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Welcome to W.H.O.. This is an opportunity for you to ask the questions you want answered about the cosied, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that has has caused outbreaks in a number of different countries. I'm Dr. Margaret Harris and I'm here today with Dr. Murray Van Kolkhoz, who's a expert in corona viruses and respiratory diseases and is here to explain what you can do to protect yourself. Over here, Maria. So, hi, everybody. Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Yes, I'm with the World Health Organization and I'm the technical lead for this novel coronavirus outbreak called Colvard 19 on which I'm sure you've heard a lot about.
So I'm going to ask Maria a few questions, but we also offer you the chance to ask your questions via Facebook and via Twitter on Facebook. I'll give you the way to ask your questions. You can do it via the comments section and on Twitter, you can ask your questions by using the hashtag ask W.H.O.. So, Maria, what can people do to protect themselves if they if if they're in an area where there's currently an outbreak of cosied? So thanks, Margaret, for this question.
This is a really important question, because there's many things that you can do as an individual to protect yourself and to protect your family against this novel coronavirus. The first thing is very simple. The first thing is to wash your hands regularly. And it sounds very simple. It doesn't sound very exciting, but it is incredibly important that you make sure that you wash your hands with soap and water and make sure you get your chid, your kids to wash their hands as well.
And if you don't have soap and water, you can use an alcohol based rub. That's the first thing. And the second thing that you can do is what we call practicing respiratory etiquette. And what that means is when you sneeze or if you cough, that you do that in a in a folded elbow and you sneeze or cough into your elbow or you use a tissue and then you throw that tissue away and then you make sure you wash your hands.
And the third thing that is really important is to educate yourself. So make sure that you have the latest information about novel coronavirus, about Cauvin 19 from your parents, from W.H.O., from trusted sources, and make sure that you know what the latest information is about this. This is a rapidly changing situation. And every single day, we are learning more and more about this virus. And so the more we learn, the more we want you to know about this.
And by educating yourself, by knowing more about this, you can make sure that you protect yourself and you protect your family. But it's not so easy, really, to always wash your hands, to keep those hands clean. And there's another secret, isn't there, Maria? How does the virus get into your body? What whereabouts is it? Yeah, getting so yes, washing your hands is is difficult. And it is something that you have to do many, many times a day.
And as a mom myself, I know I tell my kids all the time to wash your hands and wash your hands regularly. When you before you go to bathroom, after you go to the bathroom, when you're cooking food, before you cook food, after you eat your food. You have to do that many, many times a day. But this is a respiratory virus. This is a respiratory causing respiratory disease, which means that many people have signs and symptoms like like the common cold, almost.
You know, they'll have a fever. They'll have a cough. Some people may have shortness of breath, which means that their chest hurts a little bit. It is hard for them to breathe. But what we know about this virus is how it how it transmits between people is through close contact and through respiratory droplets, which means you have to be close to one another within a meter or two, which is three to six feet. And if I were to sneeze right now on you or cough on you right now, I would pass some droplets to you.
And those droplets could go into your eye. They can go into your mouth, into your nose. So you have to make sure that if you do cough, you cover your mouth so that those particles, those those droplets, those little droplets don't actually infect someone else. So when should people be wearing a mask? So that's a good question.
So there's a lot of people W.H.O. recommends that you wear a mask if you're sick. So if you have respiratory symptoms, what you do is you wear a mask and there's important ways in which you put the mask on. And often we have some good videos that show a proper way to put it on and off. But you're using a mask to protect other people. So if you have symptoms, you're protected and you wear a mask, then you protect yourself from getting those droplets onto other people.
And what happens if you're, say, coughing into your mask and it gets very wet at the front. You need to replace your mask. And so this is a hard one, because we do see a lot of people wear masks and they. And they they. We wear them, so it's important that you take them off from the sides. You don't touch the front. You take them off from the sides. Discard them. Wash your hand and put another mask on.
