Questions and Answers About COVID-19
Novel coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, has been spreading quickly throughout the globe, including the United States — officially becoming a pandemic. A majority of states in the U.S. have implemented at least some type of social distancing and “stay-at-home” restrictions to help slow down the spread of the disease.
News and information on the virus is rapidly evolving. Below are answers to a few questions that could shed some light on COVID-19.
Q. Can we get COVID-19 from food?
A. Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are generally believed to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. There is no current evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food, however, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing or going to the bathroom.
If you have food delivered, experts suggest transferring food from the delivery food containers to your own serving dishes, throwing those containers away in the trash and washing your hands thoroughly before eating.
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.
In general, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated or frozen temperatures.
Q. Can pets get or transmit COVID-19?
A. There is no reason at this time to think that pets, or any animals, in the United States might be a source of infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. According to the CDC, they have not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.
Animals can spread other diseases to people, however. So it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene.
Q. Will warm weather stop the spread of COVID-19?
A. It’s not yet known if weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months, but it’s still possible to become sick with these viruses during other months too.
So at this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when the weather becomes warmer. There’s still much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity and other features associated with COVID-19. Studies are ongoing.
Q. How can I best prepare to not get COVID-19?
A. Practicing preventative actions to help reduce your risk of getting sick is important. The following actions are especially important for older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs and cabinet handles).
Q. What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and when is it time to visit the hospital?
A. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
Shortness of breath
If you experience or develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. These severe signs/symptoms include:
This list is not all inclusive. Be sure to consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.