The beginning of this year was marked by the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, also known as the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The outbreak started in the city of Wuhan in central China, and it was first reported to the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019.
For the moment, the disease doesn’t have a cure. There is also no vaccination against it, though scientists all around the world are working on developing one. The disease is centered in East Asia but there are infected cases in Europe and the US as well. We don’t yet know how far it will spread.
People are understandably terrified of this new virus and what it means for their loved ones. But there is a lot of misinformation out there, and it’s difficult to keep track of the facts. Let’s look at the most important things everyone needs to know about this coronavirus.
1. There’s a lot you can do to avoid getting infected.
Curing the disease isn’t possible for now. However, there are many things we can do to avoid getting infected. Here are some tips from the World Health Organization (source).
Always wash your hands.
It sounds basic, but it is one of the best ways to avoid infection. Soap and water are enough to kill the coronavirus, but you can also use alcohol-based cleansers with at least 60% alcohol.
Before you get the chance to wash your hands, don’t touch your mouth or nose. Additionally, it’s best to avoid rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands. It’s also recommended to spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands before you touch your face (source).
Use disinfectant in public spaces.
Since the virus can spread through infected surfaces too, it is a good idea to wipe items down before use.
Don’t walk too close to people.
If you can maintain a distance of 1 meter (3 feet) from other people, you can stay fairly safe. Remember, this is an airborne virus – but it doesn’t survive for long in the air!
Handle undercooked animal products with care.
Be careful when handling meat or milk, and make sure everything is well-cooked before you consume animal products.
If possible, avoid animal markets.
If you do have to attend places with live farm animals, try to keep your contact with them to a minimum. Wash your hands often.