With the novel coronavirus rapidly spreading across China, and transportation suspended out of Hubei province at the center of the outbreak, it can be difficult for the general public to access reliable reports and knowledge on how to combat the new disease.
The People’s Daily has recently published a list of frequently asked questions on the disease in order to debunk misinformation and offer suggestions for how to protect yourself, your family, and others, which TWOC has translated and adapted below:
Explanations on the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia
Q: Has the virus mutated?
A: Cases of patients transmitting the coronavirus without showing symptoms have been reported in across China. Fortunately, however, no cases related to virus mutation have been reported so far, and relevant government departments have been closely monitoring this development.
Q: Are children among the groups most vulnerable to infection?
A: Judging by the currently diagnosed cases, children are within the vulnerable groups. No severe cases or deaths have been reported among children, with those diagnosed only showing mild symptoms after infection.
Q: Will fecal-oral transmission lead to a new channel of infection?
A: While the nucleic acid of the virus has been found in excrement of infected patients, no virus has been found in isolation, and no cases by fecal-oral transmission have yet been reported. It is still worth being on high alert.
Q: Can pets transmit the coronavirus?
A: No cases have found of pets getting infected withe virus and transmitting it to humans.
Q: What is the current fatality rate?
A: It’s reported that the fatality rate of confirmed cases across China is 2.1 percent, according to statistics published by the National Heath Commission (NHC) at 12 a.m. on February 3. Among all provinces, the greatest concentration of patients are in Hubei. The fatality ratio within the province compared to the whole country is 97 percent, and the fatality rate within the province is 3.1 percent. Excluding Hubei province, the fatality rate only stands at 0.16 percent in other provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions, and special administrative regions (SARs) combined.
Q: Why have the elderly become the main demographic in cases of death?
A: As a whole, fatal cases are mainly found among the middle-aged and the elderly because they have other diseases. Most deaths cases are due to other complications.
Q: Are infected patients all severe cases?
A: Most patients infected with the new coronavirus pneumonia have mild symptoms, and relatively few patients’ condition will develop into severe or critical stages.
Q: Has there been any instant remedy recommended to the public?
A: At the moment, no. The new coronavirus pneumonia is self-limiting disease, so human bodies can eliminate the virus through their own immune system. The entire process may take two weeks. Patients infected with severe symptoms may require some targeted treatment in the clinical stage.
Q: Should non-infected people protect themselves by taking medicine?
A: There is no need for non-infected people to take medicine for protection, as no effective medicine has been found in preventing infection.
Q: Are there any medicines ready for clinical treatment?
A: Remdesivir, Chloroquine Phosphate, and Favipiravir, and a batch of Chinese patent medicine with that control virus activity that are already on the market, have been found effective. Medical practitioners and experts have been intensively and progressively in pushing forward relevant tests on animals as well as for clinical usage.
Q: How long does it take to be cured?
A: According to NHC statistics on infected patients’ average period of hospitalization, excluding Hubei province, patients in Hainan province on average can be cured within five days, the shortest time among all provinces, while patients from Guangdong province are hospitalized for 12.75 days, the longest. From the national level, excluding Hubei, the average hospitalization period is around nine days, and in Hubei province, 20 days.
Q: What about the possibility of infection after discharge?
A: The possibility is quite low. Clinical experience shows that patients have twice tested negative for their nucleic acid testing (NAT) during convalescence and before discharge, which means no replication of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, relevant antibodies have been generated in their bodies to prevent transmission.
Q: Is there any need to wear gloves for daily protection?
A: Gloves are only necessary if handling infected or contaminated objects. The are not required normally. Washing your hands frequently and carefully is sufficient.
Q: What are the best masks to use?
A: The NHC suggests the following:
- Single-use medical masks should be worn by the general public in crowded public places.
- Surgical masks should be worn by patients with symptoms like fever, suspected patients, and public transportation workers while at work.
- N95 or KN95 masks are good options for public health personnel during on-the-ground research, sampling, and testing. They can also be helpful for the public in extremely crowded public places.
- Medical protective masks are recommended for medical workers in fever clinics, and are a must for confirmed patients.
Translated by Aaron Hsueh
Cover Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay