If you're following the news, you have very likely heard a lot about COVID-19, a new coronavirus. Across the country, people scramble as they try to follow the guidelines set forth by health officials, which can change by the day. Additionally, social media articles and pictures can easily distort the truth, making it even more difficult to tell fact from fiction. Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 now.
Right now, the chance that you have COVID-19 is relatively low if you have not been exposed to the virus and have not traveled to affected areas outside of the country: Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy or China. If you have recently traveled, please call the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) at 802-863-7240. VDH will be in regular contact with you for 14 days to help you monitor for symptoms. Those affected by COVID-19 may develop a fever, dry cough, fatigue and shortness of breath. Less common symptoms are sneezing and sore throat. Some people have no symptoms at all.
Healthy individuals do not need to wear masks and doing so could cause shortages of masks for those who need them, like health care providers and people who are sick. If you do have symptoms, wearing a mask can help you avoid transmitting the virus to others. You can best prevent the virus spreading the same way you prevent the cold or flu—wash your hands often and for 20 seconds duration, wipe down and disinfect often-used surfaces, cough into your elbow, cover your mouth and don’t touch your face. If you haven’t already gotten a flu shot, do so now. While there is no vaccine for COVID-19, it’s important to keep yourself free of other illnesses that would reduce your resistance should you come into contact with COVID-19.
Learn more about COVID-19 here, and check out these recent news stories about national and state response: