With the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. expected to grow, Florida residents and visitors have questions about potential health risks and travel safety.
News 6 is working with health experts and local government officials to answer your questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
It’s important to note about 80% of individuals who contract the strain of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, fully recover without hospitalization or special treatment, according to the World Health Organization. One out of every six people who contract the virus becomes seriously ill and about 2% of people with the disease have died.
Click on the links below to read answers to frequently asked questions.
What is the coronavirus or COVID-19? Coronaviruses cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, according to the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus.
How long does COVID-19 survive on surfaces? COVID-19 poses a low risk of spread from one person to another through contact of a shared surface, according to the CDC. A recent study found that other strains of coronavirus have the potential to remain on surfaces for two hours to nine days.
What are the symptoms? Symptoms of the virus include fever and signs or symptoms of lower respiratory illness --including cough or shortness of breath. According to the WHO data of more than 55,924 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China—the country with the most confirmed cases worldwide—the most common symptoms were fever and dry cough.
Signs may appear between two to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC. Click here for treatment information.
How do you test for the virus? COVID-19 testing kits have not been made widely available. Contact your local health department.
How to prevent spreading, contracting coronavirus COVID-19? The virus can spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing or exhales, according to the WHO.
Who is most at risk for contracting COVID-19? A WHO report indicates that death rates from the virus for people age 80 or older could be 10 times higher than the overall population. Persons with pre-existing medical conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, appear to develop serious illness more often than others, according to WHO.
Is it safe to go to the theme parks in Florida? Disney World and Universal Orlando announced they will close March 16 to prevent further spread of the virus. Other parks, including SeaWorld and Legoland, have not announced closures yet.
What about international travel? Anyone planning a trip outside the U.S. should consult the CDC and WHO travel advisories. The situation is rapidly evolving and the CDC is issuing travel advisories and restrictions based on COVID-19 transmissions.