COVID-19 Basics Fact Sheet

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Frequently asked questions, and latest guidance on the virus, symptoms, remedies, and prevention.

What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory disease that is caused by the novel Coronavirus.  COVID-19 is short for Coronavirus Disease 2019.

COVID-19 was unknown until the outbreak started in Wuhan China in December 2019.

According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting a significant majority of the world.


How Do I Get Infected by COVID?

You can catch the COVID-19 virus from other people who have the virus.

The virus is transmitted through small droplets from the nose or mouth which exit from a person who speaks, sneezes, or coughs, and is infected with the virus. If you breathe in droplets from an infected person you can be infected.

These droplets can also fall on surfaces and objects such as tables, chairs, boxes, door handles, and if you touch those surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you can become infected.

People are most contagious when they are the sickest. But those who don’t have a lot of symptoms can still pass the virus on to others.


COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease with symptoms that are very similar to diseases caused by other viruses—fever, chills, cough and difficulty breathing. Additional symptoms to watch out for are fatigue, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell.

Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure, and usually range from mild to severe when they show up.

Go to the nearest health facility if you have the following symptoms—trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, struggle to wake up or stay awake, bluish lips or face.


How Do I Protect Myself and Others?

Hand hygiene is an important part of protecting yourself and others in response to the international emergence of COVID-19. Practicing hand hygiene, which includes the use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR or hand sanitizer as it is commonly known) or hand-washing, is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens and infections. Do not add alcohol to non-alcohol hand sanitizer as this is unlikely to result in an effective product and will not prevent COVID-19.

Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

If you do not have soap or water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and rub until your hands are dry.

Practice good hygiene—when you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and throw it away immediately, or use the inside of your elbow to cover your mouth and nose.

Practice social distancing—avoid physical contact with other people outside of your home. That means keep at least two meters between yourself and people outside of your home. Avoid crowded environments.

If you are in an environment where social distancing is difficult, try your best to stay two meters away from others. Wear a cloth face covering or a face mask.

Do not invite guests into your home.


Treatment and Cures for COVID-19

Most people infected with the disease have recovered.

Severe cases require hospitalization. Unfortunately, there have been a significant number of deaths due to COVID-19 across the globe.

Even with minor symptoms, stay at home and self-isolate until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies such as food, but remember to take the proper measures to protect yourself, and for that person to protect themselves too.


Simple Messages You Can Share

Wash Your Hands Or You and Others Could Get Infected.

Keep Your Distance from Each Other.

Cover Your Face. Wear A Face Mask.

Don’t Shake Hands or Hug People Outside Your Home.

There Is No Cure For Covid-19. Stay Safe.

Be Kind To Each Other. Not Afraid Of Each Other.

Kindness Is Treating Others With Respect, Not Fear.


Myths and Misinformation That You Need To Know About

Myth—COVID-19 does not affect Africans: There is no evidence that black people or continental Africans are protected from the coronavirus by melanin. In addition, there is no scientific evidence proof that African blood prevents coronavirus infection.

Myth—Heat destroys COVID-19: Even in hot and tropical climates, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in these areas. Taking a hot bath does not prevent the coronavirus disease.

Myth—Prior malaria diagnosis makes one immune to COVID-19: This has been debunked as there is no evidence to support this statement. Malaria used to be treated with the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which have both been proven to be ineffective against COVID-19.

The coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus? Do not spray and chlorine all over your body, this could prove to be extremely harmful to your health. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.

Are hand dryers effective in killing COVID-19? No. Hand dryers are not effective in treating or destroying the coronavirus.

If I take a pneumonia vaccine, will that protect me against the new coronavirus? No it will not. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus? Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

Pepper soup with lime does not prevent or cure the coronavirus disease.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus? No, antibiotics do not work against any viruses, they are used only against bacteria.

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