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About the Virus FAQs

  • Will the coronavirus survive in the refrigerator or freezer?

    A 2010 study used two viruses that are related to the COVID-19 virus to look at the effects of temperature and humidity on viral survival. Researchers found that both lower temperatures and lower h...
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  • Does the microwave kill the virus?

    Microwaves kill germs in food by heating up mainly water in an object to high temperatures, which passes heat throughout the food - not directly from the radiation. It is important to cook food to ...
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  • Is the coronavirus airborne?

    When people with the COVID-19 infection breathe out, clear their throats, cough, sneeze, speak, or otherwise move air out through their nose or mouth, droplets of all different sizes, which can con...
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  • How many COVID-19 cases and deaths have there been in New Jersey? Where have they been?

    Last Updated: 08/07/2020
    The Department of Health is maintaining a dashboard with information about COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, including deaths, numbers of cases, and locations. In addition, the dashboard tracks where N...
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  • Do people who recover from COVID-19 gain immunity to the novel coronavirus?

    Experts expect that the majority of people who recover from COVID-19 will gain immunity to the novel coronavirus for at least some amount of time. The question is, for how long. Scientists are stud...
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  • Which body fluids can spread infection?

    Very limited data are available about detection of SARS-CoV-2 and infectious virus in clinical specimens. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected from upper and lower respiratory tract specimens, and SARS...
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  • Does COVID-19 affect people with different blood types differently?

    There hasn't been enough research to conclusively say whether different blood types are more or less susceptible to COVID-19. There has only been one study that investigates the relationship betwee...
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  • Are ammonia-based wipes an effective disinfectant for COVID-19?

    Neither the American Chemistry Council nor the EPA recommend ammonia for killing COVID-19 on surfaces. Bleach is a much better option. More information can be found in the sources below: https://ww...
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  • If I get infected, when do symptoms appear?

    Symptoms can appear between 2-14 days after exposure, though some people may not have any symptoms while still being contagious. It's also important to consider whether you've been in contact with ...
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  • Can the COVID-19 virus be spread through food, including refrigerated or frozen food?

    Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before ...
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  • Is COVID-19 a biological weapon?

    There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 virus is a biological weapon. Scientific evidence suggests the COVID-19 virus spilled over from animals to people. One paper showed that the COVID-19 v...
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  • What happens to the COVID-19 virus when it rains?

    This is related to the assumptions that warmer air temperatures and higher humidity environments will slow the transmission of the virus. While this is the case for influenza, some studies show tha...
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  • Are there two strains of the COVID-19 virus? I've heard there is an S and an L strain - is one more severe?

    The existence of an S strain and an L strain remains controversial in the scientific community, at least in terms of these being distinct contagions. Viruses evolve continually, so there are likely...
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  • What is the likelihood of dying from COVID-19 as an elderly person?

    In the US, fatality rates are reported as ranging from 10-27 percent for persons 85 and older. For persons between the ages of 65 and 85 it is between 3 and 11 percent. However, co-morbidities such...
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  • What is the official name of the novel coronavirus?

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to name the disease caused by the novel coronavirus "COVID-19" and refers to the virus that causes it as the "COVID-19 virus." CO for corona, VI for ...
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  • Why do viruses survive outside the human body?

    Viruses survive outside our bodies because of how they are built. Specifically, they are pieces of genetic material (RNA or DNA) contained in a special coating of proteins called capsids. Viruses c...
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  • Can the coronavirus infect fruits or vegetables?

    No, coronaviruses are not known to infect fruits or vegetables. Plant cells are built differently than animal cells, with the former having very tough cell walls. Viruses that infect animals or hum...
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  • Can children get COVID-19?

    Yes. Children can catch the virus which causes COVID-19. However, children are no more likely to get COVID-19 than adults, and when they do catch it, they typically have mild symptoms, and many hav...
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  • Will there be permanent damage to my lungs or other organs if I’m infected with the COVID-19 virus?

    Doctors in Hong Kong have found that some patients who fully recovered from the coronavirus can be left with substantial lung capacity weakening, with some patients experiencing a drop of 20-30%. H...
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  • If you are infected again, would the second infection be more serious?

    During viral infection, the rule of thumb is that infection will lead to the development of a memory antibody response that is protective against future infection. However, for some viruses, like d...
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  • When is someone infectious?

    The onset and duration of viral shedding and period of infectiousness for COVID-19 are not yet conclusively known; however, early evidence indicates that people are likely most infectious right aft...
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  • How long does the COVID-19 virus stay transmissible?

