As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, there are hundreds of questions about COVID-19, which is why we have put together the top 10 most recurring questions on this topic in order to be more informed and take action necessary protection.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are an extensive family of viruses that can cause disease in both animals and humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections that can range from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the most recently discovered infectious disease caused by the coronavirus. Both the new virus and the disease were unknown before the outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may experience pain, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and appear gradually. Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms and are not ill.

How does it spread?

A person can get COVID-19 from contact with someone who is infected with the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through droplets from the nose or mouth that are thrown out when an infected person coughs or exhales. These droplets fall on objects and surfaces around the person, so other people can get COVID-19 if they touch these objects or surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

How long is the COVID-19 incubation period?

The “incubation period” is the time between infection with the virus and the onset of symptoms of the disease. Most estimates for the COVID-19 incubation period range from 1 to 14 days, and are generally around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data becomes available.

How likely are you to die from the virus?

Of the more than 852,276  people who have been infected worldwide, more than 42,000 have died. That’s a death rate of about 4.6%. The WHO has previously estimated the rate at about 3.4%.

The death rate, however, varies widely based on age, health and geographic location. People who are older or who have preexisting conditions are at higher risk of severe illness.

Can someone get the coronavirus more than once?

Scientists aren’t sure yet. For many viruses, including the MERS virus, patients are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover because a protective antibody is generated in those who are infected. But scientists still need to do more research to determine if this is also the case with COVID-19 and how long those antibodies may last.

Is there a vaccine, medicine, or treatment for COVID-19?

To date, there is no specific vaccine or antiviral medication to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected must receive health care to relieve symptoms. People with severe cases of the disease should be hospitalized. Most patients recover with the help of support measures.

Possible vaccines and different specific pharmacological treatments are being investigated. There are ongoing clinical trials to test them. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat COVID-19.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

If the characteristic respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 do not appear (especially cough) or if you do not take care of a person who may have contracted this disease, it is not necessary to wear a clinical mask. Remember that disposable masks can only be used once and also keep in mind that if you are not ill or do not take care of someone who is, you are wasting a mask. The world’s stock of face masks is depleting, and WHO urges that they be used sensibly.

Should I be concerned about COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are generally mild, especially in children and young adults. However, they can also be serious and force about one in five infected to hospitalize. Therefore, it is quite normal to worry about the effects that the COVID-19 outbreak can have on us and our loved ones.

This concern should help us adopt protective measures for ourselves, our loved ones and the communities where we live. The main and most important measure is regular and complete hygiene of the hands and respiratory tract. Second, it is important to stay informed and follow the advice of local health authorities, such as those related to travel, commuting and events where large numbers of people may be concentrated.

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