Coronavirus COVID 19 | FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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Coronavirus COVID 19 – FAQ | Frequently Asked QuestionsAdmin2020-08-03T10:09:34+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions about Corona COVID 19 virus

Questions about coronavirus COVID-19 can be difficult to answer. Therefore I will try to put some of the questions everybody is asking and try to find the best answers.

At the same time I will “filter” the ones that are too vague or unreliable and some of the answers will have the link to the origin.

Off course any suggestions for extra questions are welcome via the form that can be found at the bottom of this page and if you have the answer please give it as well (including the reference from where that answer comes).

TOP QUESTIONS: SYMPTOMS | TREATMENT | SPREADING & TRANSMISSIONFAQ’s (from Governments/official centers) |

5G | Do 5G mobile networks spread COVID-19?Admin2020-04-23T16:01:43+00:00

NO. Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks.COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

COVID-19 is spread through respiratoatry droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

ALCOHOL | Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?Admin2020-04-23T16:00:07+00:00

NO. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

ALCOHOL | Does drinking alcohol protect you against COVID-19?Admin2020-04-23T16:01:02+00:00

NO. It does NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous!

Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems. See the WHO fact sheet about alcohol.

ALLERGIES | How can we differentiate between hay fever/pollen allergy related respiratory symptoms and COVID-19 infection?Admin2020-04-23T16:04:20+00:00

Someone with COVID-19 usually has mild, flu-like symptoms (see above question 1), which are rather common and need to be distinguished from similar symptoms caused by common cold viruses and from allergic symptoms during springtime.

The following table presents a comparison of the most common symptoms of all three conditions according to their reported frequency.

It is good to bear in mind that the definitive diagnosis of COVID-19 is not clinical, but through laboratory testing of a sample from the nose or mouth.

Table: comparison of common symptoms between common cold, hay fever and COVID-19

COVID-19 Coronavirus symptoms comparison flu and hay fever
Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
ANTIBIOTICS | Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?Admin2020-04-23T15:59:41+00:00

NO, antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work against bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

APPS | Digital QR codes and APP’s for life after the pandemic?Admin2020-04-23T16:11:16+00:00

Imagine your daily routine being entirely dependent on a smart phone app. Leaving your home, taking the subway, going to work, entering cafes, restaurants and shopping malls — each move, dictated by the color shown on your screen. Green: you’re free to proceed. Amber or Red: you’re barred from entry.

This has been the reality for hundreds of millions of people in China since midway through the coronavirus crisis and could be happening in many other countries of the world soon.

Some news about this can be found at the following websites:

BATH | Does taking a hot bath prevent the new coronavirus disease?Admin2020-04-23T16:00:25+00:00

NO, taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

CANCER | Is there a guide to Coronavirus for Cancer Patients?Admin2020-07-20T18:52:35+00:00

I have been given this link for a guide to Coronavirus for Cancer Patients. It’s a free health site with quite some information about the subject.

CASH | Can banknotes (cash) spread the coronavirus?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:34+00:00

Though there is not a straight answer like YES or NO it seems the chances of a transmission of the Coronavirus COVID-19 via banknotes (cash) is very small. An interesting article about it is written here with some background information, research and references.

CHILDREN | Are children also at risk of infection and what is their potential role in transmission?Admin2020-05-01T15:11:18+00:00

Children make up a very small proportion of reported COVID-19 cases, with about 1% of all cases reported being under 10 years, and 4% aged 10-19 years. Children appear as likely to be infected as adults, but they have a much lower risk than adults of developing symptoms or severe disease. There is still some uncertainty about the extent to which asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic children transmit disease.

Update: Recently (April 27th) some rare syndrome has been seen in UK children, and the WHO is investigating whether coronavirus causes rare inflammatory disease in some kids. Stay tuned as we will update when we know more.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
CHLOROQUINE | Does chloroquine work against the coronavirus?Admin2020-04-23T16:05:31+00:00

There is no specific treatment available to combat the novel coronavirus. The treatment of severely ill people focuses on treating the symptoms. The doctors can, for example, provide oxygen to patients with breathing difficulties. Experiments are being carried out with various medicines, such as chloroquine, a medicine that is prescribed for malaria. There are some indications that chloroquine helps with the treatment of COVID-19, but this still needs to be scientifically verified (proven).

