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Frequently Asked Questions

Sources: CDC, CNN and MOPH.

What percentage of people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms? Are they still contagious?

Why worry about coronavirus when the flu kills many more people?

When will social distancing end?

Can coronavirus spread through water, like in a pool or hot tub?

There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans in pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.

Can high or low temperatures kill coronavirus?

Generally, coronaviruses survive for shorter periods at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. However, we don’t have direct data for this virus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature-based cutoff for inactivation at this point. Therefore, we are not yet sure whether the epidemic will taper off as the weather gets warmer.

Is it safe to get takeout from restaurants?

Yes, but you may want to wipe down the packaging and containers, just in case. There’s no evidence to suggest coronavirus is transmitted through food. It’s generally spread through respiratory droplets. But it’s a good idea to disinfect the takeout containers and wash your hands afterward.

For more on Coronavirus and food please check this link:

How long does coronavirus stay “alive” on surfaces?

Up to three days, depending on the surface. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

If people can spread the virus without showing any symptoms, how can I tell who’s infected and who’s not?

You can’t because we are not testing everybody, so we can’t tell who has it and who doesn’t. That’s why it’s critical to avoid crowds, stay at least two meters away from others, wash or disinfect your hands, and stop touching your face.

How do I safely take care of someone who’s sick?

With limited testing nationwide, it may be difficult to know whether your loved one has coronavirus or another illness. So it’s critical to play it safe and not infect yourself and, in turn, others. When in doubt, or if your loved one has confirmed COVID-19, take the following precautions:

What are the symptoms?

How does it spread?

It primarily spreads between people through respiratory droplets (coughs, sneeze, or spittle). You can also get coronavirus by touching infected surfaces, then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

For more on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check this link.

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. When you speak, touch your face, then touch surfaces, you can contribute to spreading the virus.  However, wearing a mask can do 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.

Can coronavirus go through skin and into the body?

A person could get infected 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. More often than not, people catch the 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.

How long is someone contagious after getting Coronavirus?

It varies. Decisions about when a person can be released from isolation are made on a case-by-case basis. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends releasing someone from isolation when all of these requirements are met: 

Do I need to wear a mask to prevent coronavirus?

No one from my family has been exposed to the virus, and no one is sick. Can we get together for a family dinner? There are 10 of us, ages four to 82.

No one can say for sure that they haven’t been exposed to the virus. Some carriers of coronavirus don’t have any symptoms at all. But they can still pass on the virus without knowing it. Asymptomatic transmission one of the ways this virus is spread. Infectious disease experts say those older than 60 are at much higher risk of getting seriously ill if they’re exposed to coronavirus. If you must socialize, it’s important to stay at least two meters away from others. Do not hug or kiss, wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, and do not touch your face.

Are kids more at risk?

Younger people seem to be insulated to some extent from getting particularly sick from this virus. We don’t really know why. But while children might have mild to no symptoms, they are vectors and can transmit the disease to others.  Like everyone else, children should wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, stay at least two meters away away from anyone coughing or sneezing, and stop touching their faces. It is recommended that they distance themselves from older and more vulnerable family members for the time being.

Is coronavirus especially harmful for pregnant women?

There’s not enough data yet. “Adverse infant outcomes” like premature births have been reported among infants born to mothers who’ve tested positive for coronavirus during pregnancy, the CDC says. But it’s not clear if these outcomes were related to maternal infection, so the risk is unknown.

Should I disinfect my groceries? If so, how?

We suggest wiping down external surfaces of canned or wrapped foods and removing food from their packaging. You should wash your fruits vegetables with soap and water, and then wash and sanitize your hands when done.

Do I need to isolate myself if I’m not diagnosed?

Adults 60 and older and people with severe chronic illnesses are more likely to get very sick if they’re infected, so those people must stay at home as much as possible. Lebanon has issued nationwide quarantine to contain the virus, but after this phase is over, use caution when going in public. Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated buildings, and frequently wash your hands before, during and after your trip out. If you suspect you’re sick, or have recently returned from an area where an outbreak has been reported, stay home.


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