And when you discard them, you would make sure that you discard them somewhere safe. That's covered. That's right. In a bin that is covered. Yes, that's right. So we have quite a few questions. A lot of questions pouring in. Thank you to everybody who's watching and asking brilliant questions. I'll start with some one from I'll start with one from Casey Carmichael. Thank you for your question. You're asking, why don't you, Remick, recommend longer quarantine than 14 days?
Is this because the other false negatives and outliers? Should we have a quarantine longer than 14 days? So thank you, Casey, for that question. That's a good one. What we recommend is for when you do contact tracing that you have to identify the cases, you identify their contacts, and then you follow them for a certain number of days. And we the important number of days has to do with what we call the incubation period, which is a big fancy word.
That basically means from the time that you are infected to the time that you develop symptoms and 14 days is the upper end of the incubation period that we are following. We believe that most people will be well, we'll show symptoms after infection about five or six days after they are actually infected. And yes, there are possibly some outliers of some upper upper numbers. But what we look for in when we tried to find that number is we look for case pairs.
So if I'm a case and you are one of my contacts, that we follow you for a certain number of time to determine how long it takes for you to develop symptoms. And that's actually very hard to do in an ongoing outbreak. So we are constantly looking at data that's coming from countries. And as of right now, we we feel very firm and confident that 14 days is the right upper bound. And you mentioned symptoms. What symptoms should people be looking out for?
So the symptoms that you should be looking out for are respiratory symptoms. So signs and symptoms. So a cough, dry cough, shortness of breath. Very few people actually have a runny nose or sneeze. We I've just recently returned from China and I've just spent two weeks in China working with incredible colleagues that are working very hard to really understand this outbreak. And what they've learned from more than 70000 thousand cases in China is that very few people actually have runny nose or actually sneeze.
Most people will have a fever. Most people will have a cough. And then some people will feel generally unwell to have maybe some muscle pain. And what we do worry about is anyone that has shortness of breath or chest pain to make sure that they seek health care very quickly. That's great. Now we have another interesting question from Andrew Markey. Often all funny do. And I apologize if I've got your name incorrectly. Is there any chance we'll have tests available in a mess way so that people don't have to wait for hospital testing?
I think you're referring to point of care tests that can be done very quickly. Yeah. So thank you, Andrew. That's a good question. So right from the start of this outbreak, we've been working very hard. The whole global community has been working very hard to have tests available. And these are called PCR tests. These are molecular based tests, which basically you take a swab as a sample from some of your upper respiratory passages in your nose and in a little bit further down your throat to be able to quickly determine if you have covered 19 or if you have something else.
Very quickly, within within a week of identifying this outbreak, this cluster of pneumonia in China. Chinese authorities shared a sequence and that's the RNA, that's the blueprints of what this virus is in. And by doing so, they were able to help the entire world, including China, but other countries as well develop these these tests so that you can actually determine if someone is infected. It usually takes it depends on where you are in the world, but it usually takes a matter of hours to maybe a day to get your results back.
And so in some situations, that's just too long. So we're working very hard to make sure that we have what's called a point of care test or bedside test so that you can have a really rapid within minutes test result. We're not quite there yet, but there are a lot of virologists in laboratories who are working hard to make sure that those tests are done quicker. Thank you. That's that's really good news. Darren té wants to know if covered 19 is is airborne.
Darren So thank you, Darren, for that question. So no, Cauvin, 19, is not airborne. Cauvin, 19, transmits the droplets. And what we mean are these small little particles of moisture liquid. And these these particles, when they come out of your mouth, they drop. And so that's why we say between. 2 meters. Anything beyond that? And they don't they don't disperse. So, no, it's not airborne. But the one thing I should say is that in health care facilities, what we tell our health care workers and I've just want to say how grateful we are to all of the health care workers who are working to treat patients, particularly in China.
But not just in China. We know you're on the frontlines and we're very grateful for all of the hard work that you were doing. We do tell health care workers that when they are treating patients, sometimes they have to do procedures on sick, very sick patients where they have to integrate them. And sometimes you have particles that can be dispersed much further than just that one to two meters. And so in those situations, we tell healthcare workers you have to use airborne precautions.