Chloroquine is not freely available and can only be prescribed by doctors. This substance should not be confused with chloroquine phosphate; this is not a medicine, but a substance used to clean aquariums.

More can be found also about this subject on our (Medical) Research part on this page.

Source: RIVM
COLD WEATHER | Do cold weather and snow kill the new coronavirus?Admin2020-04-23T16:00:48+00:00

NO, there is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

Country Region ENTRY RESTRICTIONS | Where can I travel to?Admin2020-06-01T14:03:16+00:00

Check the latest Country/Regions travel restrictions here

DATA | Where can I find data & graphics about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:02+00:00

You can find all kinds of data, graphics, statistics and projection information on our Research | Data page, however one of the sites where I have found the most (interactive) data and where you are able to select almost any country to see it’s data is on “Our World in Data“, click here to go to their website.

An example of one of their maps/graphic:

DEFINITION | SARS, MERS, COVID-19, Coronavirus and other terms, what do they mean?Admin2020-04-23T16:09:09+00:00

SARS = Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
MERS = Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
COVID-19 = Coronavirus Disease 2019

All 3 are diseases caused by novel respiratory pathogens.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a very diverse family of viruses and have been identified as human pathogens since the 1960’s. Coronaviruses infect humans and many other vertebrates . Illness in humans is mostly respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, however symptoms can range from the common cold to more severe lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia. They have a large host range, which includes humans. However, the greatest amount of coronavirus diversity is seen in bats.

A new type of coronavirus can emerge when an animal coronavirus develops the ability to transmit a disease to humans. When germs are transmitted from an animal to a human, it’s called zoonotic transmission.

Coronaviruses that make the jump to human hosts can cause serious illness. This can be due to a variety of factors, particularly humans’ lack of immunity to the new virus. Here are some examples of such coronaviruses:

  • SARS-CoV, the virus that caused SARS, which was first identified in 2003
  • MERS-CoV, the virus that caused Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which was first identified in 2012
  • SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which was first identified in 2019 and is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus, we refer “falsely” to as Coronavirus

A comparison between the 3 diseases can be found here.

Source: ECDC, Healthline, NIAID
DESINFECTANT | Does injecting a disinfectant or expose to extreme UV light kill the Coronavirus?Admin2020-04-24T13:30:59+00:00

NO NO NO and please don’t try this at home! These are suggestions from a foolish President… and so dangerous.

Maybe those agents kill the virus when OUTSIDE of the body, but if you try it inside the body you will probably end up DEAD. So my answer might be wrong as is kils the virus, but it will kill you too!

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said calls about poisonings with cleaners and disinfectants had increased more than 20% in the first three months of 2020 — as coronavirus cleaning increased — than from the same period a year earlier. Among cleaners, bleaches accounted for the largest percentage increase in calls from 2019 to 2020.
The CDC recommends using soap and water or bleach to kill the virus. Rubbing alcohol that’s at least 70% alcohol will also kill it on surfaces; 60% for your hands.

There are plenty of references for my answer: BBC | CNN | The Guardian | ABC News Australia

DR. FAUCI | Who is Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.?Admin2020-04-23T15:57:46+00:00

Dr. Fauci was appointed Director of NIAID in 1984. He oversees an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies. The NIAID budget for fiscal year 2020 is an estimated $5.9 billion.

Dr. Fauci has advised six Presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.

An interesting video about Dr. Fauci can be found on the website of BRUT Media and on YouTube.

F1 | Coronavirus and F1 (Formula 1 Racing)?Admin2020-04-28T10:36:55+00:00

Find the latest news on the Coronavirus and how it affects Formula 1 here.

The F1 has also setup a page with Questions and Answers about the current season here.

FAQ | Where can I find the FAQ on official (government) sites?Admin2020-08-03T10:22:41+00:00

Here is a list of links to the FAQ on different (official) government sites:

FLU | Is this virus comparable to SARS or to the seasonal flu?Admin2020-04-23T16:08:50+00:00

The novel coronavirus detected in China in 2019 is closely related genetically to the SARS-CoV-1 virus. SARS emerged at the end of 2002 in China, and it caused more than 8 000 cases in 33 countries over a period of eight months. Around one in ten of the people who developed SARS died.

