Frequently Asked Questions on novel coronavirus ?

 | Post date: 2020/12/23 | 

1- Who is most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?
People aged 60 years and over, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity or cancer, are at higher risk of developing serious illness. However, anyone can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die at any age. 

2- Are there long-term effects of COVID-19?
Some people who have had COVID-19, whether they have needed hospitalization or not, continue to experience symptoms, including fatigue, respiratory and neurological symptoms. 

3- How can we protect others and ourselves if we don't know who is infected?
Stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, especially when distancing cannot be maintained, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds and close contact, regularly cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Check local advice where you live and work. Do it all!

4- I want to find out if I had COVID-19 in the past, what test could I take?
Antibody tests can tell us whether someone has had an infection in the past, even if they have not had symptoms. Also known as serological tests and usually done on a blood sample, these tests detect antibodies produced in response to an infection. In most people, antibodies start to develop after days to weeks and can indicate if a person has had past infection. Antibody tests cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19 in the early stages of infection or disease but can indicate whether or not someone has had the disease in the past.

5- Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
Yes. There are three COVID-19 vaccines for which certain national regulatory authorities have authorized the use. None have yet received WHO EUL/PQ authorization but we expect an assessment on the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December and for some other candidates soon thereafter. 
Large studies of 5 vaccine candidates efficacy and safety results, including these three (and for Moderna and AstraZeneca), have been publicly reported  through press releases but only one (AstraZeneca) has published results in the peer reviewed literature. We expect more such reports in the near future. It is likely that additional candidates will be submitted to regulatory authorities for approval. There are many potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates currently in development.
Once vaccines are demonstrated to be safe and efficacious, they must be approved by national regulators, manufactured to exacting standards, and distributed. WHO is working with partners around the world to help coordinate key steps in this process, including to facilitate equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the billions of people who will need them. More information about COVID-19 vaccine development is available here.

6- What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
If you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, call your health care provider or COVID-19 hotline for instructions and find out when and where to get a test, stay at home for 14 days away from others and monitor your health.
If you have shortness of breath or pain or pressure in the chest, seek medical attention at a health facility immediately. Call your health care provider or hotline in advance for direction to the right health facility.
If you live in an area with malaria or dengue fever, seek medical care if you have a fever.
If local guidance recommends visiting a medical centre for testing, assessment or isolation, wear a medical mask while travelling to and from the facility and during medical care. Also keep at least a 1-metre distance from other people and avoid touching surfaces with your hands. This applies to adults and children.

7- Are there treatments for COVID-19?
Scientists around the world are working to find and develop treatments for COVID-19.
Optimal supportive care includes oxygen for severely ill patients and those who are at risk for severe disease and more advanced respiratory support such as ventilation for patients who are critically ill.
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that can help reduce the length of time on a ventilator and save lives of patients with severe and critical illness. Read our dexamethasone Q&A for more information.  
Results from the WHO’s Solidarity Trial indicated that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens appear to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients.
Hydroxychloroquine has not been shown to offer any benefit for treatment of COVID-19. Read our hydroxychloroquine Q&A for more information.
WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop treatments for COVID-19 and will continue to provide new information as it becomes available.

7- Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating COVID-19?
Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
In hospitals, physicians will sometimes use antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections which can be a complication of COVID-19 in severely ill patients. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.

8- How can food businesses remain safe from virus contamination?
The main priority is to keep the virus out of the food environment. Several key measures are required including upgrading of cleaning and sanitation measures, disinfecting surfaces and high-touch points, educating staff on the virus and how to protect themselves and others, reinforcing protocols such as physical distancing, hand washing, and improved security with people staying in their vehicles/sanitizing hands when handing out documents and other material.

9- Are there alternatives to fabric masks such as face shields?
In the context of COVID-19, some children may not be able to wear a mask due to disabilities or specific situations such as speech classes where the teacher needs to see their mouths. In these cases, face shields may be considered an alternative to masks, but they do not provide the equivalent protection in keeping the virus from being transmitted to others.
If a decision is made to use a face shield, it should cover the entire face, wrap around the sides of the face and extend to below the chin. Caution should be taken while wearing one to avoid injuries that could break it and harm the eyes or face. 

10- How should children wear a mask?
Children should follow the same principles as adults for wearing masks. This includes cleaning hands at least 20 seconds if using an alcohol-based hand rub, or at least 40 seconds if using soap and water, before putting on the mask. Make sure the mask is the right size to cover the nose, mouth and chin.  Children should be taught how to wear the mask properly, including not touching the front of the mask and not pulling it under the chin or into their mouth. They should store the mask in a bag or container, and not share the mask with others.

11- Should teachers or other adults working with children wear a mask?
In areas where there is widespread transmission, all adults under the age of 60 and who are in general good health should wear fabric masks when they cannot guarantee at least a 1-metre distance from others. This is particularly important for adults working with children who may have close contact with children and one another.
Adults aged 60 or over, or who have any underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung cancer, should wear a medical mask because of their higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

12- Are pregnant women at higher risk from COVID-19?
Pregnant women or recently pregnant women who are  older, overweight, and have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes seem to have an increased  risk of developing severe COVID-19. When pregnant women develop severe disease, they also seem to more often require care in intensive care units than non-pregnant women of reproductive age.
Due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty in breathing) to their healthcare provider.

13- I’m pregnant. How can I protect myself against COVID-19?
Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people. You can help protect yourself by:
Washing your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Keeping space between yourself and others and avoiding crowded spaces. Wear a non-medical, fabric  mask where it is not possible to keep sufficient physical distance between yourself and others.Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Practicing respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call before going to a health facility, and follow the directions of your local health authority.
Pregnant women and women who have recently delivered should attend their routine care appointments, according to local policies and following adapted measures to reduce possible transmission of the virus. 

14- Can I touch and hold my newborn baby if I have COVID-19?
Yes. Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to thrive. You should be supported to
14-1- Breastfeed safely, with good respiratory hygiene;
14-2- Hold your newborn skin-to-skin, and
14-3- Share a room with your baby
You should wash your hands before and after touching your baby, and keep all surfaces clean. Mothers with symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to wear a medical mask, during any contact with the baby.

15- As a smoker, is my risk of getting the COVID-19 virus higher than that of a non-smoker?
At the time of preparing this Q&A, there are no peer-reviewed studies that have evaluated the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with smoking. However, tobacco smokers (cigarettes, waterpipes, bidis, cigars, heated tobacco products) may be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as the act of smoking involves contact of fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) with the lips, which increases the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth. Smoking waterpipes, also known as shisha or hookah, often involves the sharing of mouth pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in communal and social settings.

16- I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, is it safer to give my baby infant formula milk?
No. There are always risks associated with giving infant formula milk to newborns and infants in all settings. The risks associated with giving infant formula milk are increased whenever home and community conditions are compromised, such as reduced access to health services if a baby becomes unwell, reduced access to clean water and/or access to supplies of infant formula milk are difficult or not guaranteed, affordable and sustainable.
The numerous benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of transmission and illness associated with the COVID-19 virus. 


For more information about Corona Virus, you can visit World Health Organization (WHO) at who.int and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at cdc.gov .

 

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References :

World Health Organization (WHO), December 2020, (Access Link Online).
Prepared and arranged by Amirhossein Chehrehara 




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