And so there may be some confusion out there when we say airborne precautions. Those are for health care workers performing very specific procedures. But for every day. No, that's great. The next question is, is there any association between the flu and between this this Cofield virus? So that's a very good question, too. I get that question quite, quite a lot. So Cauvin, 19, is not influenza. It is the it is a respiratory virus.
And so it's very difficult to determine in the early stages of illness of whether or not you have flu or if you have Koven 19 or if you have another respiratory pathogen that that's circulating around. But it is not flu. And the reason we know this is because we know it transmits a little bit differently in terms of, you know, who is most affected, who who has the higher risk of being infected. It's a very serious disease as flu is.
And so for Cauvin, 19, the majority of people. 80 percent of people who get infected with Cauvin, 19, will have a mild disease and will recover. But there is about 20 percent of people that will go on to develop severe disease and will require some advanced care in a hospital. But like I said, I've just come back from China. And what we learned there, one of the really most important things that we learned there is that many people who have had severe disease are now going on to recover.
So it doesn't mean that if you have a severe disease that you will die. It means that you will get the right care in a health care facility and you have a good chance of survival. So that is very good news. And would you say that people who get severe disease start with what looks like a mild disease, but become ill? So getting to care really will help them? Yes.
And we do know. Yes. So you when you begin when you are infected, you do start out with a mild disease. What we look for are what we call risk factors for severe disease. And what that means is that are there certain individuals that have maybe some underlying medical conditions or who are maybe of older age that have a higher risk of developing severe disease? And we know that people who are over 60 people who have underlying disease, like cardiovascular disease or an underlying respiratory chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, they have a higher risk of having a severe disease.
OK, we've got another question that I have certainly seen come up in all sorts of places from Casey Karmichael, who asks, can virus particles survive inside packages?
So that's a very good question. We've seen that a lot. And we actually have that on our Mythbusters, which is on our Web site, which is trying to address some questions that many people, many people have. So there are some studies that are ongoing right now that look at virus survival. And so what that means is how long can a virus. Can you actually detect a live virus on a surface and for how long? And so these are some preliminary, preliminary studies.
We don't have the full results yet. But what we know from other coronavirus is like SaaS and like Meurs as that on packages on certain like cardboard materials that it doesn't last very long. And so. No. So you won't it won't stay viable. It won't be alive. The virus won't be alive for a very long period of time. What is important, though, on certain other surfaces, like plastic or like in health care facilities, that the virus can be inactivated or killed, if you will, by disinfectants.
And so, as I'm sure everyone is saying, you know, when you clean your your house, you clean in health care facilities, it will inactivate the virus. And you're talking about any kind of disinfectant. Normally ones with bleach. So in our guidance materials, we have some details on what that actually means. How many parts bleach versus how many parts water. But yes, since some some bleach would be good. So if you want to know more about disinfectants and disinfecting your services, go to the W.H.O.
site, go in and look at the guidance. You'll find it on the Corona virus and you'll find all that information. Now, Sara Lubitsch asks, How can individuals find out if they were? Cases near them. So, Sara, that's an interesting question. So there I've seen I don't know the actually no, a good answer to that. What I what I can say is that I have seen in some countries they use a lot of data, big data, and they have ways in which you can see on a map if there are cases nearby you.
I haven't seen that here in Switzerland where we're based, but I have seen that in some other countries. But I think if you're concerned, like I said, educate yourself about what is happening around you, watch the news, talk to your parents, talk to talk to loved ones, talk to your health care provider. You know, if you have some concerns, make sure that you address those concerns and you get some good answers. And, you know, there's a lot of good information online, but there's also a lot of bad information online.
