Mar 15, 2020 - Health

What you need to know about the coronavirus

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation swirling around the virus, so here are quick just-the-facts answers to your most urgent concerns, based on current knowledge.

 Q: What are the symptoms I should watch for?

  • Fever (88%) and dry cough (68%) are two of the most common symptoms, followed by fatigue, thick mucus coughed from lungs, shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, headache, and chills.

Q: If I have those symptoms, should I go to my doctor or the hospital?

  • Right now, the CDC recommends you distance yourself from others, including your family and your pets. If you can, designate a separate bedroom and bathroom for yourself.
  • Call your provider and tell them you suspect COVID-19. Remind them of any travel and if you are over 60 or have underlying conditions like diabetes or a heart condition.
  • Don't share dishes/glasses with anyone; wash hands often; clean surfaces frequently. Stay hydrated.
  • The CDC does not recommend you go to the hospital unless you have shortness of breath, persistent chest pain, new confusion or strong lethargy, or a bluish tint to your lips or face.
  • CDC's hotline number for questions: 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Q: Why is there a shortage of tests in the U.S.? When will we get them?

  • The CDC’s initial test for the virus was faulty. And, for reasons that remain unknown, the U.S. opted not to rely on the World Health Organization’s test while the CDC developed a new one. Red tape slowed down academic labs that wanted to quickly develop their own.
  • With both academic and commercial labs now pitching in, testing is becoming more widely available. But we’re still playing catch-up, and the virus has likely been spreading undetected in the meantime.

Q: What's known about children and COVID-19?

  • Children, fortunately, rarely seem to experience severe complications from the coronavirus, but it's not known whether children with underlying conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.
  • It's unclear what about children's immune systems is protecting them.

Q: What stage is the outbreak in the U.S.?

  • The virus has now been confirmed in 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. However, due to the lack of testing early on, the level of infection in the U.S. beyond the currently confirmed 69,197 cases (as of 9:30 a.m. ET on Mar. 26) is unknown.
  • Scientists believe the number of infections doubles roughly every five to six days.
  • Some think the U.S. and the rest of Europe could follow Italy's exponential trajectory arc, but this will depend on how effective school closings and event stoppages are at flattening the trajectory curve of the outbreak.

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: Italy records deadliest day with nearly 1,000 dead

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Italy on Friday reported 969 COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour period, marking the deadliest single-day for the country since the global outbreak began, according to data from the Health Ministry.

The big picture: The U.S. now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, as the number of global cases nears 600,000. Governments around the world are trying to curb the medical and financial fallout of COVID-19, as infections surge across Europe and the U.S.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 hours ago - Health

Dangerous backlog: Coronavirus results can take a week or more

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Even if you’re able to get tested for the coronavirus, it’ll still take about a week to get the results back — which means the U.S. still doesn’t have a real-time handle on the number of infected people.

Why it matters: We need to know where the virus is spreading in order to get a lid on those outbreaks before they become catastrophic.

Go deeperArrowMar 26, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 607,965 — Total deaths: 28,125 — Total recoveries: 132,688.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 104,837 — Total deaths: 1,711 — Total recoveries: 894.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to provide businesses and U.S. workers economic relief.
  4. State updates: North Carolina is latest state to issue stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month.
  5. World updates: Italy reported 969 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the country's deadliest day.
  6. Business latest: President Trump authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to direct General Motors to build ventilators for those affected by COVID-19. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been appointed to enforce the act.
  7. 🏰 1 Disney thing: Both Disney World and Disneyland theme parks in the U.S. are closed until further notice.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancing.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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