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Coronavirus Information

About the Virus FAQs

  • 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?

    Yes, COVID-19 can spread via airborne transmission. When people with the COVID-19 infection breathe out, clear their throats, cough, sneeze, speak, or otherwise move air out through their nose or m...
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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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  • Does COVID-19 affect people with different blood types differently?

    There is some evidence that having Type O blood may be linked with lower risk of contracting COVID-19 and having Type A blood may be linked with a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and occurence...
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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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  • What is the likelihood of dying from COVID-19 as an elderly person?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an individual who is 85 years of age or older is 630 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than an individual who is between 18 and 29 ...
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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 children get COVID-19?

    Yes. Children can catch the virus which causes COVID-19, and spread it to others. For the latest information about COVID-19 in children, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website...
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  • Will there be permanent damage to my lungs or other organs if I’m infected with the COVID-19 virus?

    While most people who have COVID-19 recover within a few weeks, some have prolonged symptoms which has been called post-COVID-19 syndrome. These prolonged symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of...
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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?

    Generally, those infected with SARS-CoV-2 are most likely to be highly infectious a few days before COVID-19 symptoms start and the following five days. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventi...
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  • Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

    For the latest information regarding pregnancy, newborns, and COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) fat envelope in particular facili...
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  • 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?

    The antimicrobial potential of UVC light has long been established. Its widespread use in public settings is limited due to the ability of conventional UVC light to cause cancer and cataracts. New ...
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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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  • 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. Update...
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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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  • 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. However, COVID-19 is much deadlier than the flu. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the late...
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  • Do chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine help fight coronavirus?

    None of the well-controlled, randomized clinical studies on the impact of hydroxychloroquine on people with COVID-19 have revealed any benefit of the drug. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are no...
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 ar...
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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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  • Are pregnant healthcare personnel at increased risk for adverse outcomes if they care for patients with COVID-19?

    Pregnant HCP should follow risk assessment and infection control guidelines for HCP exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Adherence to recommended infection prevention and contr...
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 virus that causes COVID-19 has not been detected in treated drinking water. Water treatment plants use filters and disinfectants to remove or kill germs, like the virus that causes COVID-19. Th...
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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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  • 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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  • In what ways could the healthcare system become overwhelmed?

    As COVID-19 cases surge in the U.S., some hospitals are struggling with an increase in patients and a shortage of nurses and doctors to care for them, in addition to shortages of hospital beds and ...
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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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Assistance and Benefits FAQs

  • How much money is the federal government spending to address the coronavirus pandemic, and what is the US spending the money on?

    The federal government is spending billions of dollars to combat COVID-19. Explore who the US is buying from, what it's buying, and how much it's paying using this interactive tracker created by Pr...
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Reopening Guidance and Restrictions FAQs

  • Am I at risk if I go to a funeral or visitation service for someone who died of COVID-19?

    There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Pre...
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  • Will the coronavirus pandemic start over again when human activity returns to normal?

    A recent study from infectious disease experts at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom modeled how things might evolve depending on what measures governments take now. These models predict...
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  • Who should be donating blood now in response to the current blood shortage? What factors should be considered, like blood type and risk?

    Hospitals across the U.S. are currently facing shortages of all blood types and products due to COVID-19-related cancellations of blood drives. The Red Cross has said there is a critical shortage o...
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Slowing the Spread FAQs

  • How do I know if I am an asymptomatic carrier?

    The only definitive way to know if you have COVID-19 is by getting tested. Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. Find a testing location near you by visiting covid19.nj.gov/testing. I...
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  • If two people are suspected to be infected, can they quarantine in close proximity to each other?

    Unless it is unavoidable, two people 'suspected' of being infected should not quarantine together if they will have contact with each other or the potential to spread the disease between one anothe...
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  • Can the coronavirus spread through sweat?

    There is no evidence that the virus can be spread through sweat. However, the virus can be transmitted in places like gyms by other means - through respiratory droplets that pass from person to per...
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  • Is it safe to read my mail or the newspaper or handle packages delivered to my house?

    The likelihood of becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 from mail, newspapers, or packages is quite low. Out of an abundance of caution during the pandemic, when handling or reading...
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  • Can just hot water kill the COVID-19 virus on surfaces? If yes, for how long?

    No, hot water alone cannot kill the virus that causes COVID-19 on surfaces. The virus (SARS-CoV-2) has a fat-based envelope that makes it very susceptible to detergents and alcohol. While it is lik...
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  • Can someone who has been quarantined for COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

    Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed, in order to pr...
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  • Is it safe to visit a newborn baby? If not, how long should I stay away?

    Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for detailed information about precautions to take regarding newborns.
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  • Am I at risk if I touch someone who died of COVID-19 after they have passed away?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread from close contact (i.e., within about 6 feet) with a person who is cu...
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  • What is community spread?

    Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dra...
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  • Is hand sanitizer effective against the virus?