So make sure you check the W.H.O. Web site and you can see we have a situation report that we put up every single day. And so you can see the latest information that we have. And correct me if I'm wrong, but even if you have, say, somebody in the next house who's ill with coronavirus, if you're doing all the sensible things to protect yourself, if your washing your hands, cleaning your surfaces, you're going to be all right.
That's right. That's right. It's not in the air, you know, circulating around like that. And I think if I could just take this opportunity to say, you know, in the in the last few weeks, what I've seen in China is this overwhelming involvement of the community. Everyone is involved in this fight against coronavirus, and that is really powerful. So I want everyone watching this to know that you can do something about this. What we mentioned the beginning of washing your hands, sneezing into your elbow.
Educating yourself. You can take control, you know, and make sure that you protect yourself and you protect your families. And everyone in China is is really working towards fighting this disease. And that is really a wonderful thing. There's another interesting question here from Nura. Noriaki argues, If we've already got influenza vaccination, will that protect us from coronavirus? That's a good question. So unfortunately, an influenza virus will not protect you against Koven 19, but an influenza virus will protect you against influenza.
So that is that is very important. There are vaccines that are in development right now for Cauvin 19 and for coronaviruses. And these coronavirus vaccines have been in developed development actually for many years, starting with SaaS, which is Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus, and Murs, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. Now, what scientists are doing is that they're taking the work that they've done for those pathogens and trying to use that to build vaccines for Koven 19.
So they're in development. They're not ready yet. But we are working very hard with many partners to try to push that and make that happen a lot quicker. And so then we have another interesting question about treatment from Louie's phone, Harries. He asks if a person contracts at 19 and then it goes to pneumonia. Will they be treated with antibiotics or will be treated differently because it's a viral pneumonia?
So that's a good question. So so as I mentioned, the majority of a majority of people who are infected with Koven, 19, will have a mild disease, which may actually include a mild form of pneumonia. And so normally that you're treated based on your symptoms coming in, antibiotics will not work against Koven 19 because that's a virus. But I know that you could have a co-infection with a bacteria and an antibiotic may be helpful for that, but it won't actually work against a virus.
Antibiotics don't work against viruses, unfortunately. So we've got another question, which is interesting. It's a little bit about testing and you've explained. But carolina.. Gomez wants to know what's the procedure for detecting with somebody who's got coronavirus? What? What do we need to know? So the first thing is, is about what you can do. And so W.H.O. recommends that if you're feeling unwell just in general, you stay home for a few days. But if you have symptoms that have fever and have shortness of breath, in particular, make sure that you go seek health care early.
And in that case, you would talk with your health care provider and you would tell them what you've been doing, you know, tell them how you're feeling. And they will ask you some questions and they will probably ask you where you've been in the last 14 days. And so if you've been recently to an area where there is covered 19 transmission, they get support. And to say that covered 19 is not everywhere in the world. It's in certain places right now.
It's in China. We have seen some cases in Italy and in Iran and in other locations in Korea and Japan. But it's not everywhere. And so your health care provider will likely ask you, where have you been? And then they'll take a sample. And it's usually like a long Q-Tip. And you're that you're a doctor. There's a long Q-Tip. And they they they'll you know, it's a little uncomfortable, but it's not painful. It's not painful.
And they'll take a sample and then they'll they'll do a test to see if you have covered 19 and then that test, as we said, might take a while because they have to do a quick complex test in the laboratory, in the laboratory. You'll know within about 24, 48 hours. I believe that's the typical timeframe. Yes. But normally, again, if if we're concerned that somebody has cosied, they will probably be asked to stay in the hospital in isolation at that point.
If you are if you're positive. Yes. Then you will be, I'm sure, admitted for care and making sure that, you know, we give you the best care that we can. Is there such Sergeant Ali asks company. Interesting question. He wants to know whether there are re-infection. Do people get reinfected? Have we seen. That's a very good question.
I have not I'm not aware of people being reinfected with Koven, 19. What we know is that people who develop this disease, they will be sick for some time. But for a matter of weeks. But then when they recover, I have not heard of anyone being re-infected with Koven 19. But we have to remember, this is very early days of this outbreak. This outbreak was detected on December 30 first. And we're seven weeks or I don't even know with even the day is today, but it's seven weeks.
