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It pays to be well-informed, especially in a time when fake news spreads faster than a virus. That’s why HiDoc Pulse has asked healthcare experts to answer 5 common questions people have about COVID-19.
1. How does the coronavirus disease spread?
Like the common flu, which kills 290,000 to 650,000 globally per year, per WHO estimates, COVID-19 spreads primarily by direct contact, by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces and objects (such as doorknobs and lift buttons) or through respiratory droplets generated through coughing or sneezing. There’s no evidence that the disease is airborne. The confusion arose when a Chinese health official mistakenly announced that it could spread via an airborne route, and was quickly corrected by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
2. Can you contract the disease from someone who does not show any symptoms?
People who do not display symptoms are less likely to cough or have nasal discharge, and less respiratory droplets are generated as a result. According to experts, the risk of contracting the disease from someone who does not show any symptoms is very low.
3. Should I be worried if I live near a quarantine site?
No, there’s no need to worry. The virus mostly spreads through respiratory droplets, direct contact with people who are infected or contaminated surfaces. As the virus does not go into the air, you are not in danger of breathing it in and getting infected.
4. Should I avoid places where confirmed or suspect cases have been reported?
No, you shouldn’t. In fact, because these places have been cleaned so thoroughly in accordance with guidelines from Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), they’re likely to be some of the cleanest areas in Singapore. For more information on NEA’s cleaning guidelines, go to http://go.gov.sg/NEAadvisory and http://go.gov.sg/ncov-cleanspaces
5. Should I avoid coming into contact with everyday objects?
Because that’s virtually impossible, do this instead: after coming into contact with these items, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face. If you live or work on a high floor and don’t fancy an impromptu exercise session, here’s a tip: keep a capped pen with you always. Uncap the pen before pressing the tip to the lift button and cap it back after. Alternatively, use tissues to press lift buttons and throw them away after.
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Medical Disclaimer: Content on HiDoc Pulse, including text, images, audio, or any other formats not specified here, is provided only for general informational purposes and not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use information found on HiDoc Pulse for diagnosing or treating medical or health conditions of any kind. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem or condition that needs to be addressed, please contact your professional healthcare provider.