There are now more than 740 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New Jersey, with nine proving to be fatal, and state officials are strongly encouraging social distancing in order to prevent the disease’s spread.
Older people and those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill, if they are infected by COVID-19. But some people may be carrying the disease, and spreading it, without even knowing it.
That’s because they may be asymptomatic — not showing any signs or symptoms of this fast-moving virus.
According to a new study released by Eurosurveillance, 18% of infected people remained asymptomatic throughout their sickness. The researchers looked at data from a recent coronavirus outbreak on a Princess Diamond cruise ship.
The CDC says the coronavirus is spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another — within 6 feet of each other. It’s generally spread by respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, or when someone touches a surface with the virus on it, then touching their face, nose, eyes or mouth.
While asymptomatic spreading is not thought to be the primary way this coronavirus is transmitted, the CDC says “some spread might be possible before people show symptoms.” People are considered to be the most contagious when they are the sickest.
How to prevent the coronavirus from spreading
Aside from avoiding contact with people who are known to be infected, medical experts say the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can “quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs,” the CDC said.
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