    If used properly, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is an effective way to kill the COVID-19 virus. Hand sanitizer is often faster and easier, however if you have the option, y...
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  • Is it safe to eat takeout food?

    Properly prepared cooked food is unlikely to get you sick with COVID-19. Although there could be some risk from the person-to-person interaction of picking up food or getting delivery, this might s...
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  • Is Bactine effective as hand sanitizer against COVID-19 virus?

    According to the active ingredients list, Bactine uses Benzalkonium as an antiseptic (as substance that stops germs). One recent study found that Benzalkoium is not as effective as alcohol-based sa...
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  • Can children catch the COVID-19 virus at school?

    Yes. Respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19, are spread when people come into contact with one another. This means that any place where people gather in close proximity can lead to viral tr...
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  • Can people infected with COVID-19 spread the disease before appearing to be ill?

    Yes. Everyone should wear face coverings because around 40 percent of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 may not show symptoms, so it's not clear who is or is not infected and capable of spreading COVI...
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  • What should people at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 do?

    To determine if you are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and learn the proper precautions, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. Drafted 3 December 2020
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  • Why close schools if children do not get very sick with COVID-19?

    Even children who do not show symptoms may still carry the disease and pass it on to others. COVID-19 can easily be transmitted from person to person, and people do not have pre-existing immunity. ...
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  • How can I get infected?

    COVID-19 spreads when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. Small droplets drift in the air and are breathed in, or larger droplets land on the body or objects, allowing SARS...
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  • Would closing schools help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    In the past, closing schools does appear to have helped to control the spread of viruses like influenza. This is because children tend to be very susceptible to common human respiratory viruses. Th...
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  • How can I take care of myself at home?

    If you have possible or confirmed COVID-19: Stay home from work, school, and away from other public places. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxi...
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  • How do I prevent myself from becoming sick when taking care of someone who is already sick?

    Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. Avoid sharing personal household items, like dish...
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  • When should I wash my hands?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for when people should wash their hands, such as: Before, during, and after preparing food. Before eating food. Before and after carin...
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  • What is the best way to use hand sanitizer?

    The best technique is to apply about a dime-sized amount, and then carefully and thoroughly rub it over the palms and the back of the hands and let it dry completely. Hand sanitizer is a good way t...
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  • Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

    We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Until we learn more about this new coronavirus, you should restrict contact with...
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Testing and Treatment FAQs

  • Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?

    Viral tests are used to gauge whether you have a current infection. A negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the person's sample. This probably means that the pe...
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  • Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?

    No. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotics do not work against viruses. They only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibioti...
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  • Should I take over-the-counter medication to reduce my fever if I think I have COVID-19?

    Over-the-counter options for fever reducers include ibuprofen and acetaminophen. The World Health Organization (WHO) has clarified that it does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen as a self-...
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  • What does pooled testing mean?

    To save supplies, especially in situations where resources are limited, and test more people, pooled testing may be implemented. Pooled testing means taking samples from multiple people, storing pa...
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  • Is it possible to use convalescent serum - antibodies from those who have recovered from COVID-19 - to treat others?

    This is a strategy that is currently being tested. The concept of giving antibodies from one person to another to protect from disease is called passive immunization. You may also hear about this i...
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  • How are suspected COVID-19 cases confirmed?

    People suspected of being infected by the COVID-19 virus will have respiratory samples (i.e. mucus) taken by healthcare professionals that will then be analyzed by public health labs, hospital labs...
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  • What does random testing mean?

    Random testing means selecting people for a test arbitrarily. Take, for example, a test meant to figure out how common COVID-19 exposure is in a town of 10,000 people. Testing everyone who works at...
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  • Is it possible to test if someone had the virus but is cured now?

    Serological tests (tests that look for antibodies specific to a bacteria or virus) are a common diagnostic for other infections and could be developed. A serological test could tell you if you have...
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  • How does the CDC COVID-19 test work?

    CDC recommends collecting and testing a single upper respiratory sample. This sample is then processed. Using a technique called real-time reverse transcriptase (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR)...
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  • How does a typical COVID-19 test work?

    The tests generally take a sample from a patient and process it so that the virus's specific genetic signature can be detected. Drafted 16 March 2020
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  • What do I do if I am sick?

    If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have COVID-19, contact your healthcare pr...
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  • What happens when you get COVID-19 and it’s bad enough that you need to be treated in the hospital?

    Because COVID-19 is a new disease, treatment guidelines are changing quite reguarly. To learn about what you might expect if hospitalized due to novel coronavirus infection, check out the up-to-dat...
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  • How do I treat the symptoms of someone who is sick at home?

    Kindly visit the CDC's website for information on how to care for someone sick at home. Updated: 16 October 2020
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Uncategorized FAQs

  • Ask a Scientist

    Ask a Scientist was developed by the Federation of American Scientists in collaboration with the New Jersey Office of Innovation and the Governance Lab at New York University. Responses are made po...
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