The World Health Organization, a division of the United Nations that specializes in international public health, offers these answers to frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
COVID-19 VIRUS CAN BE TRANSMITTED IN AREAS WITH HOT AND HUMID CLIMATES
From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
COLD WEATHER AND SNOW CANNOT KILL THE NEW CORONAVIRUS.
There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.
TAKING A HOT BATH DOES NOT PREVENT THE NEW CORONAVIRUS DISEASE
Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that coud occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
ARE HAND DRYERS EFFECTIVE IN KILLING THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?
No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19. To protect yourself against the novel coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.
CAN AN ULTRAVIOLET DISINFECTION LAMP KILL THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?
UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin because UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THERMAL SCANNERS IN DETECTING PEOPLE INFECTED WITH THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?
Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e., have a higher-than-normal body temperature) because of infection with the novel coronavirus.
However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes two to 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.
IS IT SAFE TO RECEIVE A LETTER OR A PACKAGE FROM CHINA?
Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as letters or packages.
CAN PETS AT HOME SPREAD THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?
At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the novel coronavirus.
However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against common bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.
DOES THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS AFFECT OLDER PEOPLE, OR ARE YOUNGER PEOPLE ALSO SUSCEPTIBLE?
People of all ages can be infected by the novel coronavirus. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus by, for example, following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
ARE ANTIBIOTICS EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTING AND TREATING THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
The novel coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for COVID-19, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC MEDICINES TO PREVENT OR TREAT THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus.
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care.
Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range of partners.