Here at Verv, the Coronavirus has been a hot topic of discussion among our staff and users. Everyone is understandably concerned about what it means for them and their loved ones. Your health matters to us, and that includes your mental health and physical well-being.

That’s why, to help dispel the myths around Coronavirus and ensure that our users are informed, we’ve created this Q&A article on COVID-19.

Note. This information is accurate as of 03.12.2020

What is the Coronavirus?

It’s topping the Google lists of most-searched-for terms, but many people are still unclear as to what is a coronavirus.

So, let’s keep it simple.

A coronavirus is a group of viruses that when seen under the microscope appear to have a crown-like structure, giving it its name – corona. They are known to cause a variety of illnesses from the common seasonal cold to more severe infections, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

That said, the type of coronavirus that’s been hitting the headlines recently is a specific type or coronavirus. It’s called COVID-19.

It first appeared in Wuhan, China is December 2019 and has since been spreading across the world with WHO recently classifying it as a pandemic.

Does that mean the coronavirus is no worse than the common cold?

sick girl

No. Although for most people symptoms will be mild, similar to that of a common cold, approximately 1 in 5 people who catch it will need hospital treatment.

For those with a low immune system, the elderly, or those with a long-term condition, COVID-19 can be fatal. That’s why it’s important even if you’re healthy and might only get a small dose to protect those around you.

On the other end of the scale, it’s not like SARS either. Although they are the same family of viruses, the effects they have are quite different. In addition, SARS is more deadly, while coronavirus is much more infectious.

What are the symptoms to watch out for?

Knowing what are the symptoms of novel coronavirus means you can understand early if you’ve caught the virus and take measures to get yourself well and prevent the spread to others.

Here’s the 1, 2, 3 of what you need to look out for:

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath

If you have any of these, especially if they are combined, contact your doctor or local health facility for further advice.

Symptoms usually appear between 2-14 days after exposure, with 5 days being the average. 

How can I tell if it’s coronavirus or the cold or flu?

You can’t! The only way to know for sure is to get tested and have it confirmed by a medical professional. If you are concerned, this is definitely a path you should take.

That said, here are some of the key differences between COVID-19, the cold, and the flu, according to the Health Service Executive.

Fever

  • COVID-19 – common
  • Cold – uncommon
  • Flu – common

Cough

  • COVID-19 – common
  • Cold – mild
  • Flu – common

Sore throat

  • COVID-19 – occasionally
  • Cold – common
  • Flu – occasionally

Headache

  • COVID-19 – occasionally
  • Cold – rare
  • Flu – common

Trouble breathing

  • COVID-19 – sometimes
  • Cold – not common
  • Flu – not common

Runny nose

  • COVID-19 – uncommon
  • Cold – common
  • Flu – occasionally

Sneezing

  • COVID-19 – uncommon
  • Cold – common
  • Flu – not common

Fatigue 

  • COVID-19 – common
  • Cold – mild
  • Flu – common

Should I be worried about the Coronavirus?

While worrying is not going to help anyone, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautions to protect yourself, your loved ones and those around you. In times of a pandemic, we all have an obligation to society to help prevent the spread of illness and protect the most vulnerable.

According to WHO, 80% of people who get coronavirus will have a mild case, for the other 20% it will be more serious and it is this group of people we should focus on protecting.

Who is at risk from COVID-19?

Almost every person on the planet is at risk of getting coronavirus as there is no vaccine, herd immunity or natural protection. But, don’t panic just yet.

As of the date of writing, 125,048 cases have been confirmed with 4,613 deaths in total. This means that based on reported cases (it is presumed many are not reported), COVID-19 carries a death risk rate of approximately 3.7%; 3.4% as reported by WHO on 3rd March.

Here’s how COVID-19 death risk rate looks in comparison with other viruses:

  • Seasonal flu: 0.1%
  • 1918 flu pandemic: 2%
  • SARS: 9.6%
  • MERS: 34%
  • Swine Flu (H1N1): 0.02%

What’s important to remember is that most cases of COVID-19 are mild and the majority of people will recover, many without even contacting their local medical authorities. So, we are not seeing the final or most accurate statistics for COVID-19 just yet.

But, which groups of people are most at risk of COVID-19?

Statistics show that the following groups are most at risk:

  • Those with compromised immune systems, including immune disorders, taking anti-rejection medication, etc.
  • Experiencing long-term health conditions, including health disease, lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
  • The risk of death increases with age with the 60-69 (1.4%), 70-79 (4.83%), and 80+ (8.23%) being the most vulnerable.

Even if you are not in one of these risk groups, keeping the spread of the virus down is essential as every human life matters.

Coronavirus – how is it spread?

corona world

As COVID-19 is so new, we don’t know everything yet about how it spreads and how it infects.

The latest research suggests that Coronavirus spreads so easily due to a protein on its surface that rapidly infects human cells.

Here’s what we know so far.

  • Coronavirus spreads person to person
  • It is transferred via respiratory droplets – coughs, sneezes, breathing
  • Being within 1 meter (3 feet) of an infected person puts you at risk
  • You can contract COVID-19 from touching an object that has Coronavirus on it. But the virus is unlikely to survive long on surfaces

Can I exercise if I’m feeling sick?

If you’re feeling unwell, whether you think it’s Coronavirus or not, it’s best to take a break to help you recover. In our article on exercising when ill, we’ve compiled some useful advice that will help you decide when it’s best to work out and when it’s best to let exercise take a back seat and focus on getting well again.

How can I protect myself against Coronavirus and prevent it from spreading?

Watch this helpful clip from the WHO to learn more about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself against it:

1. Keep clean

Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly! Use an alcohol-based rub or use warm water and soap. Be sure to wash your hands for more than 20 seconds and pay close attention to areas you may miss.

wash ur hands

2. Stay home if you feel unwell

Now is the best time to take a sick day. If you’re worried about your symptoms, or fever, cough and difficulty breathing, now is not the time to head to the office. Instead, stay home and give your doctor a call.

3. Stop touching your face

It’s tough, but try to keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and ears. Your hands can easily pick up bacteria and viruses without your realizing it, so stay on the safe side and be careful.

4. Stay away from coughs and sneezes

You’ve heard coughs and sneezes spread diseases, now’s the time to put that in action. Try to avoid being in close contact with anyone showing symptoms, stay at least 1 meter or 3 feet away where possible.

5. Follow good respiratory hygiene etiquette

Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow if you think you’re going to cough or sneeze and get your family to do the same. Avoid coughing into your hands as this can be easily transferred.

Along with these smart tips, it’s best to stay up to date on the latest advice for Coronavirus from a reputable source – we recommend WHO. Reading unfounded information from non-reputable sources can leave you overly worried, which is bad for your health. Stay safe and don’t panic.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19?

1. Self-isolate

Stay away from others, especially those most at risk. This is the best action you can take to avoid the spread of the virus. Avoid work, school, or travel if you are feeling unwell. It can wait for another day.

2. Follow the protection methods above

Don’t neglect the five rules above if you’re sick, they’re even more important. You may also consider wearing a mask when around others to prevent the spread of any virus. Remember: if you are well, it’s unlikely a mask will help prevent Coronavirus.

3. If in need, contact your local medical authorities

If you have a fever, serious cough, and especially if you have recently returned from an area infected by COVID-19, get in touch with your local medical authorities. They will tell you what steps to take next.

We, at Verv, wish you good health. Keep healthy and focus on you, your loved ones and the world around us. Stay safe.

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Written by Verv Experts
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