It's very quick. So there's a lot of knowledge that we're accumulating every single day. And so that will be that is one of the questions that we have. And we will be looking for answers towards that and in the coming weeks.
So we'll be hearing every every day. So you'll be able to find out more. We we've got the big question I've heard many, many times comes from Joy Flores, Corpus Corpuz. What about asymptomatic transmission? Is this occurring? This is also a very good question. So what we know about people who are infected with this virus, as I mentioned, most people will have mild disease. Some people who have severe disease and some people will die. There are individuals who have very, very mild disease and some of them will shed virus, which means that they can transmit to other people.
We are aware of case reports of some individuals, a small proportion of individuals who are I wouldn't even say asymptomatic, but pre symptomatic meaning it's a few days before they develop symptoms themselves. And many times when we go back and we talk to them, we find out that they truly weren't asymptomatic, which means no symptoms at all. And so when you go back and you interview them, oftentimes you say, well, actually, I wasn't feeling very well.
So it's it's this pre symptomatic phase or mildly symptomatic phase. Having said that, it is possible and we do have some case reports of truly asymptomatic people that are that can infect, but we don't believe that they play a major role in transmission. We believe that people who are symptomatic are the ones that are transmitting the virus to others. So it's rare, but possible. It's rare but possible. It's very rare. Yes.
And not a major we say not a major driver of transmission, which is a fancy way of saying we don't believe it. There are the people who are most important in transmission and important things and not the people to fear either.
Right. And when you mentioned pre symptomatic, you mean really in the early stages, maybe the first symptoms and just feeling like a train hit you feeling exhausted and and and aching, but wondering if you just overdid it the night before. Right. Right. That's right. That's right. So we've got a few questions about temperature now. Casey, again. But it's a good question. So you get another question, Kaseem up, Karmichael. What will it do in warmer temperatures versus colder temperatures?
What will the virus do in warmer temperatures versus colder temps? Well, we are we are learning about what this virus can do in different countries. And so I think I think, again, this is one of the good questions that we're starting to accumulate some knowledge of. You know, there's a lot of cases in China. You know, I I don't know the percentage today of how many cases are in China compared to the rest of the world.
But it's the vast majority still. And there's some colder climates there. I was in Beijing recently, but I was also in Gwon Joe, which is more southern part of the country, which was much warmer. And so you do see transmission. It's too early to say if temperature in terms of outside temperature has anything to do with virus circulation. But we need to prepare ourselves that this virus can transmit between people anywhere that it goes. And so you need to be ready and you need to make sure.
Again, I'm going to say again that you wash your hands regularly with soap and water and make sure that you you wash thoroughly or you use an alcohol based rub. You make sure that you practice respiratory etiquette where you sneeze into your elbow or cough into a tissue and throw that away and make sure you keep yourself educated, know what's going on in your area so that you can better protect yourself and your family. And on that, yes, we're getting quite a few questions about traveling.
What should you do when traveling? kyar on my own, he says. Should we wear a mask when travelling? She mentions that she knows this only helps people already infected not to spread it, but does it help preventing get it? So there's a lot of things that you could do to protect yourself while travelling and that have to do with Cauvin 19, but have nothing to do with Cauvin 19. And that and that is making sure that you you travel when you're well, you know, you're feeling well, you and your family making sure again, you wash your hands a lot.
You practice respiratory hygiene, making sure that when you eat food, you know, you're eating cooked food or that you wash food, making sure that it's wash before you consume them. We recommend wearing a mask when you yourself are ill. And so just wearing a mask in general. No, but making sure that if you're having symptoms, respiratory symptoms, that you wear a mask. And we have another interesting question from Kiev, Ethiopia. How many?