    Currently, experts do not know exactly how long the virus can stay infectious because it is so new. Typically, viruses last longer on hard surfaces, like a countertop or plastic or metal playground...
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  • Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

    We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have teste...
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  • Am I likely to get sicker if I'm exposed to multiple infected people, similar to medical professionals being exposed to multiple infected individuals?

    Symptom severity can be influenced by many different factors. For other viruses, oftentimes more exposure leads to more rapid disease and a higher likelihood of severe symptoms. Also, people who ar...
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  • What are the symptoms of the virus?

    People with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have had a wide range of illnesses reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exp...
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  • Why will it take so long for a coronavirus vaccine to be ready?

    Vaccine development takes a long time because there are many steps in the process. Researchers must ensure the vaccine is safe and causes the correct immune response without causing other problems....
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  • Can the virus be transmitted through mosquito bites?

    There is no evidence to suggest so far that this virus can be transmitted through mosquitoes. References https://www.mosquito.org/news/492656/Can-Mosquitoes-Transmit-the-Coronavirus.htm https://www...
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  • Could the coronavirus be on fruits, vegetables, produce, or other food products?

    Researchers have found that the COVID-19 virus can be viable on plastic for up to 3 days, and on cardboard for up to 24 hours. So it would not be surprising to find COVID-19 virus on, for example, ...
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  • What is the survivability of the COVID-19 virus as compared to other viruses?

    While it is difficult to determine exactly how long viruses can stay intact outside the body, since it is so dependent on environmental conditions, different viruses do appear to have different lev...
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  • Do patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 need to be admitted to the hospital?

    Not all patients with COVID-19 require hospital admission. Patients whose clinical presentation warrants in-patient clinical management for supportive medical care should be admitted to the hospita...
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  • Is the virus transmitted better in cold weather because of its fat layer?

    All coronaviruses possess a fat layer as a component of the viral envelope. There is, however, no evidence yet that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) exhibits structural stability at low ...
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  • Q: Will vodka or other hard alcohols work as disinfectants against the coronavirus? What about vinegar?

    Vodka, or other hard alcohols, are not recommended for disinfecting surfaces. Furthermore, there is no evidence that vinegar is effective against coronavirus. It would be best to use diluted bleach...
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  • Where did the coronavirus come from?

    Researchers have found that three quarters of new diseases come from animals. This is because every time a virus replicates, its genes can mutate and make it possible to spread from animals to peop...
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  • Can UV light be used to inactivate the virus?

    Although there are no specific studies to date evaluating the UV inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), the antimicrobial potential of UVC light has long been established. Its...
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  • Am I at risk for COVID-19 from a package or products shipping from China?

    There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. Two other coronaviruses have emerged previously to cause severe illness in people (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV). ...
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  • Are people with hyper/overly active immune systems, such as those with MS, at high risk like those with weakened immune systems?

    For patients with autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, treatments often include suppressing some aspects of the immune system. This means that these individuals may be more susceptible ...
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  • Is it safe to use a swimming pool during the COVID-19 outbreak?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as long as the swimming pool is properly maintained with the appropriate levels of chlorine and bromine, pools and also hot tubs should ...
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  • What is the survivability of the COVID-19 virus outside the human body?

    Currently, experts do not know exactly how long the virus can stay infectious because it is so new. The World Health Organization's early estimates suggest that COVID-19 virus can survive on hard s...
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  • Why would someone blame or avoid individuals and groups because of COVID-19?

    People in the U.S. may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Some people are worried about the disease. Fear and anxiety...
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  • How many people are currently infected?

    For data on confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus infection, visit the dashboard created and maintained by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Drafte...
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  • How do antivirals work?

    Antivirals are a class of medications used for treating viruses. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own so to survive they seek out healthy cells in the human body and use these to make 'copies' of ...
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  • Why is washing hands with soap and water so important?

    Soap destroys germs by wedging into them and essentially pulling them apart. The coronavirus can be thought of as a grease ball. Soap is a bit like a magnet: One part of soap molecules is attracted...
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  • Is it safe to eat Chinese food?

    Last Updated: 03/24/2020
    Yes, Chinese food is safe to eat. Residents should help fight stigma and misinformation. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get coronavirus than anyone els...
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  • Where can I ask additional questions about COVID-19 or find more resources?