As of 10 April 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak had caused over 1.700.000 cases worldwide since the first case was reported in China in January 2020. Of these, more than 100 000 are known to have died.

While the viruses that cause both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are transmitted from person-to-person and may cause similar symptoms, the two viruses are very different and do not behave in the same way.

ECDC estimates that between 15 000 and 75 000 people die prematurely due to causes associated with seasonal influenza infection each year in the EU, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. This is approximately 1 in every 1 000 people who are infected. Despite the relatively low mortality rate for seasonal influenza, many people die from the disease due to the large number of people who contract it each year. The concern about COVID-19 is that, unlike influenza, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for the disease. It also appears to be more transmissible than seasonal influenza. As it is a new virus, nobody has prior immunity, which means that the entire human population is potentially susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
GOVERNEMENTS | Where can I find the official government pages for COVID-19/Coronavirus of each country?Admin2020-04-23T15:58:20+00:00

These are the links to the official government pages about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

HANDS | Why am I no longer allowed to shake hands?Admin2020-04-23T16:08:11+00:00

Via hands, viruses such as the novel coronavirus spread quickly. Many people also (unconsciously) often touch their nose or mouth with their hands. By not shaking hands anymore, you reduce the chance of getting infected and infecting others with the novel coronavirus.

Source: RIVM
HANDS | Why is it important to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly?Admin2020-04-23T16:07:55+00:00

Viruses spread very easily via our hands. By washing your hands frequently and thoroughly you can reduce the chance of becoming ill, and also reduce the change of infecting others. Soap kills the virus by destroying the lipid layer that houses the virus. That is why washing your hands with soap is so effective.  See here tips for the best way to wash your hands.

Watch a video on how to wash your hands properly

Source: RIVM & ECDC
HOLD BREATH | Does being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease?Admin2020-04-23T16:01:19+00:00

NO. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

IMMUNE | Can I get it again after being recovered from COVID-19?Admin2021-02-09T15:31:05+00:00

This question is still difficult to answer the question and the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that “there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

While US officials have championed the Antibody Test as a way to determine who is immune to the virus, others, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have urged caution as it’s not yet clear what immunity means for this virus.

It seems that it is thus possible, but again very early to have a sure answer.

More info about this can be found at the following sites:

WHO here and here | BBCCNN | US NEWS | FOX News

INFLUENZA | Am I protected against COVID-19 if I had the influenza vaccine this year?Admin2020-04-23T16:06:35+00:00

Influenza and the virus that causes COVID-19 are two very different viruses and the seasonal influenza vaccine will not protect against COVID-19.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
LAB CONSPIRACY | Did the Coronavirus COVID-19 “escape” from a lab? Was it created by humans?Admin2020-04-23T15:59:16+00:00

NO. The coronavirus was not created by humans. Here’s how we know.

A group of researchers compared the genome of this novel coronavirus with the seven other coronaviruses known to infect humans: SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2, which can cause severe disease; along with HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E, which typically cause just mild symptoms, the researchers wrote March 17 in the journal Nature Medicine. More info can be found here.

A very interesting view about the virus and from where it originates and how it spreads and other viruses is given by Dr. Daszak, President of Eco Health Alliance, on the (I admit biased) website of Democracy Now. The video is available on YouTube here.

Could it have accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan? We don’t know yet, but it is one of the very remote possibilities as accidents happen. Research was being done in a Lab near the fish market in Wuhan, but there is no proof at this moment that it is the case. Some information at these news sites AlJazeera and FoxNews.

MASKS | Does wearing a mask lower oxygen or increase carbon dioxide levels in the blood?Admin2020-07-21T13:18:44+00:00

There have been a number of erroneous social media posts claiming that wearing masks lowers oxygen and increases carbon dioxide levels in the blood. In fact, all masks provide adequate airflow, just like oxygen can get in, carbon dioxide can safely get out.

See more information on the website of the BBC, FORBES, the LA Times, MayoClinic, van Der Bilt University, Healthline.com and there are many more reports.

MASKS | Will wearing a face mask protect me against COVID-19?Admin2020-04-23T16:04:56+00:00

If you are infected, the use of surgical face masks may reduce the risk of you infecting other people. On the other hand there is no evidence that face masks will effectively prevent you from becoming infected with the virus. In fact, it is possible that the use of face masks may even increase the risk of infection due to a false sense of security and increased contact between hands, mouth and eyes while wearing them. The inappropriate use of masks also may increase the risk of infection.

