What exactly are the symptoms of coronavirus, anyway? Is it deadly? How worried should I be?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says little is known about the virus, but it still has some tentative answers.

The symptoms

According to the CDC’s website, the symptoms are pretty straightforward:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.

Severe complications could arise from the symptoms: Many patients develop pneumonia in both lungs, the CDC says.

If you have developed a fever and respiratory illness (cough and shortness of breath) within 14 days of traveling to a place like China where coronavirus is a threat, or have had close contact with someone who fits those parameters, the CDC recommends calling your doctor.

How deadly is coronavirus?

According to the CDC, there were a total of 2,462 associated deaths worldwide as of Feb. 23. That’s out of 78,811 total reported coronavirus cases (76,936 of which have been in China). No deaths had been reported in the United States.

How is coronavirus treated?

There is currently no specific antiviral treatment, according to the CDC.

“People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms,” the CDC’s website states. “For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.”

Meanwhile, Cambridge-based company Moderna has revealed that vials of a vaccine for the coronavirus were shipped to the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for clinical testing.

How does the virus spread?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are at their sickest. According to the CDC, the virus is mainly spread:

  • Between people who are in close contact, within about six feet of one another
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs

It may be possible for the virus to spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or possibly eyes; however, the CDC says this isn’t thought to be the main way to catch it.

How do I prevent getting sick?

Just like with any other virus, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

Do I need to wear a face mask to block coronavirus?

With concern about coronavirus coming to the United States on the rise, many people may be wondering if they should rush out to buy a face mask to filter out the pernicious germs.

But unless you’re sick or taking care of someone who is sick, you don’t need to wear one, experts say.

The state Department of Public Health says on its website that “at this time we are not recommending that people wear masks when they are in public. Masks can be useful in some settings, such as a clinic waiting room, to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. There is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer outside of the healthcare setting.”

“CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

Source: Boston Globe

Demand booms for disposable respirator masks

As the deadly coronavirus sweeps the globe and slams businesses across multiple industries, one company could dodge the selloff.

Best known as the maker of Scotch tape and Post-It notes, 3M also happens to be one of the largest producers of N95 respirators, the type of mask that more efficiently protects people against the virus than ordinary medical masks.

3M has suffered through nine quarters of weak results, according to Melius Research, but the demand for masks is a big plus for the company, which is the largest supplier of N95 respirators in the U.S.

“The simple reality is that 3M is one of only a handful of S&P names that sells a necessary product in virus containment,” according to the Melius report. “This is being ignored by the market.”

The upgrade puts 3M on a par with companies such as DuPont, GE and Honeywell, “stocks that stand out to us as most interesting for investors who can look through a likely tough first half of 2020,” the report said.

Coronavirus has caused a worldwide mask shortage. N95 respirators and regular surgical masks have been unavailable on all major e-commerce platforms in the United States and China since early this year.

This would not be the first time that 3M benefited from a global health crisis. When the SARS epidemic hit in 2003, 3M’s sales growth shot up amid increased demand for its respirators, according to the Melius report.

“The 2002 impact from SARS was highly beneficial to 3M,” said Scott Davis, a co-author of the report, told CNN Business. While the company didn’t disclose any specifics at the time, “it was meaningful and helped the stock to outperform in that period.”

Basic medical masks provide a barrier from particulate matter, but do not seal tightly enough against the wearer’s face to eliminate the risk of contracting the virus. Worn properly, the N95 mask can filter out about 95 percent of small airborne particles, according to Christiana Coyle, an expert in epidemics at New York University.

3M has struggled over the past two years as China’s manufacturing industry declined, and the company was slow to cut its costs, but “this is being fixed now, said Davis. “Its long term track record is solid.”

The company “is arguably the most out of favor of the multi-industry names, yet has most of what we look for at this point of the cycle.”

Source: CNN