A new study, released early by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has confirmed that coronavirus is more likely to spread between people in close proximity, especially in families and hospital settings.
The Study from China
The new case study followed two families over the period in which they contracted the coronavirus. The study initially followed a 56-year-old man (index patient), who came to Xuzhou, China, from Guangzhou, with a 6-hour stay in Wuhan in between. He reached his destination with no symptoms. For the next 8 days, he was in close contact with his two daughters, a 32-year-old pregnant married women (patient 1), and an undergraduate student (patient 2). He then cared for his son-in-law (patient 3) who was in hospital getting treatment for something different. The son-in-law shared the ward with a fellow patient for pancreatic surgery, a 62-year-old man (patient 4). The patient 4 was cared for by his son (patient 5). Both patient 4 and 5 came in contact with the index patient who was still asymptomatic. After patient 4 was discharged, he went home and came in contact with his wife (patient 6).
Later, the index patient was confirmed to have the coronavirus with symptoms like fever, cough and sore throat. Within 6 days of his diagnosis, all other 6 patients were also confirmed to have coronavirus. After 10 days of his diagnosis, receiving successful treatment, the index patient was sent home. He was treated with antiviral drugs lopinavir/ritonavir, umifenovir, interferon α-2b, the antibacterial drug moxifloxacin hydrochloride, intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, and glucocorticoid therapy with methylprednisolone. All other patients were also given some of these drugs in different doses, according to their condition. Only patient 1 was not provided with any medical therapy, owing to her pregnancy.
How Coronavirus Spreads
There are two main ways or modes that have been identified by which coronavirus seems to be spreading right now. The first method of transmission is the direct contact. Types of direct contact include human to human transmission and droplet spread. In human to human transmission, when people are in close proximity and exchange fluids filled with coronavirus, like sputum, they can transfer COVID-19 from one person to another. If a person keeps coughing and or sneezing near your face, the spray of droplets containing coronavirus can be inhaled by you, causing an infection.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 29, 2020
Citing "current evidence," the WHO says the coronavirus doesn't seem to linger in the air. But at least one expert in virus transmission argues it's way too soon to know — and that it's "dangerous" to say otherwise. https://t.co/4EPVkYGas8
— NPR (@NPR) March 28, 2020
The second way is indirect contact. There have been some evidence that coronavirus can survive in the air in the form of aerosols for a few hours. However, this is only dangerous in close quarters such as small living spaces or hospital wards with insufficient ventilation. Another method of indirect contact can be contaminated surfaces. Some organisms such as coronavirus can survive up to few hours on some surfaces. Studies show that it can survive on steel for 2 to 3 days, up to 3 days on plastic and up to 2 days on cardboard. However, there has been no evidence to suggest that it can spread from food, water, or from pets to humans. There has also been no evidence that flies, mosquitoes or insects can transmit coronavirus.
World Health Organization currently advises general public to follow these rules to avoid spread of the virus:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and clean water
- Sanitize your hands regularly with 60 percent alcohol sanitizer, if you do not have access to water and soap
- Maintain social distancing, physical distance of 3 feet from other people
- Cover your mouth while sneezing and coughing
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Practice good hygiene
- If you have symptoms, seek medical help early
- Follow instructions from your local and state health officials
- Use masks only if you have symptoms or someone in your vicinity does. Use masks in crowds.
- When grocery shopping, disinfect everything that you bring home
The safest way to grocery shop right now, according to experts:
—Go alone and during off-peak hours
—Wipe down the cart handle
—Use a paper shopping list
—Get enough food for a couple of weeks
—But don't hoard (that makes things harder for everyone)https://t.co/ihutE4fRgB
— Vox (@voxdotcom) March 30, 2020
A senior doctor has written to chief medical officer Chris Whitty to raise her "grave concern" that electric hand dryers in toilets could increase the risk of transmission of #coronavirus https://t.co/YL7g7c8yMO
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 30, 2020