Questions We All Have

Questions We All Have Regarding Coronavirus

Where can I find reliable information and timely updates about COVID-19?

This continues to be a rapidly changing situation, so the CDC provides regular updates and guidance. In addition, the World Health Organization posts daily situation reports and other information, and your local, county and state health departments’ sites are likely a good source for details about the latest developments close to home. You can also find COVID-19-related information about heart disease, health, well-being and other issues at

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and, in some people, difficulty breathing. These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Who’s at highest risk of getting the virus and becoming seriously ill?

Despite the rapid spread, overall risk remains low for most people in the United States. But the risk is higher for some groups.

  • Older adults with heart disease appear to be at higher risk of getting COVID-19.
  • People of any age with serious underlying medical conditions — such as diabetes, cancer or kidney failure — may face a higher risk of complications if they do get infected.
  • Stroke survivors may also face a higher risk of complications.

People at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness should take special precautions.

What are the easiest ways to avoid the coronavirus and keep it from spreading? Washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water or using hand sanitizer is best. Also, don’t touch your face, don’t touch surfaces in public and keep your distance from people. If you cough or sneeze, do it in a tissue and throw that tissue away. Learn all about prevention on the CDC’s How to Protect Yourself page.

How should I clean and disinfect my home?

There are a variety of things you can do. Focus cleaning on high-touch surfaces first: countertops, doorknobs, cabinets, the refrigerator. The CDC breaks down the details.

Can the virus be spread through food?

There’s currently no evidence it can be. Coronaviruses are generally spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Before preparing or eating food, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer. 

Can the virus spread through drinking water?

It hasn’t been detected in drinking water. Most water treatment methods should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.

Will warm weather stop the COVID-19 outbreak?

We don’t know yet. Some other viruses, like those that cause the common cold and flu, spread more during cold-weather months, but you can still get them during other months.

I’m hearing hospitals are strained right now. Should I still call 911 if I think I might be having a heart attack or a stroke?

Yes. Always call 911 at the first signs or symptoms. Doing this quickly can save your life. It’s still the right thing to do, even in this unprecedented time.

My stress is through the roof. What are some tips to help me cope?

It’s normal to be stressed in these uncertain times. Take a deep breath. Repeat. We’re all in this together. And check out our top 10 emergency stress-stoppers and other tips to help you get through the stress.

Should I be wearing a mask when I’m out in public?

The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public places such as stores, because recent studies indicate even people who aren’t showing symptoms could spread the virus through close speaking, coughing or sneezing. So it’s a way to protect yourself and everyone else. It’s important to remember that face coverings work in addition to other social distancing measures, not instead of them. Wondering how to make your cloth face covering? Check out this video with easy instructions from none other than U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams

Will any medications, supplements, superfoods or remedies protect me from the coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that anything protects you other than social distancing, hand-washing and the other precautions recommended by the CDC. Until a vaccine is developed, be skeptical of any such claims. Also check out the World Health Organization’s Myth Busters page.

Are emergency responders changing their approach to people who have cardiac arrest during the pandemic?

Saving lives remains emergency responders’ top priority. In some localities, however, people who experience cardiac arrest followed by a long period without a pulse are no longer taken to the hospital. That policy is already in place in many parts of the country, and it complies with the AHA’s resuscitation guidelines. Why? Sadly, the fight to save someone after cardiac arrest is won or lost at the scene. The chances of revival at a hospital drop with every passing minute. That’s why everyone should take a couple minutes to learn Hands-Only CPR. Keeping someone alive until paramedics arrive can make a big difference.

I’m not feeling well but I’m not sure I have COVID-19. What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact your health care provider. If you don’t have a health care provider, call the closest urgent care center and find out if you can be seen there and how much it will cost. Beyond that, even if you feel fine it’s best to behave as if you have the virus and could spread it. That’s a great way to protect yourself and others.

I was feeling flu-like symptoms but am starting to feel better. Is there any way to tell for sure whether I had COVID-19?

There are now reports of several manufacturers who have developed a serology test, also called an immunity or antibody test. This checks for evidence that a person has developed a specific immune reaction that produced antibodies to fight the COVID-19 virus. Ideally, people with those specific antibodies are protected from getting ill once again from the COVID-19 virus.

HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.