What's the rate of infection in children? Many children infected so high kill. That's a that's a great question. And one of the big concerns of many that we have about Cauvin 19. There was a really big report that came out of China. I think it was last week where it was looking at 55000 cases that had occurred in China and very few were among children. I think it was 2 percent of those infected were among children. And that's a very low number.
And that's important to know because in flu, for example, children are really important in transmitting this virus. But in Cauvin, 19, they don't seem to be. We don't know why yet. And so that's a big point of research and to help with our understanding of what that actually means. But even the children who are infected, many of them will have mild disease.
Okay, well, that's reassuring. Another question that we've certainly had before and I know we've got Mythbuster side, but it's an important one. Can it be passed on from Pitz and also from chickens? Marilyn Drysdale asks.
So I'm not aware of any evidence that this virus transmits between pets and people. And people are looking. And so there's a lot of investigations that are that are on underway. They have not found this virus in an animal yet in the zoo. And atick source of what we believe initially that this outbreak began with people who were in contact with wild animals, not pets. But we have no evidence of this virus in pets and no evidence of this virus transmitting between pets and people.
And what about chickens or chickens or pets to chickens or pets to chickens? So. Yes, yes.
Okay. A lot of people are asking about treatments. Have we got any treatments? We know we're doing a lot of studies. Have we seen any medicines that seem to be helping people recover more quickly?
So as you just mentioned, there's a lot of studies that are underway. And so when we have an outbreak like this, it's really important that these studies are done the right way. And we call these clinical trials and they have to be done in a way that we look at the appropriate use of that treatment compared to some others. And we don't have results from those yet. But in China, there's more than 100 clinical trials that are ongoing. Some are using Western medicine and some are using traditional Chinese medicine.
So we were just in China. We were asking about these questions. And so we know of a number of questions that are being investigated in patients with patient consent, of course, but we don't have results of those yet. So hopefully very soon we will have some results that we can share. Here's an interesting question from Praveen Ganapathy. What about swimming pools? What would be the best? Praveen asks two questions. We've already talked about. Bleach Blache based cleaning agents.
Brevin asks about that, but she also asks, what about using swimming pools? Well, that's a very interesting question. I think you can use swimming pools, just just find many swimming pools, have chlorine in them. And we haven't heard of any transmission happening in swimming pools that I'm aware of. And that's a good question. But I'm not aware of any transmission happening with relation to swimming pools. And that is happening in places where they would be swimming pools.
Yes, yes, of course. Of course. So there's a lot of these types of questions. These are really good questions that you're asking. So thank you for sending them in. We tried to get answers to those through what we call epidemiologic studies and what we look at as we go. We talked to a patient. We talked to people who are infected and people who are not infected. And we say, what did you do? And ask the same question to the people who are not infected.
And through those types of investigations, we learn what are called risk factors for infection. And so what we look for our travel history, what type of jobs you may have, what types of exposures you may have had in the 14 days before you got sick. So those are the types of risk factors that we would look for. But swimming pools are not one of them. Okay. And in fact, it's probably good to ask what other risk factors you're finding.
And it's always. No, not yet. So what what we're looking at right now, the risk. Actors for four severe disease, we know, are these underlying medical conditions that I mentioned earlier. So the cardiovascular disease, diabetes, underlying chronic respiratory diseases, older age, those those put you at risk for developing severe disease. And now we've got an interesting one from Hollywood in Hot Ebe. Should we stop our kids from going to school? So that that's a very good question.
And as a mom of two myself, I can understand where that question is coming from. So it depends on where you live. Right now, a lot of the schools in China are closed right now after the holidays, after the Chinese New Year. And the spring festival in some of those schools are going to be opening again soon. And here where we where we don't have a transmission, it's perfectly safe to send your children to school. And here's another here's another question.
I'm not quite sure who it's from. I'm sorry, but it's what actions we take. If a work colleague has a fever and is coughing but refuses to seek medical attention and continues working.
