and public places. In any case, where you notice symptoms in you, you should immediately call the Health care department for a quick checkup.

Have we reached a peak?

A second wave of the novel coronavirus can already be seen in some of the states post unlocking a few weeks ago. No city can be compared to as deadly as New York City, but many are on the verge to become the next New York City, Seidner noted. It has been seen that the epidemic has now moved onto the rural areas as well while the rural area numbers won’t reach the point to where the urban cities are at right now, and it is also not likely that the numbers in the urban areas will go further up from where they were a few months back.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Anti Vibration Technologies does not claim responsibility for this information.

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, N95 mask, N95 respirator

Originally published at on June 15, 2020.



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