Your coronavirus questions answered
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As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise across the globe, so do the number of questions surrounding the pandemic.
RELATED: When will COVID-19 peak in the DC region?
We have you covered with the latest on COVID-19.
Q: How many cases of coronavirus are there in United States?
A: The number of coronavirus related deaths topped 4,000 in the U.S. on Tuesday night, just one day after reaching the 3,000 mark.
The U.S. has now surpassed China by over 700 COVID-19 fatalities -- as the White House coronavirus task force said it projects 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the virus and millions infected in the country.
RELATED: DC, Maryland and Virginia coronavirus case totals climb over 4,000
Without any measures in place to mitigate the contagion's spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 million and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.
Click here for a live map, showing the number of cases in the U.S. and beyond.
Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
A: Symptoms for the COVID-19 virus could appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure, according the CDC.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and a fever, to severe and even fatal respiratory distress.
- Shortness of breath
Q: Should I wear a face mask?
The debate over wearing face masks to protect against the novel coronavirus is wide-ranging, with health officials signaling a possible shift in the recommendations for the general public.
Currently, major health organizations -- including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) -- have continued to urge those who are healthy to leave surgical masks and the more protective N95 respirators to medical professionals, who across the country are reusing single-use medical masks due to widespread shortages.
Q: How do I protect myself and others from the virus?
A: In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- 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.
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Q: How does the coronvirus affect pregnancy?
There are a lot of unknowns with coronavirus and not enough data coming out of china and italy to give women clear cut answers. But it's certainly having an impact on the pregnancy process.
The main message to moms-to-be is:
- Stay at home
- Practice Social Distancing
- Wash hands
- Avoid Hospitals
- Avoid sick people
Q: Is it safe to eat takeout?
A: Research shows that coronaviruses do not survive well in food if it is hot. There isn't much to worry about in terms of COVID-19 being inside the hot takeout or delivery food you're about to eat, but it could very well be on the outer packaging or containers.
Takeout and delivery food safety:
- Wash hands immediately with soap and water for 20 seconds after touching packaging and before handling food
- Keeping food free of contact with outside wrappers or packaging, place onto clean plate
- Microwave or heat food whenever possible, and choose hot foods over cold
- Empty any sauces onto a clean plate or into a clean container without exposing them to outer packaging
Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen said the extra careful food handling and disinfecting measures it may seem like a lot of work, but they can keep people from getting sick and potentially sickening others.
RELATED: Support small DMV businesses by ordering takeout, delivery from these places
Q: What precautions do I need to take while grocery shopping?
A: When it comes to grocery shopping, Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen said it's not as simple as wiping down the handle of your cart. There are additional measures that shoppers should be taking in the supermarket to prevent spreading or contracting COVID-19.
- Wipe down your cart
- Commit to buying items before touching them or picking them up
- Don't go to the market if you have respiratory symptoms or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- Plan ahead to buy what you will need for two weeks, to minimize the time you must spend at the market
- Don't allow family members or loved ones over the age of 60 to go to the market themselves
According to VanWingen, the safest method for ensuring that newly purchased or delivered groceries do not have residual COVID-19 contamination is to leave them in the garage or on a porch for three days before bringing them inside a home, but if you need the things you bought immediately, you can clean and disinfect your newly purchased provisions.
In a YouTube video, VanWingen demonstrated how to purchase and handle food safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: What are the best cleaners to use to combat the coronavirus?
The EPA had previously advised that common cleaning products like Lysol and Clorox, which are marketed as effective against coronaviruses, would likely get rid of the new virus on surfaces, but it had not officially approved any products specific use on COVID-19.
Among the cleaning producs included in the EPA's list are:
- Clorox Multi Surface Cleaner + Bleach
- Clorox Disinfection Bathroom Cleaner
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
- Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
- Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
The EPA also included the time a surface should remain wet with each cleaner to be effective in the elimination of the novel coronavirus. Many of the products included in the EPA's list required 10 minutes of contact time to rid surfaces of COVID-19.
Q: How do I make my own hand sanitizer?
According to WHO, these alcohol-based handrubs are a known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Here is everything you need to create your own hand sanitizer, according to WHO:
- Ethanol 96% or isopropyl alcohol 99.8%: 8333 ml or 2.2 gallons of ethanol or 7515 ml or 2 gallons of isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide 3%, which is used to inactivate contaminating bacterial spores in the solution and is not an active substance for hand antisepsis: 417 ml or 1.76 cups
- Glycerol 98%, which acts as a moisturizer: 145 ml or 0.6 cups
- Sterile distilled or boiled cold water
Click here for the full instructions on how to make your own hand sanitizer.
Q: Do I qualify for the gorvernment's coronavirus rescue stimulus money?
The bill makes clear that everyone is eligible except for nonresident aliens and those who can be used as the basis for deductions for another person.
"Seniors, veterans, the unemployed and low-income Americans would be eligible too," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wednesday.
The bill text indicates those who receive social security can collect checks: For those not required to file 2018 or 2019 tax returns because of social security benefits, tax returns aren’t required to claim the money -- the government can use information from a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, or Form RRB-1099, Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement.
With that in mind, here is how much people can expect to get.
Q: How do I get a coronavirus stimulus check?
A: The IRS and the Treasury Department say Americans will start receiving their economic impact checks in the next three weeks.
Most people don't need to do anything to get the money. But some — including senior citizens and low-income people who might not traditionally file tax returns — do need to take action.
People behind on filing their taxes might also want to get caught up.
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