Question: Isn't COVID-19 just like the flu?
More contagious, more deadly, we have no medication to treat it, we have no vaccine
for it, we have no natural immunity to it.
All of us, including children, have questions about coronavirus. Here are
questions from an 8-, a 9-, and a 12-year old.
Question from a 9 year old: Can my dog or my cat get COVID-19?
Answer: Dogs or cats do not become sick from the coronavirus and do not infect other dogs or cats or people. (Out of an abundance of caution the American Veterinary Medical Association has recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.)
Question from an 8 year old: Can coronavirus spread through breathing on someone or only through saliva?
Answer: It spreads through both saliva (spit!) and mucus. This occurs most often through tiny liquid droplets (from spit and mucus) that come from your mouth and nose when you breathe, cough, or sneeze.
Question from a 12 year old: How long will we need to socially distance?
Answer: Unfortunately, the only honest answer to this question is no one yet knows. Many of us are made increasingly anxious by the isolation we are experiencing, and it is understandable that this may be a highly frustrating time for teenagers and almost-teenagers. The official order on social distancing for North Carolina is in place until April 29, and US federal guidance urging social distancing will stay in place through April 30. Not to be too discouraging, but some amount of mandatory social distancing likely will be in place for months to come, and the timeline of this might vary depending on where you live and where the virus hits the hardest.
Evidence that social distancing is slowing the spread of an infectious disease takes weeks to become apparent. COVID-19 infections currently exist in our population that were seeded before social distancing was ordered, and it can take ten days before other individuals infected with coronavirus by these people show symptoms, and so on. Thus, public health officials will want to see dramatic falls in the daily number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and decisions to reduce or stop social distancing orders hopefully will be made conservatively since extensive spread of coronavirus infections could occur again.
To date, we have barely had enough testing available in the US to assess the sickest of patients. Many doctors/hospitals have simply asked patients with milder symptoms to stay home and not get a test. Thus, we do not know the true number of infections in the population, and we do not have a quick way to measure the potential spread of the disease. The general availability of a rapid test for the virus that provided results in minutes or hours not days as is currently the case with most COVID-19 testing would have a big impact on both getting a handle on the disease and in understanding the effectiveness of or need for social distancing. There is a long history of outbreaks of infectious disease being broken by public health workers tracing contacts of those who test positive for the disease.
Question: Should we worry about transmission of coronavirus from take-out food?
Answer: NO according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other experts. “There is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” So please wash your hands!
Other suggestions: throw away the delivery bag of take-out food, transfer the food to your own dishware, and use your own utensils.
Finally, please support our local businesses (Corner Café, Westfield Grill, Berry Patch), and please tip generously the people who are feeding and serving you!
Question: Are there drugs that are known to be effective against COVID-19?
Answer: NO. Drugs that have been effective against other viruses have been tested against COVID-19 with no obviously positive results to date. However, this effort to repurpose drugs used to treat other viruses continues worldwide, and we should remain hopeful that an effective medicine will be found. Although news about the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have been in the press lately, there are no scientifically valid data that show that these drugs improve (or make worse for that matter) the symptoms and fatality rates associated with COVID-19 infection.