In many countries, face masks are only advised for medical personnel. People who work with (possibly) infected people use professional face masks. These face masks only help if they are used correctly; they must fit closely over the nose and mouth and they must be changed regularly. The simple (paper) face masks that most people use do not protect the wearer against the virus.

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Information from the CDC in the USA: In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms. Some more FAQ from the CDC is given here.

Source: ECDC, RIVM & CDC
MEDICATION | Does paracetamol, ibuprofen or other medicine help against the novel coronavirus?Admin2020-04-23T16:05:17+00:00

There is (as yet) no medication available to combat the novel coronavirus. Paracetamol and ibuprofen will not cure the virus, but can help to reduce complaints, such as fever, sore throat and malaise. There is no proof that the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen (or diclofenac or naproxen, so-called NSAIDs) will make the illness caused by the virus worse.  The preferred choice is paracetamol, because it has the fewest side-effects.

Source: RIVM
ORIGIN | Where do coronaviruses come from?Admin2020-04-23T16:09:00+00:00

Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals with some of them also known to infect humans.

Bats are considered natural hosts of these viruses yet several other species of animals are also known to act as sources. For instance, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is transmitted to humans from camels, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) is transmitted to humans from civet cats. More information on coronaviruses can be found in the ECDC factsheet.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
PREVENTION | How can I avoid getting infected?Admin2020-04-23T16:08:04+00:00

The virus enters your body via your eyes, nose and/or mouth, so it is important to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or cleaning hands thoroughly with alcohol-based solutions, gels or tissues is recommended in all settings. It is also recommended to stay one metre fifty or more away from people infected with COVID-19 who are showing symptoms, to reduce the risk of infection through respiratory droplets.

Watch a video on how to wash your hands properly

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
RISKS | Are some people more at risk than others?Admin2020-04-23T16:05:46+00:00

Elderly people above 70 years of age and those with underlying health conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) are considered to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. Men in these groups also appear to be at a slightly higher risk than females.

  • People of 70 years and older and those with underlying health conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) are considered to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. This includes people (18 years and older) with the following health problems:
  • Abnormalities and disfunctions of the respiratory tract and lungs;
  • Chronic heart conditions;
  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • Severe kidney conditions requiring dialysis or kidney transplant;
  • Reduced resistance to infections:
    • Through medication for auto-immune diseases,
    • After organ transplant
    • haematological diseases (blood diseases)
    • In the case of congenital immune disorders, or those developed later, for which treatment is necessary
    • In the case of chemotherapy and /or radiation in cancer patients;
    • An untreated HIV-infection or an HIV-infection with a CD4-number lower than 200/mm3.

To have an idea of the case fatality rate of COVID-19 by age, look here. or if you want more information by preexisting health conditions, look here.

Source: ECDC, RIVM & All of Our World in Data
RISKS | Can the coronavirus | COVID-19 cause blood clots?Admin2020-04-26T10:33:14+00:00

Well it seems there are some cases where this happens, even to the younger ones. It is too early to confirm but the future will tell us as for many questions and answers about this Coronavirus COVID-19. Read some more articles on the following news sites:

Independant | Business Insider | The Washington Post

RISKS | What do we know about the risk of dying from COVID-19?Admin2020-04-23T15:58:52+00:00

It is a straightforward question that most people would like answered. If someone is infected with COVID-19, how likely is that person to die?

This question is simple, but surprisingly hard to answer.

For a complete analysis about this question and all the answers take a look at this website and graphics.

SARS, MERS, COVID-19, Coronavirus and other terms, what do they mean?Admin2020-04-23T16:09:18+00:00

SARS = Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
MERS = Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
COVID-19 = Coronavirus Disease 2019

All 3 are diseases caused by novel respiratory pathogens.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a very diverse family of viruses and have been identified as human pathogens since the 1960’s. Coronaviruses infect humans and many other vertebrates . Illness in humans is mostly respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, however symptoms can range from the common cold to more severe lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia. They have a large host range, which includes humans. However, the greatest amount of coronavirus diversity is seen in bats.

