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Get the Facts

It is very important for us to be informed about how COVID-19 (sometimes referred to as coronavirus or novel coronavirus) works in order to prevent it from spreading. The wrong information and misleading data can be harmful and even deadly — and there is a lot of it out there — so we must educate ourselves and each other in order to protect ourselves and each other. 

So how can we recognize what information is fact and what isn’t? The most effective way to find reliable data is to look for official sources. We collected some of the most important facts about this disease and how it spreads, as well as guidance about how to prevent you and your family from getting infected. 

Don’t get caught slippin’. Get the facts.

Learn the Facts. SHARE THE FACTS!

  • So, what the hell is Covid-19, really? A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
  • Be extra careful if you fit this description. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications

  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease 
  •  Yes, you do. Though people younger than 65 are much less likely to die from COVID-19, they can get sick enough from the disease to require hospitalization. According to a report published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) in late March, nearly 40% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 between mid-February and mid-March were between the ages of 20 and 54. Drilling further down by age, MMWR reported that 20% of hospitalized patients and 12% of COVID-19 patients in ICUs were between the ages of 20 and 44.
    • People of any age should take preventive health measures like frequent hand washing, physical distancing, and wearing a mask when going out in public, to help protect themselves and to reduce the chances of spreading the infection to others.
  • Why are Black People Dying from Coronavirus more than other groups? The most common reasons this disease results in more deaths of Black and Brown people are as follows:
    • Higher rates of underlying health conditions, and less access to care; both connected to disparities from structural racism.
    • African American health: 50% are more likely to have heart disease than white people, 40% more likely to die at an early age, 19% cannot afford to see a doctor.
    • Black Americans hold a lot of ‘essential’ jobs. Essential and service workers, often with low incomes, are typically front and center of Covid-19’s sight. In addition, some people continue to work when they are sick.
    • Insufficient information
    • Housing disparities

Source, Coronavirus: Why has the virus hit African Americans so hard? By Aleem Maqbool BBC News, Washington

  • FALSE INFO: “First I heard black people weren’t affected by the coronavirus.” This was not just misinformation in New Orleans but was widespread in communities across the country.
  • In Louisiana, where 32% of the population is African American, those residents account for about 70% of coronavirus deaths.
  • US counties in which at least a 13% of the population is black account for 58% of COVID-19 deaths and 52% of cases nationwide
  • How Coronavirus spreads between people? By now, we’ve probably all heard about the importance of physical distancing and the need for face masks. This information is out there because COVID-19 is spread through close, person-to-person contactBecause there is no known vaccine to treat the disease, it is extremely important to understand how the virus works in order to take the right steps to stop the spread. It spreads between people via respiratory droplets.
    • When uninfected person comes into direct contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets
    • These droplets are transmitted through coughing, sneezing, and talking loudly
    • Droplets can land in a person’s nose, mouth or even inhaled into their lungs. The reason we must remain at least 6 feet apart from one another is because that is the distance these droplets can travel. Some reports state they can travel up to 8 feet.

FACT: COVID-19 can be spread just by breathing and talking

The virus that causes COVID-19, can live in the air and on surfaces between several hours and several days. The study found that the virus is viable for up to 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper. It is also detectable in the air for three hours.

The virus can also be spread when an uninfected person touches a surface that has the virus on it, and then touching their face. The virus can then be spread through your nose, mouth or even eyes. 

    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Then, use a household disinfectant. 
  •  Calm down. You are more likely to catch the infection through the air if you are next to someone infected than off of a surface. Cleaning surfaces with disinfectant or soap is very effective because once the oily surface coat of the virus is disabled, there is no way the virus can infect a host cell. However, there cannot be an overabundance of caution. Nothing like this has ever happened before. The CDC guidelines on how to protect yourself include:
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces that many people come in contact with. These include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Avoid touching high-contact surfaces in public.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately when you return home from a public place such as the bank or grocery store.
    • When in a public space, put a distance of six feet between yourself and others.
    • Most importantly, stay home if you are sick and contact your doctor. 
  • Infectious viruses could remain in the air for up to three hours. Respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes are heavier than aerosol (fine) droplets so they may spend less than 3 hours in the air.
    • Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your health department’s website. 
    • We are still learning about transmission of the new coronavirus. It’s not clear if it can be spread by an infected person through food they have handled or prepared, but if so, it would more likely be the exception than the rule.

That said, the new coronavirus is a respiratory virus known to spread by upper respiratory secretions, including airborne droplets after coughing or sneezing. The virus that causes COVID-19 has also been detected in the stool of certain people. So we currently cannot rule out the possibility of the infection being transmitted through food by an infected person who has not thoroughly washed their hands. In the case of hot food, the virus would likely be killed by cooking. This may not be the case with uncooked foods like salads or sandwiches.

