(WLBT) - As the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) continues to spread fear across the planet, health officials are working to contain the outbreak and people are looking to keep the virus from infecting themselves.
On March 11, the first presumptive positive case was announced in Mississippi. On March 19, the first in-state death from the virus was reported of a man from Hancock County.
The outbreak became widespread first across China, but has since become more prominent in the United States and Europe.
The United States now has the most cases in the world. This map below shows the reported cases by state:
According to CDC, symptoms of the virus may appear between two and 14 days of exposure.
- Shortness of breath
Cases can vary, with some only leading to mild symptoms and other leading to severe illness and death.
The virus is mainly spread from person-to-person. This can be between people who are in close contact with each other, or through an infected person coughing or sneezing. It’s also possible, according to the CDC, that a person could be infected by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
Some things you can do to prevent getting the virus:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Household disinfectants are thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus, but it has not been scientifically proven.
If you’re sick with any symptoms or have been in contact with a person with COVID-19, you should contact a healthcare professional.
That professional will then be in contact with the state health department and CDC to them determine if a test is needed.
During early stages of infection, it’s possible the virus will not be detected.
CDC recommends against all nonessential travel to:
- Most European countries
- South Korea
- United Kingdom and Ireland
These areas have all be deemed as places affected with widespread or sustained community transmission.
Stocks began rapidly dropping due to increased fears over the virus. Investors are concerned the virus will negatively impact consumer demand and disrupt manufacturing supply chains in major industries.
Experts say, historically, markets have rebounded from previous outbreaks and that this is just a short-lived blip in the market.
People close to retirement who have been more aggressive than they otherwise would be should be the most vigilant.
For the rest of us, experts said don’t panic and continue to add to your 401K and investing in the stock market.
Children are not more susceptible to the virus.
Most cases have been reported among adults, in fact.
This doesn’t mean children are immune. There have been some reports, including in very young children, but it’s uncommon.
A clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus began Monday, March 16.
Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.
Lysol products include “human coronavirus” on the back label that describes which viruses it protects against.
That doesn’t mean they knew about the virus in advance. COVID-19 is part of a larger family of viruses.
Thus far, there isn’t enough evidence to say if products like Lysol are effective against COVID-19. But it’s effective against similar illnesses.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday released a list of disinfectants it said are qualified for use against the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
The list includes bleach-based and other cleaners from brands including Clorox and Lysol, as well as select disinfecting disposable wipes.
For a full list, visit the EPA’s website.
Officials are clear that preparations right now are ahead of COVID-19. Fewer than 10 people have been tested, and all have tested negative.
“There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mississippi, but we must remain vigilant and continue to plan for all contingencies,” Reeves said.
Officials remain optimistic that with planning and proactive measures, they can minimize any impact COVID-19 might have on the Magnolia State.
Matthew Reynolds with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are steps you can take to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
1. Stay home
2. Monitor your symptoms carefully
3. Rest and stay hydrated
The coronavirus outbreak is impacting Mississippi Blood Services’ supply.
Because so many blood drives had to be canceled, they’re looking for a different way to stock their depleted supply of blood.
The CDC is recommending that gatherings of 50 people or more in US be canceled or postponed over next eight weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This recommendation does not apply to day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses, per the CDC.
The virus is curtailing many elements of American life.
Theme parks closed, Florida beaches shooed away spring breakers and governors in Ohio and Illinois ordered bars and restaurants shuttered. New York City limited eateries to handling takeout and delivery orders.
As the death toll mounts from the novel coronavirus, questions are arising about whether U.S. officials might have been wrong about how it spreads.
On March 1, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said on ABC’s “This Week” that it’s mainly spread by people who are already sick.
"You really need to just focus on the individuals that are symptomatic,” Azar said. “It really does depend on symptomatic presentation.”
Regarding whether someone can spread the virus without being sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes, in part: “Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
Assuming Mississippians practice complete social distancing requirements throughout May, a Washington-based research institute projects the state will see nearly nine hundred more deaths from COVID-19 over the next four months, a figure that could be higher because of two factors the organization didn’t include in its analysis of the state.
Those factors include Mississippi’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate and the prevalence of nursing home outbreaks that have tripled in less than a day.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s website provides projected estimates for all fifty states, based on population density, transit patterns and social distancing measures.