    Last Updated: 05/04/2020
    Find contact information and resources here.
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  • Can COVID-19 be passed via currencies (dollar bills, coins, checks, etc.)?

    Yes, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19) can survive on surfaces like dollar bills. How long the virus survives is dependent on the surface itself as well as environmental condi...
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  • How might seasonal flu symptoms be different from coronavirus symptoms?

    Symptoms from the seasonal flu and COVID-19 are not very different. A person sick with either the flu or COVID-19 may experience fever, fatigue, a cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breat...
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  • Do chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine help fight coronavirus?

    Based on the available data, hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for the coronavirus. A 96,000-patient observational study concluded that hydroxychloroquine had no effect on COVID-19, ...
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  • What is the fatality rate?

    As of September 3, around 3.3% of reported COVID-19 cases (globally) had died. In the US, 3% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. The current mortality for known cases of COVID-19 is about 1.6% in...
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  • If a person who is infected with coronavirus, but who does not have symptoms, donates blood, and a patient eventually receives blood from that person, is the patient at risk of infection, and also at risk of spreading the virus themselves?

    To date, there has been no evidence of transfusion-based transmission of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2), nor of the related coronavirus SARS-CoV-1. The AABB says that "individuals are not at risk ...
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  • When do scientists predict that spread of coronavirus and the number of cases will begin to plateau or decrease?

    Overall, it is difficult to predict when cases will diminish, particularly in the US. Some experts have suggested a seasonal role. Infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Se...
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  • What is known about the clinical severity of COVID-19?

    When infected with COVID-19, some people may exhibit no or minor symptoms, while others may become very sick, or even die. The severity of the virus ranges from person to person. Older people and p...
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  • Does the size of a population make a difference in outcomes during an outbreak (US vs Italy, for example)?

    We often talk about outbreaks in terms of the proportion of a population that is affected. Important factors in determining the proportion of a population that is affected include population densit...
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  • Am I at risk for COVID-19 in the United States?

    This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website. Source: Centers for Disease Con...
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  • Was the COVID-19 virus made in a laboratory?

    The COVID-19 virus was not designed in a laboratory. The COVID-19 virus is most closely related (96% identical) to a coronavirus that was previously identified in bats. Scientists are working aroun...
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  • What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decedents who had COVID-19?

    A funeral or visitation service can be held for a person who has died of COVID-19. Funeral home workers should follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions when handling a dece...
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  • What is COVID-19?

    The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new type of coronavirus that has not been previously identified. Like many emerging pathogens, it jumped from animals to human populations and has caused the cur...
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  • Where can I find technical guidance on medical and logistical issues related to COVID-19 if I'm a health care professional, health provider, addiction services provider, or mental health provider ?

    Last Updated: 05/09/2020
    Health Care Professionals and Public Health Providers For health care professionals and public health providers, the New Jersey Department of Health has published several resources on COVID-19 incl...
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  • What should I do if I am breastfeeding and being evaluated for COVID-19 virus infection?

    This interim guidance is intended for women who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are persons-under-investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 and are currently breastfeeding. This interim guidance is based ...
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  • Can my pet dog or cat catch COVID-19 and give it to me? Could the virus be on animal fur?

    To be safe, you and pets in your household should remain physically distant from those outside your household, and avoid crowded indoor spaces. Good hygiene should be practiced, and people should w...
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  • What would lead you to believe that someone is infected with COVID-19?

    Identifying people who may be infected with COVID-19 virus relies on recognizing the symptoms that are caused by infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath), ruling out other causes for those sym...
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  • How do hand sanitizers work?

    For a virus, sanitizers work by disrupting the virus's outer coat, including the novel coronavirus. For bacteria , they work by disrupting its cell membrane. According to the CDC, hand sanitizers a...
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  • Can people who recover from COVID-19 be infected again?

    The immune response to COVID-19 - caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 - is not yet fully understood. Patients with MERS-CoV (a different coronavirus) infection are unlikely to be re-infected short...
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  • How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?

    People can fight stigma and help, not hurt, others by providing social support. Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or e...
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  • What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)? Is it the same as Kawasaki disease or Kawasaki syndrome? Is my child at risk of MIS-C from COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 05/22/2020
    Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a health condition appearing in children in the United States and elsewhere. Some doctors think the condition is related to having coronavir...
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  • Are current estimates of cases accurate?

    No. It is estimated that official counts of infections underestimate the number of cases. First, due to a failure to test more people whether due to a lack of availability of testing kits or due to...
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  • Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy? If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?

