COVID-19 basic Q&A
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that were discovered in the 1960s but whose origin is still unknown. This virus can cause different type of illnesses, from a cold to a severe respiratory syndrome (a severe form of pneumonia).
Most Coronavirus are not dangerous and can be treated effectively. In fact, most people get a coronavirus at some point in their lives, usually during childhood. Although they are more frequent in autumn or winter, they can be acquired at any time of the year.
No, they are similar but not the same. Both belong to the coronavirus family of viruses but are different. The SARS case fatality rate is higher but less infectious than COVID 19. In fact, since 2003 there have been no SARS outbreaks.
Generally, the main symptoms of coronavirus infections are cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, headache, chills, and general malaise. About 80% of infected people have mild symptoms mainly in young adults and children. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe difficulty breathing, kidney failure, and even death. Complications usually occur in the elderly or with a chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension, or kidney or cardiovascular problems.
The incubation period is the time between infection of the virus and the manifestation of symptoms. Most estimates involving the COVID-19 incubation period range from 1 to 14 days and are generally around 5-6 days.
Generally, from the moment the symptoms begin until recovery. The time will range from two weeks in mild cases and up to 6 weeks in acute or severe cases.
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The most vulnerable population is those over 60 years of age as well as people suffering from previous pathologies such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, immunodeficiency and cancer.
The new coronavirus, COVID-19 is spreading from person to person through “Flügge droplets” which are expelled from the oral and nasal passages when talking, coughing, or sneezing, and that reach distances of 1.5-2 meters. These drops fall directly on people.
- Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections and / or fever and cough.
- Avoid close contact with other people (kisses, hugs, greetings …).
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or with hydroalcoholic gel (containing an alcohol base of> 60%) for at least 20 seconds, especially if there has been any type of contact with other people, or if you have coughed up or sneezed.
- Dry your hands with a single-use paper.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
- Cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing with a disposable tissue, or on the flexed elbow.
- Regularly cleaning those frequently touched objects and surfaces such as knobs, handles, doors, tables, countertops, computers, telephones, etc., use disposable towels or a clean cloth sprayed with cleaning fluid.
- Avoid sharing plates, cutlery, glasses, towels and other objects where you can touch a person’s saliva.
- Maintain a distance of at least one and a half to two meters from other people.
- Use a mask if you need to leave the house for some reason of highest priority.
- Stay home and isolated when you are sick.
People who have any of the following respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, and feeling of shortness of breath) and live or have been in a community or a community transmission area for 14 days where someone is infected or has a possibility of being infected, or have had close contact in the previous 14 days with a person who is a probable or confirmed case, should stay at home and contact the health services of their community.
Yes. Generally, everyone should be tested to confirm that they do not have or have had the disease (as there are asymptomatic cases that are equally contagious as those that are symptomatic).
The technique used to detect the coronavirus is PCR. This method allows a small amount of DNA to be copied millions of times, so that there is enough to be analyzed by the fluorescent light emitted by the sample after adding dyes to it that bind to viral DNA as it is being copied.
Positive test: Indicates that there is sufficient viral load to exceed the fluorescence threshold that the test is positive. The virus is present.
- Negative result: Indicates that there is no virus in the sample obtained, therefore, there is no copied DNA, hence the threshold is not exceeded, and the patient is free of the virus, does not suffer from it.
- False positives or negatives: in some cases, deterioration of the sample or contamination may alter the results.
PCR tests work to detect infection, but do not indicate whether or not someone has passed the disease and has recovered. In this case, rapid tests based on antibody detection would be useful.
A negative result means the person was not infected with COVID-19 at the moment of sample collection. In the early stages of infection, the virus may not be detected. This does not mean that this person can contract the virus in the future and test positive for COVID-19.