A new type of coronavirus can emerge when an animal coronavirus develops the ability to transmit a disease to humans. When germs are transmitted from an animal to a human, it’s called zoonotic transmission.

Coronaviruses that make the jump to human hosts can cause serious illness. This can be due to a variety of factors, particularly humans’ lack of immunity to the new virus. Here are some examples of such coronaviruses:

  • SARS-CoV, the virus that caused SARS, which was first identified in 2003
  • MERS-CoV, the virus that caused Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which was first identified in 2012
  • SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which was first identified in 2019 and is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus, we refer “falsely” to as Coronavirus

A comparison between the 3 diseases can be found here.

Source: ECDC, Healthline, NIAID
SOCIAL DISTANCING | What is physical (social) distancing and why and how should I do it?Admin2020-04-23T16:07:29+00:00

Physical distancing aims to reduce physical contact between potentially infected people and healthy people, or between population groups with high rates of transmission and others with low or no level of transmission. The objective of this is to decrease or interrupt the spread of COVID-19. Minimizing contact with each other means also the virus will spread more slowly.  Consequently, few people become infected and healthcare institutions don’t become overwhelmed.

Note that the term ‘physical distancing’ means the same thing as the widely used term ‘social distancing’, but it more accurately describes what is intended, namely that people keep physically apart. Physical distancing measures might be implemented over an extended period and their success depends on ensuring that people maintain social contact – from a distance – with friends, family and colleagues. Internet-based communications and the phone are therefore key tools for ensuring a successful physical distancing strategy.

On a personal level, you can perform physical distancing measures by:

  • Voluntarily self-isolating if you know you have the virus that causes COVID-19, or if you have suggestive respiratory symptoms, or if you belong to a high-risk group (i.e. you are aged 70 years or more, or you have an underlying health condition).

Many countries in the EU/EEA and the UK have installed quarantine and social/physical distancing as measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.

These measures can include:

  • The full or partial closure of educational institutions and workplaces;
  • Limiting the number of visitors and limiting the contact between the residents of confined settings, such as long-term care facilities and prisons;
  • Cancellation, prohibition and restriction of mass gatherings and smaller meetings;
  • Mandatory quarantine of buildings or residential areas;
  • Internal or external border closures;
  • Stay-at-home restrictions for entire regions or countries.
Source: ECDC & RIVM
SPREADING | How long does the Coronavirus survive on surfaces?Admin2020-04-26T14:16:08+00:00

Though a definite and clear answer can not yet be given, there are some results of studies and I have found the following answers.

  • Plastic and stainless steel: 72 hours | Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel
  • on copper: less than 4 hours
  • on cardboard: less than 24 hours

The most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that they can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus.

As, always clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Source: WHO, BBC, NIH, ECDC
SPREADING | What can I do to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus?Admin2020-04-27T22:40:55+00:00
  • Stay at home as much as possible
    • Limit visitors to your home whenever possible (maximal 3 visitors)
    • Keep 1.5 meters distance from each other
  • Only go outside if it is really necessary
    • For work, if you are unable to work from home, for grocery shopping, for fresh air, or to do an errand for someone else.
  • Do not visit people over 70 years of age or people with vulnerable health
    • Certainly never visit if you have any cold or flu symptoms
  • If you go outside, keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people (with the exception of members of your household and children of 12 years and under.
  • Groups consisting of more than 2 people who do not adhere to the 1.5 meter distance rule could receive a fine.
  • Ensure good hygiene practice
    • Wash your hands
      • For 20 seconds with water and soap, and dry them thoroughly
      • Before you leave home, when you return home, when you have blown your nose, and, of course, before eating and after going to the toilet.
    • Cough and sneeze into the inside of your elbow
    • Use paper tissues to blow your nose and throw these away immediately
    • Wash your hands afterwards
    • Do not shake hands
    • Keep 1.5 meters distance (2 arm lengths) from others to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through respiratory droplets.
      • This applies to everyone; for example; in the street, in shops, with colleagues, except at home within the family group or household.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home. If you develop any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, you should immediately call your healthcare provider for advice.

See other FAQ in the Spreading | Prevention category via this link.

Source: RIVM, ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
SPREADING | What is the mode of transmission? How (easily) does it spread?Admin2020-04-23T16:08:34+00:00

We still don’t fully understand how the new coronavirus spreads, but we’re learning more every day.

