Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. A newly identified type has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness now called COVID-19.
Experts believe the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person. There are several ways this can happen:
- Droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, droplets with the virus fly into the air from their nose or mouth. Anyone who is within 6 feet of that person can breathe those droplets into their lungs.
- Airborne transmission. Research shows that the virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours. When you breathe air that has the virus floating in it, it gets into your lungs.
- Surface transmission. Another way to catch the new coronavirus is when you touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on. You may touch a countertop or doorknob that’s contaminated and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. The virus can live on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for 2 to 3 days. To stop it, clean and disinfect all counters, knobs, and other surfaces you and your family touch several times a day.
- Fecal-oral. Studies also suggest that virus particles can be found in infected people’s poop. But experts aren’t sure whether the infection can spread through contact with an infected person’s stool. If that person uses the bathroom and doesn’t wash their hands, they could infect things and people that they touch.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Governments at the local, state and federal level have taken action to ease the financial burden on Americans, with all 50 states declaring emergencies. But measures taken so far pale in comparison to what economists say will be required to stave off the crisis’s worst consequences.
To prepare for a self-quarantine at home during the coronavirus pandemic, you should stock up a 14-day supply of food for every person — and pet — in your household. Focus on dry and canned goods that are easy to prepare.
The US Department of Homeland Security recommends stocking up enough food and water for two weeks before a pandemic strikes.
Dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, and oats should be the foundation of your stockpile, Alyssa Pike, a registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council, recently told Business Insider.
You should also stock up on canned foods that contain liquid, such as tomatoes, beans, and tuna, according to Pike. The excess liquid can be used to cook dried food like rice and pasta. (Make sure you have a can opener.)
And don’t neglect comforting food items like chocolate and coffee, even if they’re not strictly essential. As Business Insider recently reported, such items can make a big difference in your mental health and morale during a home quarantine.
Potential risks include:
- Possible discomfort or other complications that can happen during sample collection.
- Possible incorrect test result (see below for more information).