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Your top 6 coronavirus questions from the weekend -- answered

ER doctor Jeremy Faust says 'I want to reassure the well and really help focus in on who is sick,' and explains why Coronavirus fatality statistics are misleading.

Posted: Mar 9, 2020 10:28 AM


Just a few months ago, this virus didn't exist in humans. By Monday morning, it has killed more than 3,800 people and infected more than 108,000 others worldwide.

Every day, CNN readers ask sharp questions about the mysterious novel coronavirus. And each weekday, we'll select some of the top questions and get you the answers.

Here are some of the questions submitted over the weekend:

Q. Why waste a test kit on a person without symptoms?

Some people with coronavirus have mild or no symptoms. And in some cases, symptoms don't appear until up to 14 days after infection.

During that incubation period, it's possible to get coronavirus from someone with no symptoms. It's also possible you may have coronavirus without feeling sick and are accidentally infecting others.

So anyone who has had close contact with someone known to have coronavirus should ask a health care provider about getting tested, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Anyone who recently traveled to a part of the world where coronavirus is widespread should do the same.

Q. How can someone pass along coronavirus when asymptomatic? If not sneezing or coughing, how can they infect others?

It's easy for asymptomatic people with coronavirus to spread the illness, said Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA's School of Public Health.

"Certainly, when you speak, sometimes you'll spit a little bit," Rimoin said. "You'll rub your nose. You'll touch your mouth. You'll rub your eyes. And then you'll touch other surfaces, and then you will be spreading virus if you are infected and shedding asymptomatically."

Doctors stress that the best way to prevent getting coronavirus is not by wearing face masks, since they often cause more harm than good.

Instead, people should wash their hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds and stop touching their faces -- which is harder than it sounds.

Q. Can coronavirus go through skin and into the body?

"It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads," the CDC says.

More often than not, people get coronavirus through 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," the CDC says.

The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.

Q. If a coronavirus patient does progress to pneumonia, what antibiotics if any have proven to be effective?

No antibiotics are effective against coronavirus because the disease is a viral infection, not a bacterial infection.

"However, if you are hospitalized for the [coronavirus], you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible," the World Health Organization says.

There is no known cure for the coronavirus. Researchers are studying whether the antiviral drug remdesivir might work, but testing of that drug just started.

For now, coronavirus patients get "supportive" treatment, "which means giving fluids, medicine to reduce fever, and, in severe cases, supplemental oxygen," the Harvard Medical School says.

Scientists are working on developing a vaccine. But it will take months before clinical trials start, and more than a year before a vaccine could become available.

Q. If infected with coronavirus, can you survive it and recover?

Absolutely. The vast majority of people with coronavirus survive.

Last week, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases estimated the death rate is "about 2%."

But the true death rate might be much lower, since some coronavirus survivors might not have been tested and might not have had their cases reported.

Q. After recovering from coronavirus, does the recovered patient have immunity to the virus?

It's too early to know for sure. But other coronaviruses, like ones that cause the common cold, might give us clues.

With "common cold coronaviruses, you don't actually have immunity that lasts for very long, and so we don't know the answer with this specific coronavirus," said Dr. Celine Gounder, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the New York University School of Medicine.

"If you recover, are you immune? And if you are immune, how long does that last? And that's actually going to be one of the challenges with designing a vaccine is how do you actually cause the immunity to last long enough to protect you."

Have a question about coronavirus? Ask us here.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 329008

Reported Deaths: 5663
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44793862
Lake28485466
Allen19005303
Elkhart17828233
St. Joseph17409235
Hamilton13830170
Vanderburgh10166127
Tippecanoe907430
Porter865088
Johnson6866169
Hendricks6516158
Vigo634791
Monroe555550
Clark536278
Madison5335122
Delaware5130103
LaPorte486297
Kosciusko477541
Howard370378
Bartholomew340965
Warrick340173
Floyd332578
Wayne332384
Marshall314946
Cass306331
Grant290350
Hancock279357
Noble267047
Henry259037
Boone258855
Dubois247732
Dearborn233631
Jackson230634
Morgan226443
Gibson198229
Knox195221
Shelby194957
Clinton186822
DeKalb186733
Lawrence186049
Wabash175222
Adams173823
Miami173817
Daviess164945
Fayette155434
Steuben155115
Jasper153613
Montgomery152129
Harrison149924
LaGrange149331
Ripley148019
Whitley144315
Huntington136310
Decatur135643
Putnam133428
White133422
Wells132330
Clay130924
Randolph130321
Jefferson127016
Posey126918
Scott118021
Greene108553
Sullivan104416
Jay103314
Starke96124
Jennings93214
Spencer8998
Fulton87819
Perry86121
Fountain8288
Washington8267
Franklin74027
Carroll72913
Orange71028
Vermillion6777
Owen6528
Tipton61127
Parke6086
Newton57912
Rush5768
Blackford57112
Pike53720
Pulaski43415
Martin3776
Benton3703
Brown3645
Crawford3141
Union2822
Switzerland2705
Warren2583
Ohio2417
Unassigned0269

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

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