On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. With many aspects of the disease still unclear, medical organizations around the world have developed and compiled information to address immediate questions pertaining to the disease.
What is the COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the specific name given to the new strain of Coronavirus that is responsible for the pandemic.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that are responsible for illnesses like the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19, like other coronaviruses, is believed to spread via respiratory droplets when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes. The reason for this is elaborated by Albion College biology professor Dr. Ola Olapade, who has his doctorate in microbial ecology
“This specific virus prefers spaces in the upper respiratory tract,” said Olapade. “This makes it easier for the disease to spread through coughing and sneezing.”
Cases of COVID-19 in the United States
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the total number of those infected with COVID-19 is at 1629, with 138 of those cases being travel related, 129 of those cases resulting from close proximity to other COVID-19 carriers and 1362 where the cause of infection is still under investigation.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services cites 33 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan right now.
The Mayo Clinic compiled this list of steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren’t clean.Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch.Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick.
The CDC doesn’t recommend the use of a face mask for those who aren’t sick.