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General Information (FAQs) about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the coronavirus outbreak. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, CO' stands for corona,' VI' for virus,' and D' for disease.  There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a new coronavirus that has not previously been seen. 

Who is at risk for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Currently, those at greatest risk of infection are persons who have had prolonged, unprotected close contact with a patient with symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19.  Close contact is defined by the CDC as (a) being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case, or (b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (such as being coughed or sneezed on).  Similar to the flu, people who are older than 65, or have chronic illnesses or a weak immune system are more vulnerable to be infected by COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Is there a vaccine for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

While there is currently no vaccine available for COVID-19, several are being tested.  At this time, Doctors and APN's can recommend typical remedies for any viral illness: rest, medicine to reduce pain and fever, and fluids to avoid dehydration.  COVID-19 patients with pneumonia may also need oxygen, and a ventilator if breathing trouble worsens.  

How does Coronavirus (COVID-19) compare to the Flu?

It is also important to keep this new infectious threat in proper perspective.  Although this is potentially a serious public health threat that we are watching very closely, we would like to remind everyone about the very active flu season we are currently experiencing in New Jersey and across the region and of the dangers the flu poses to our communities.  Indeed, the flu has already killed far more people in the United States just this season than this novel COVID-19 has killed worldwide.  If you have not received a flu shot, please do so soon.  The more people who are vaccinated against the flu will mean fewer cases of influenza, saving lives.