While animals are believed to be the original source, the virus spread is now from person to person (human-to-human transmission). There is not enough epidemiological information at this time to determine how easily this virus spreads between people, but it is currently estimated that, on average, one infected person will infect between two and three other people.

The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via small respiratory droplets through sneezing, coughing, or when people interact with each other for some time in close proximity (usually less than one metre). These droplets can then be inhaled, or they can land on surfaces that others may come into contact with, who can then get infected when they touch their nose, mouth or eyes. The virus can survive on different surfaces from several hours (copper, cardboard) up to a few days (plastic and stainless steel). However, the amount of viable virus declines over time and may not always be present in sufficient numbers to cause infection.

The incubation period for COVID-19 (i.e. the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated to bet between one and 14 days.

We know that the virus can be transmitted when people who are infected show symptoms such as coughing. There is also some evidence suggesting that transmission can occur from a person that is infected even two days before showing symptoms; however, uncertainties remain about the effect of transmission by  non-symptomatic persons.

If you want more in-depth information the an interesting article about how are people being infected with COVID-19 can be found on the website of livescience.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
SUN | Does Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?Admin2020-04-23T16:01:33+00:00

NO. You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19. To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

SYMPTOMS | What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infectionAdmin2020-04-27T15:48:41+00:00

Symptoms of COVID-19 vary in severity and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • no symptoms at all (being asymptomatic)
  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • general weakness
  • fatigue
  • muscular pain
  • new loss of taste or smell (Anosmia/Hyposmia, in some cases in the absence of any other symptoms)
  • chills and/or repeated shaking with chills
  • severe pneumonia (in the most severe cases)
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • sepsis and septic shock

All potentially leading to death. Reports show that clinical deterioration can occur rapidly, often during the second week of disease.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), CDC
TESTING | How (un)reliable are Coronavirus antibody (home) testing kits?Admin2021-02-09T15:24:33+00:00

Update (February 2021): For more information about the different ways of testing and the reliability have a look here.

Old: For now (April 15th) these tests seems highly unreliable and should not be used as a reliable indication if you have had the Coronavirus COVID-19 and/or are immune to it. Take a look at these (news) sites with information about it.

TESTING | The importance of testing and why is it needed?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:20+00:00

Not everyone needs to be tested says the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help in making decisions about seeking care or testing.

  • Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home.
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus.
  • Testing results may be helpful to inform decision-making about who you come in contact with.

A very good explanation of testing is provided here, it shows that testing is important especially for the future and to know all the details about this pandemic and future treatments and precautions.

A specific graphic about the “Total tests for COVID-19 per 1,000 people” for India, Italy, South Korea, Turkey, the USA, France, The Netherlands and the UK to show the amount of tests performed

TESTING | What coronavirus tests are there and what are the differences?Admin2021-02-09T15:26:12+00:00

Here you can find out about the different ways of testing done at this moment as well as their reliability.

  • The tests currently being used in hospitals and other facilities are to see if somebody currently has COVID-19.
    • These are done by taking a swab of the nose or throat, which is sent off to a lab to look for signs of the virus’s genetic material.
  • The other type of test governments & people wants to use is an antibody test. These are done to see if someone has already had the virus.
    • They work by looking for signs of immunity, by using a drop of blood on a device, a bit like a pregnancy test. These tests are yet (April 15th) still very unreliable.

Differences in Coronavirus COVID-19 testing

image from the BBC.

TRAVEL | How about Travel?Admin2020-04-23T16:09:47+00:00

If you must travel, take the following steps to help reduce your chances of getting sick:

  • Avoid contact with sick people, in particular those with respiratory symptoms and fever.
  • It should be emphasised that older people and those with underlying health conditions should take these precautionary measures very seriously.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Travellers who develop any symptoms during or after travel should self-isolate; those developing acute respiratory symptoms within 14 days upon return should be advised to seek immediate medical advice, ideally by phone first to their national healthcare provider.
Source: CDC & ECDC
TRAVEL | What is the risk of infection when travelling by plane?Admin2020-04-23T16:11:24+00:00

The risk of being infected on an airplane cannot be excluded, but is currently considered to be low for an individual traveller. The risk of being infected in an airport is similar to that of any other place where many people gather. If it is established that a COVID-19 case has been on an airplane, other passengers who were at risk (as defined by how near they were seated to the infected passenger) will be contacted by public health authorities. Should you have questions about a flight you have taken, please contact your local health authority for advice.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recommended measures to be taken by national authorities, such as thorough disinfecting and cleaning of aircraft after each flight serving high-risk destinations. EASA also recommended that airlines operating on all routes step up the frequency of cleaning, disinfect as a preventative measure and ensure full disinfection of any aircraft which has carried a passenger who was suspected or confirmed as being infected with COVID-19. Airport operators should similarly disinfect terminals regularly.

