- What you need to know about Covid-19
- The spread of the disease occurs mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
- Apart from being directly infected by the droplets, healthy person can also be infected when the
- virus settles on surfaces from where it can transfer to their hands and infect them when they touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Symptoms of the disease are a sore throat, slight fever, fatigue, headache, tiredness and a dry cough.
- Any person of any age can be infected by the disease, but older people are more likely to develop severe illnesses.
- The disease is more likely to be severe and even fatal for the following:
- Persons over the age of 80 (although it should be noted that the severity increase with age,
starting with those over the age of 60);
- Persons with compromised immune systems (due to for instance HIV/AIDS and cancer); and
- Persons with comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease (10.5% mortality), diabetes (7.3%
- mortality), chronic respiratory disease (6.3% mortality) and hypertension (6% mortality).
- Healthy, fit individuals are more likely to develop only mild symptoms and to recover quickly.
- The virus is denatured by strong sunlight, soap and water, and most disinfectants.
- On surfaces, the virus can survive for up to 24 hours if left untouched and unsanitised, although
- there is some indication that the virus may remain active for up to 5 days on hard, shiny surfaces, fabrics and paper.
The transmission of the disease can be prevented by:
- Washing hands regularly with soap or using an appropriate hand sanitiser
- (Please note that ordinary soap works well enough as long as hands are washed for long
enough (more than 20 seconds), and that anti-bacterial hand wash soap is no more effective
against viral contamination. Washing hands properly and for long enough with soap and water is also more effective than using hand sanitiser.)
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Coughing or sneezing into a flexed elbow or covering it with a tissue which is then
- immediately discarded.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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