How Does COVID-19 Spread?
COVID-19 spreads from humans to humans and people catch the virus from those who have it. This happens through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
The droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person who coughs or exhales. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
For this you must stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, it is true that at the early stages of COVID-19, many people experience mild symptoms and it is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.
Can the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spread through air?
To date, studies show that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
Measures to Prevent catching COVID-19?
There is a lot of advice online about preventing COVID –19, however, there are medically proven measures set by the World Health Organization. Here are the simple precautions to take in order to reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19:
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth. If the person is sick, then the droplets contain the virus which can infect you as you breathe in the droplets if you are too close.
- Avoid (DO NOT) touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Why? Touching your eyes, nose and mouth transfers the virus that your hands might have picked from surfaces with droplets. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Follow respiratory hygiene. Make sure that you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene.
How? Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. After use, dispose the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets from sneezing or coughing spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Keep up to date on the latest COVID–19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places-especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
Why? You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas.
Note: These protection measures are for all persons everywhere in the world as outlined by the World Health Organization.
Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently or in the past 14 days visited areas where COVID-19 is spreading
- Follow the guidance outlined above for prevention from catching COVID-19.
- Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache, low grade fever (37.3 C or above) and slight runny nose, until you recover. If it is essential for you to have someone bring you supplies or to go out, e.g. to buy food, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people.
Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
- If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?
Not yet. There is no vaccine and specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019 till date.
However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. World Health Organization is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.
Is it right to wear a mask as protection from COVID-19?
Many people are finding wearing masks as a way of preventing Coronavirus, however is it right. WHO only recommends to wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms –especially coughing.
If you are not ill or taking care of someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. Disposable face masks can only be used once.
The only way of protecting yourself from COVID-19 is by following the precautions as outlined above.
If you have to wear a mask because you are ill or looking after someone who is ill then this is what you have to do;
- Before touching the mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Inspect the mask of tears and holes
- Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is)
- Ensure the colored side of the mask faces outside.
- Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
- Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
- After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
- Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
- Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask.
Note: Only health workers, care takers and individuals with respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough should wear a mask.
What you need to know about traveling during the COVID-19 outbreak
The Coronavirus Disease pandemic has had a significant impact on travel around the globe. The speed at which COVID-19 is unfolding has created an atmosphere of uncertainty for travelers wondering if they should alter their plans. Here is a wrap up on what to know before making tour or safari plans;
Different nations have enacted more stringent travel restrictions or travel bans, and new policies are being implemented daily. Ensure to check out on the latest travel information from a country you intend to visit.
Most commercial airlines have reduced or suspended routes to and from epidemic areas as well as an overall reduction due to fewer travelers in general. New travel restrictions are being introduced daily, so it is advisable to check directly with your carrier before flying.
Many restaurants and attractions around the world have closed to avoid large gatherings.
Travelers returning from affected areas are advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days and follow their country’s national protocols, which may include self-quarantine for the incubation period.
Note: If you had travel plans to any country in the world, ensure to have the latest updates on COVID-19 about the country you want to visit, carrier and guidelines from the country. Changes are made daily depending on the rate of the virus spread and therefore ensure to be up to date.
Is it still Safe to Travel?
As a result of the widespread Coronavirus Pandemic, many countries and regions have set and imposed quarantines (self-isolation), entry bans for visitors from the most affected areas of the pandemic.
During this outbreak is advisable to travel when it is really necessary. If you have no option but travel then ensure to follow the protection procedures provided above.
You can track the spread of COVID-19 in real time using this map from Johns Hopkins University