Because of how air circulates and is filtered (HEPA) on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Source: ECDC & CDC
TRAVEL | What travel restriction are applicable for the USA?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:59+00:00

Very helpful and complete information about travel to/in and within the USA can be found on the website of the CDC via this link including advices on what to do or not do when travelling.

The US Department of State gives some general information here for the whole USA and here you will find most of the FAQ about travel in/to and within the USA.

For travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in Europe, Canada or the rest of the world, see our specific FAQ about EuropeCanada or the rest of the world

TRAVEL | What Travel restrictions are in place for Canada?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:45+00:00

Travel advice from the Government of Canada can be found here and more specifically for the pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice, which can be found here.

They also have a similar page as the United Kingdom (UK) about travel to the rest of the world.

For specific travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in the USA, the rest of the world or the Europe, see our specific FAQ about the USA, the rest of the world or Europe

TRAVEL | What Travel restrictions are in place for the rest of the World?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:52+00:00

Difficult to give all the answers here but some links to useful sites.

  • Travel advice from the United Kingdom (UK) government for specific countries also showing relevant information about COVID-19 can be found here
  • Travel recommendations by Country from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) can be found here.
  • World travel restrictions and advice on a country by country base given by the Canadian Government can be found here.

For specific travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in the USA, Canada or the Europe, see our specific FAQ about the USACanada or Europe

TRAVEL | What travel restrictions are in place in Europe?Admin2020-04-23T16:03:06+00:00

Some information and links to specific countries on travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus from/to and within Europe can be found on the website of the European Commission.

If you want to check what specific restrictions are in place in specific countries of the EU then click here. You can then select a mode of transportation and a specific category, BUT to view ALL restrictions for the specific country just click on the country without using any of the filters mentioned above.

For travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in the USA, Canada or the rest of the world, see our specific FAQ about the USACanada or the rest of the world.

TREATMENT | Is there a treatment for the Coronavirus COVID-19 disease?Admin2021-02-09T15:38:59+00:00

There is no specific approved treatment for this disease, Vaccines are being developed, available and given.

Healthcare providers are mostly using a symptomatic approach, meaning they treat the symptoms rather than target the virus, and provide supportive care (e.g. oxygen therapy, fluid management) for infected persons, which can be highly effective.

In severe and critically ill patients, a number of drugs are being tried to target the virus, but the use of these need to be more carefully assessed in randomised controlled trials. Several clinical trials are ongoing to assess their effectiveness but results are not yet available.

As this is a new virus, only few and small quantities of the vaccine will initially be available. Although work on a vaccine is still ongoing by several research groups and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, as mutations develop this is an ongoing exercise.

See also our question about if there is a vaccine against the coronavirus or how long it takes to develop a vaccine?

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
VACCINE | How long will it take to develop a vaccine?Admin2021-02-09T15:34:30+00:00

Currently several vaccines have been developed or are being developed. (see below for more info on how long it takes for a vaccine to be developed)

Current information about Vaccines can be found here.

Info: The development of vaccines take time. Several pharmaceutical companies and research laboratories are working on vaccine candidates. It will, however, take months or years before any vaccine can be widely used, as it needs to undergo extensive testing in clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy.  These clinical trials are an essential precursor to regulatory approval and usually take place in three phases. The first, involving a few dozen healthy volunteers, tests the vaccine for safety, monitoring for adverse effects. The second, involving several hundred people, usually in a part of the world badly affected by the disease, looks at how effective the vaccine is in the field, and the third does the same in several thousand people.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
VACCINE | Is there a vaccine against the virus?Admin2021-02-09T15:35:50+00:00

Yes! Currently several vaccines have been developed or are being developed.

Current information about Vaccines can be found here.

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