Well, the first thing to do is talk to your colleague and just ask them how they're doing. Have a conversation. You know, I just because you have a fever and a cough doesn't mean that you're infected with cold with 19. That's really important. Also, flu season, you know, so there's a lot of people around who have the sniffles, who have a cough, who have a fever. Talk to your colleague. You know, find out how you can help them.
And what's important is that they seek medical care, especially if they have chest pain, if they have difficulty breathing. And then the doctor will ask them what you know, where have you been in the last 14 days? And that's what you that's what that will trigger, maybe or not. They get a test for this. Koven 19. And at this time, do you think people should be having conversations with their employers about if if the outbreak occurs where they are, can they work from home?
What are there other other ways in which they can work while not necessarily being in the office?
Yeah, that's a good idea. I mean, just having conversations with you, with your families, you know, express your concerns, talk to your employers and just see see what your plans are. It's very important. And we talk to to all everyone in the world about getting ready. You know, what would you need to do if this virus were to show up? You know, how can you make sure that you continue to be able to work?
And there's a lot of ways in which you can work from home, if that's possible, with your with your type of job. But talk to your. Talk to your families. Express your concerns. Don't hide them in, because there's a lot of good information that is out there that can help educate you on, you know, what this is. And even more importantly, what it isn't. Yes. And on that, again, a lot of people have young children.
So we're seeing quite a lot of school closures and people then have to stay home because they have to look after their children. So, again, this is something you would recommend discuss with your employees. Now, what are you going to do? Yeah.
Yes, I. This is a conversation that needs to continue to happen. As I mentioned earlier, this situation, this outbreak is evolving very quickly. We're learning all the time new things about this. Please come back to the W.H.O. Web site and look at what we have posted. There's new postings every day, whether they are situation reports, which gives you an overview of the latest cases and what W.H.O. is doing. There are Mythbusters. There are videos that can help you teach you about, you know, like I said, how to wash your hands, how to make sure you wear masks appropriately.
And many other things would please do continually, you know, read about this and look at the Web sites and make sure you have the latest information at hand. Now at Diagnose wants to know. The question that many want to understand is how can you tell the difference between just a common cold or or and the coronavirus?
So in the early stages, you can't you know, in the early stages, it's very difficult. But what we say is if you're in an area where this virus is circulating, you know, it's important to either call your medical facility if you're just feeling generally unwell. But as I mentioned, if you do advance to having shortness of breath, make sure that you seek health care immediately and say what you've done, say where you've traveled. And then the only way to distinguish is through to is through a test.
I just want to say, I can't believe if people are watching us from all around the world, we've got people from Angola, UK, Vietnam, Peru, Indonesia. The list is so low. It's wonderful. So glad and excited. And that's what we're here for, to share information and to answer your questions. And I've got another interesting question. Can it spread through drinking water? Not that I'm aware of. No, it cannot. It cannot spread through drinking water as it spreads.
It spreads through through close contact and through droplet. As I mentioned earlier. But not through drinking water. No.
And it's a repeat of an earlier question. But I think there's. A lot of concern because I've seen a lot of questions about touching surfaces. People are worried about touching paper, plastic and cardboard surfaces. And this this viewer asks, do you recommend wearing gloves?
So if you you touch many surfaces all the time, all day. And so what is important is that you are able to do that, but that you make sure you wash your hands. So you washing your hands with soap and water will remove any threat that you have there. Just make sure that you wash thoroughly. Or use an alcohol based rub. And he is. It was kind of related question, can it be transmitted via aerosol transmission by flushing the toilet?
I think the question I remember seesaws incident in Hong Kong where this occurred. So, no, not that that's nope. What would be good to do is if you close the lid after before you flush the toilet to make sure that nothing spreads that way, but not necessarily the virus, it making sure that you close that lid and flush flush the toilet before you go out.
OK. We've got many, many more questions, but we've run out of time. So we're going to keep on repeating this. Keep a watch and we will be there to answer your questions. Thank you so much, Dr. Van Kirchhoff. Thank you. And thank you, everybody, for for everybody for joining us. Thank you.