The outbreak of COVID-19 and its spread is one of the most serious public health crisis in recent years. The World Health Organization has recently declared it a pandemic. The situation on the ground is evolving at an exponential rate so Medic On Demand wants to help you better understand the situation and make informed decisions to stay healthy. The below information will help you better understand COVID-19, precautionary measures you can take, and what to do if you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19.



Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. Coronaviruses cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

A new (novel) type of Coronavirus has been identified to cause respiratory disease has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person.

Person-to-person spread is believed to occur:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Persons are believed to be the most contagious when they are showing symptoms.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
  • Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to other people.

Since community spread is becoming more rampant, the CDC recommends that those infected or doubted to be infected be isolated either in the hospital or at home until they are free from symptoms and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Contact your doctor if you develop symptoms and may have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or have travelled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

You can find the areas with substantial community spread at:

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death.

As of early March, there have been over 97,000 confirmed cases, with a death toll of about 3,000 (more than 2,900 in mainland China). But these numbers are just estimates; it’s still unclear how many people have actually been infected worldwide. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. Most of the deaths have been in adults over 60 years old who had other health concerns.

The duration of illness differs from person to person. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure, because 14 days is the longest incubation period seen for similar coronaviruses.

The release of someone from quarantine is made with consultation from doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials. They consider elements such as disease severity, signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory tests for that patient.

Per CDC, the release of someone from quarantine is made on a case-to-case basis and includes meeting all the following requirements:

  • The patient is free from fever without using fever-reducing medications.
  • The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough
  • The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

Someone who is released from quarantine no longer poses a risk of spreading COVID-19.

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