COVID-19 Information Page

In an effort to help combat misinformation and answer questions about the Coronavirus, we have asked the doctors associated with IUPH to help us create this page for our readers.
As more information becomes available we will update this page.
The most important thing to keep in mind is not to panic. Do not give into the urge to hoard food, medicine or medical supplies to the detriment of your fellow citizens and medical professionals. 
We are all in this together.

COVID-19 Basics

Q: What is COVID-19?

A: COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, that has only spread in people since December 2019.

Q: Is COVID-19 a biological weapon?

A: There are a couple of conspiracy theories in social media that the virus was a weapon being developed by the Chinese or that the US Army created and spread the virus in China.  Both are ridiculous, without any merit.  COVID-19 does not meet any criteria for a biological weapon.  Most importantly, no country would deploy a biological weapon to which it has no cure and is as susceptible as anyone else.


Q: How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?

A: COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which means to become infected, people generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. 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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.


Q: How long does it take for symptoms of the COVID-19 to appear?

A: CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure. To be cautious, many governments are requiring an isolation period of 14 days for people returning from endemic areas


Q: How is COVID-19 treated?

A: There is currently no FDA approved medication for COVID-19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive care such as rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. 

Q. What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection?

A. Patients with confirmed infection from the COVID-19 virus reported these respiratory symptoms:

  • Fever (not always present).

  • Difficulty breathing/Shortness of breath.

  • Cough.

Other possible coronavirus symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Sore throat.

  • Body aches.

  • Tiredness.

Symptoms can range in severity from very mild to severe. In about 80% of patients, COVID-19 causes only mild symptoms.

Q. When should I be tested for COVID-19?

A. Call your healthcare provider if you:

  • Feel sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing.

  • Have been in close contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19.

  • Live in or recently traveled from an area with ongoing active spread or for which there are travel alerts.

Your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your symptoms and recent travel history. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need to be tested for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 and where to go to be tested.

***Update on March 18, 2020***

The World Health Organization has recommended that people suffering COVID-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen the effects of the virus. Unless recommended by your physician you should avoid the use of steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) products, including ibuprofen and Advil, for the alleviation of COVID-19 symptoms.


Q: Is there a vaccine?

A: Currently, there is no vaccine available.  Most likely, it will be the end of the year before one is available.


Q: How can I best protect myself?

A: Practice the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. (See video below on how to effectively wash your hands. Also, it's funny.)

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Standard household cleaners and wipes are effective in cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Q: Should I wear a face mask? Will that help protect me?

A:  If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are unable to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers and medical providers.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19?

***This information was provided by Dr. Ketan Desai, physician and author of Germs of War.***

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