    We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth. We do not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pre...
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  • Are pregnant healthcare personnel at increased risk for adverse outcomes if they care for patients with COVID-19?

    Pregnant healthcare personnel (HCP) should follow risk assessment and infection control guidelines for HCP exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Adherence to recommended infecti...
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  • Is this virus really more dangerous for older people / the elderly / seniors? Why?

    One of the main reasons that this virus (as well as many others) is especially dangerous to older individuals is that our immune system becomes less effective as we age. This process is called immu...
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  • Is there a good example of country data?

    South Korea has made testing many, many people in their country for COVID-19 a priority. A dataset of COVID-19 cases in South Korea is available on Kaggle. Drafted: 11 March 2020
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  • When did the coronavirus first start spreading in the United States?

    It is believed that the first chain of sustained transmission of COVID-19 in the United States probably started when a person returned to the country in Washington State in mid-February. Drafted 27...
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  • Where is a good place to find data about coronavirus?

    The Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering created a dashboard for tracking the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization is also tracking the COVID-19 pandemic ...
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  • Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?

    Yes. So far there have been hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US and, tragically, tens of thousands of deaths. The Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and ...
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  • How are the coronaviruses that cause the common cold different from the COVID-19 virus?

    Unlike the four strains of coronavirus behind about 20% of the cases of common cold, COVID-19 virus can cause severe illness, and even death. This is because while coronaviruses causing the common ...
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  • How many people will get sick with COVID-19?

    National and international organizations are working on models to estimate the number of people who will get sick, but the situation is changing rapidly. It is possible that models will underestima...
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  • Where is a good place to find a map of coronavirus cases?

    Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. Please note that it is widely known that all measures undercount the actual n...
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  • Could the tap water I drink have coronavirus in it?

    The COVID-19 virus has not been detected indrinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should ...
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  • Will warmer weather reduce the spread of COVID-19?

    There is still much to learn about the COVID-19 virus and experts currently do not know if it will diminish as the weather warms like the cold or flu. Other similar coronaviruses do not seem to slo...
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  • How does the coronavirus affect children?

    The CDC advises that children are no more susceptible to the virus than the general population. Children who are infected with the coronavirus usually have mild respiratory symptoms. As this situat...
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  • Where is a good place to find a current death toll?

    Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. Please note that it is widely known that all measures undercount the actual n...
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  • I’m a health care administrator. Where can I find COVID-19 waivers and extensions issued by the Department of Health?

    Last Updated: 04/07/2020
    The Department of Health has placed these documents on its Legal and Regulatory Compliance website at https://nj.gov/health/legal/covid19/. Source: https://nj.gov/health/legal/covid19/
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  • Is the novel coronavirus like the common cold?

    There are about four strains of coronavirus that cause about 20% of the cases of common cold. However, the COVID-19 virus can cause severe illness because it travels deep into the respiratory tract...
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  • Do imported animals or animal products pose a risk?

    CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will...
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  • What precautions should be taken for animals that have been recently imported from China?

    Animals imported from China will need to meet CDC and USDA requirements for entering the United States. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19....
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  • How many people have severe symptoms from the coronavirus?

    On 6 March the World Health Organization reported that 80% of infections were mild or showed no symptoms, about 15% were severe infections, and 5% were critical infections. Those who have severe sy...
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  • If someone has a cold or the flu, can he/she still become infected with COVID-19?

    Yes, you can be infected with multiple viruses at once, this is called co-infection. It is currently unknown how common co-infection is with COVID-19. COVID-19 virus, the virus that causes the flu,...
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  • What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be more sick than other people?

    We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant...
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  • How do vaccines work?

    Vaccines work by imitating infection and stimulating a person's immune system to develop protections against a disease. Sometimes getting a vaccine can lead to mild symptoms of the disease, such as...
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  • When will a vaccine be developed?

    Many organizations are working on developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Public health officials estimate that a safe and effective vaccine may be ready for the public in 12-18 months. Eff...
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  • In what ways could the healthcare system become overwhelmed?

    COVID-19 can lead to dehydration, pneumonia, lung inflammation, and septic shock, and about 20 percent of people with COVID-19 require hospitalization. The pressure on the healthcare system is expe...
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  • What should healthcare workers be wearing to be protected when dealing with patients?

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that healthcare workers use a combination of standard procedures to protect themselves, including wearing gowns, gloves, eye/face...
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