Why should I bother with social distancing if I'm young and healthy?
Your body is a factory filled with trillions of cells, but viruses use that factory to reproduce and spread themselves. Young or healthy people who host COVID-19 can spread it without knowing it. At current infection rates, an infected person indirectly infects nearly 10,000 others in just a couple months. By reducing contact with other people, we're refusing the virus the ability to spread itself!
Remember, social distancing is not about "being afraid" of COVID-19 or about just protecting yourself. It's about working together to defeat COVID-19 and protect people around you.
Should I be worried about COVID-19?
You shouldn't be worried, you should be aware. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild, even if you catch it, you'll probably get over it like any other disease. However, because it spreads so easily and can be deadly, even if it's not deadly to you, healthy people MUST help fight the virus by practicing social distancing, using good hygiene like regularly washing your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water and respecting quarantines for exposed people (including yourself).
What is the difference between COVID-19 and Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a type of virus, it can cause lots of diseases including the common cold. COVID-19 is the specific disease caused by a new coronavirus which first appeared in humans in late 2019 and is currently spreading around the world. The two have often been used interchangeably, and for the average person, that's fine.
How long does COVID-19 last?
You can be infected with COVID-19 for up to 14 days before showing symptoms, although typically symptoms show within a few days. Once infected, mild symptoms will last for 10-14 days. Symptoms vary from person to person but almost always include a fever and a cough.
However, just because you're feeling better doesn't mean you aren't contagious! If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19, stay in quarantine until your doctor says it's safe for others.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Coronavirus isn't spreading by magic and it isn't airborne. It can live on surfaces like cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on metal or plastic surfaces for 2-3 days. However, the odds of catching it due to brief trips to the grocery store or from your doorknob are quite low if you use good hygiene. Good hygiene includes washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water whenever you enter or exit a public space, not touching your face, eyes, ears or skin with unwashed hands and not directly touching other people (no first-bumping or hand shaking).
Scientists believe COVID-19 spreads mostly through infected droplets that can easily spread during normal conversation, even if someone isn't coughing or sneezing. These droplets can be carried through the air and might be too small to see, but gravity usually pulls them out of the air quickly. This means you're safest with at least six feet between you and other people in public spaces, so avoid cramped restaurants, arcades, public transport and other places whenever possible.
What does "flattening the curve" mean?
"Flattening the curve" means slowing down the rate at which COVID-19 spreads and, as a result, slowing down the rate of severe infections requiring hospitalization. If there's a big spike in cases, hospitals will be overwhelmed and be unable to provide care to all the patients who need it. And that doesn't just mean COVID-19 patients, it also means people who have heart attacks or get in car accidents. The vast majority of us should expect to be exposed to COVID-19, but if we slow down how fast new cases are spread, everyone who needs treatment will actually be able to get it.
Can my pet get COVID-19?
There is one documented case of a dog carrying enough COVID-19 cells to be detectable in a test. However, the dog did not HAVE COVID-19; the virus was just living on him the way it might live on a shelf or a doorknob. It's not a bad idea to avoid letting your pet lick you on the face or mouth, and to wash your hands after petting them or cleaning up their poop, but that's always good advice!
How can I prevent COVID-19?
Social Distancing is the #1 thing you can do to help your community and yourself. Stay home as much as possible, don't panic, chill out and play video games. The world thanks you.
Other behaviors we need are a reduction of person touching (no handshakes for greetings), make sure to always cough into a cloth like your sleeve or a handkerchief, and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water several times a day, especially before and after entering a public space!
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
Do not leave the house. Call a doctor and ask for advice. Remember that medical professionals are very busy right now, and one of the primary threats for COVID-19 is if the number of cases overwhelms medical systems. This means please be patient and kind when dealing with your doctors, it may take a while to talk to somebody, but stay quarantined until a doctor tells you what to do!
What should I do if somebody I know had COVID-19 when I last saw them?
If you know a person has COVID-19, and you were in close contact with them, you should:
Contact your doctor or department of health official for next steps
Continue good, healthy habits (eating balanced meals, staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep)
Close contact means living in the same house, taking care of someone who was sick, being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes, or transferring fluids in some way (kissing, sharing utensils, being coughed on, etc.)
Is there a cure for COVID-19?
No, it's a brand new disease and finding cures or vaccines takes time. That said, most cases resolve themselves in 10-14 days, and for most people COVID-19 is not an existential threat. It can usually be treated at home like any other viral illness. The reasons social distancing is important is to help prevent spread, protect our medical systems and most vulnerable people, not because you personally are in mortal danger.
Is China responsible for COVID-19, or are Chinese people more likely to spread it?
It isn't useful or accurate to blame Chinese people for COVID-19. Novel viruses appear from time to time. As long as life exists, viruses will continue to challenge us. The best way to fight the virus is to stay apart physically and come together metaphorically—everybody is on Team Human! There's no ethnic group that is more likely to have or spread the virus. The best thing you can do is be calm, social distance and practice good hygiene. No other steps are needed!
How often should I disinfect my controller or keyboard?
It's a good idea to clean your controllers and keyboards regularly, anyway. However, if you wash your hands regularly, especially when re-entering the house, and haven't come in contact with a known COVID-19 case, your controller is very unlikely to have, let alone pass along, the virus.
Should I wear a face mask? Do face masks protect me from COVID-19?
You should only consider wearing a face mask if you feel sick, in which case you should not be in public, anyway. If you are sick and sharing a living space with others, a face mask is a good idea. A face mask doesn't protect you from others, it protects others from you by stopping fluids from leaving your mouth and nose and reaching them.
Is this the end of the world?
No. By using social distancing and remaining calm, we'll get through this together. We need to come together to protect the people most at risk in our communities, which means a temporary interruption to normal life.
What if I have to go to work?
Simple hygiene methods are best practice: wash your hands regularly, try to stay 6 feet away from other people, don't touch others, cover your mouth with cloth with you cough (and cough downward), don't touch your face, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands. You should change and wash your clothes when you get home if you've been in close proximity with others for a long time, and always wash your hands before or after entering a public space.
You said not to panic, but I'm starting to panic. This is very scary, what should I do?
Stress and panic comes in many forms, but none of them are good for your health. If you are having trouble with panic, you can call Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517).
Your mental health is as important as your bodily health. If you feel panic or anxiety, the CDC recommends:
Take breaks from the news and social media. The news will still be there in a few hours
Eat, stretch, meditate and exercise like normal.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep, don't let time slip away from you
Just because you aren't going out doesn't mean you aren't having fun. Watch movies, play games, read a book
Make sure you're still connecting with people, just do it from a distance. Call your family, queue pubs with friends, be social