How do we prevent COVID-19 and how is it treated?

I wasn’t planning on writing an article on the coronavirus, as there’s a lot of information out there to read, and my fellow science communicators are doing their job and more to educate everyone on the severity of COVID-19 and how to prevent it (i.e. WASH YOUR HANDS!). But from a conversation with a friend, I found a topic that I feel is important to share with everyone and that’s how the coronavirus is treated. 


What is SARS-CoV-2? What is COVID-19?
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.


How is COVID-19 transmitted?
The coronavirus is transmitted via respiratory droplets when infected people sneeze, cough or exhale. It’s recommended that healthy individuals do not wear face masks because they are thought to provide a false sense of protection and limited value in protecting against infection, however, they can be effective in preventing already infected persons from spreading the disease to others and therefore are recommended for those in close contact with infected individuals. 
See this video for an in-depth (comedic) explanation: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9cpECjBxdl/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

How is it treated?
There is currently a lot of uncertainty around the coronavirus and there is no specific treatment for it nor a vaccine. Infected people are given available treatments to relieve the symptoms whilst the human body fights the illness. Healthcare professionals may prescribe medication to reduce pain and to treat symptoms of fever.

Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus, as they work against bacteria, and coronavirus is a virus. This is the same case for all colds and flu. Cold and Flu are both viruses, therefore, antibiotics will not work against them. Antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections. 

*Edit 14/03/2020*
Pneumonia, which arises as a result of coronavirus, caused by weakened immunity, therefore antibiotics cannot be used to treat it. Scientists around the world are continually testing different types of drugs, not just anti-virals to see which ones will be able to treat coronavirus. However, there is only one exception. Antibiotics may be given to some people with coronavirus because there's a risk the virus may make them more likely to get a bacterial co-infection as well.

The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in previous years has resulted in antibiotics becoming less effective and has led to the appearance of "superbugs". These are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics, and current antibiotics do not work against them. 

Overall, it’s better to prevent any risk of contracting the coronavirus. It’s recommended that we all wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, the same time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. As funny as it sounds, this is what will help us prevent the virus from reaching us, and spreading. Also, avoid touching your face as much as possible during the day, making sure to keep them away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.  You can also use hand sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available. As always, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze and throw away used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands. 


Places you can find good, trusted resources and information on COVID-19:
https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions
This video by Rohin Francis from MedLife Crisis explains more about how to take action, but to also remain positive. Here: https://youtu.be/D_Vau7NDjQw

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