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. 

The primary and most important mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through close contact from person-to-person; thus, it is important to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
    • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
    • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
    • Do not gather in groups.
    • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
    • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
    • head side mask icon

The cough from someone healthy expels droplets farther than someone who is sick. However, it stands to reason if an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus coughs, those germs will be expelled much farther than someone sick with the virus. This is why wearing a mask, even if you don’t feel sick, is important. Cloth face coverings provide a layer of protection and make it more difficult for droplets to travel from you to others and from others to you.  A mask, even if it’s not an N95, prevents droplets from getting into the air and reduces the risk of spreading coronavirus.

    • What type of face coverings should I wear?
      • According to the FDA, there are two main types of masks, N95 respirators and surgical masks. Both are tested for fluid resistance and filtration efficiency.
      • A healthy oxygen intake level, or the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood, ranges from 95-100%, with anything below 90% considered low, according to Mayo Clinic. 
  •  Cloth face masks should be worn in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Here are a few pointers for putting on and taking off a cloth mask:
    • Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
    • Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it’s snug.
    • Don’t touch your mask while wearing it.
    • If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
    • Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
    • Handle only by the ear loops or ties
    • Fold outside corners together
    • Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
    • Regularly wash your mask with soap and water in the washing machine. It’s fine to launder it with other clothes.
    • Dry it in the sun.

Here are a few face mask precautions:

  • Don’t put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
  • Don’t put masks on children under 2 years of age.
  • Don’t use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.


  • It’s safe for most people to exercise while wearing a face mask. You may feel constricted at first, but your body will adjust to the available airflow. If you start to experience lightheadedness, dizziness, numbness or tingling and shortness of breath, slow down or stop exercising. If those symptoms continue, contact your health care provider.
    • If you do need to take your mask off, always follow your state’s public health rules and try to maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people.
    • Because of the increase in breathing resistance, you may feel out of breath quicker than normal. Over time, your body will adapt and become more efficient at metabolizing oxygen. The breathing resistance can also build up strength in your lungs and cardiovascular system.  Make sure you pay attention to how you are feeling and don’t overexert yourself.
    • People who have underlying cardiovascular or respiratory conditions should take caution when exercising with a face mask on
  •  There is no evidence to support that the general public — which doesn’t typically wear masks for prolonged periods of time  — will experience significant reductions in oxygen intake level, resulting in hypoxemia. While CO2 can build up in face masks, it is unlikely that wearing a mask will cause hypercapnia.
  • Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
    • Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
      • Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
      • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
      • Touch a contaminated surface or objects
      • Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially:
        • When you’ve been in a public place, or
        • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
        • Before, during and after preparing food
        • Before eating food
        • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
        • Before and after treating a cut or wound
        • After using the bathroom
        • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
        • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
        • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
        • After handling pet food or pet treats
        • After touching garbage
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places—elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Common Coronavirus Symptoms. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.  If you suspect you may have Coronavirus, call your health care professional right away. 

    • Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately
      • Trouble breathing
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion
      • Inability to wake or stay awake
      • Bluish lips or face
      • *This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

  •   Asymptomatic means they don’t show any symptoms at all, making it extremely easy for them to pass the virus on to someone else without even knowing it.
    • FACT: 80% of people known to be infected with the virus are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms.
    • Eric D. Griggs is the resident medical expert for WBOK 1230AM in New Orleans. In the video below, Dr. Griggs explains that most people we know of who are infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or show only mild symptoms.
  • This is why following safety guidelines, even if you are not sick, is so important. An asymptomatic person could easily infect a person who is immunocompromised.
  • An immunocompromised person is someone whose immune system is not able to fight off infection as well as a strong, healthy person’s immune system can (such as people who have cancer or receiving chemotherapy).
  • An asymptomatic person could also easily infect someone 65 or older. Dr. Griggs says the older you are, the deadlier the disease is. That’s because older people are more likely to have chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes that make fighting off the virus more difficult.
  •  During the recovery process, people with COVID-19 might experience recurring symptoms alternating with periods of feeling better. Varying degrees of fever, fatigue and breathing problems can persist for days or even weeks.
  •  Symptoms of COVID-19 usually show up from two to 14 days after exposure to the new coronavirus, but some people who are infected do not develop symptoms or feel ill.
  •  It is possible to be infected with the new coronavirus and have a cough or other symptoms with no fever, or a very low-grade one, especially in the first few days. Keep in mind that it is also possible to have COVID-19 with minimal or even no symptoms at all.
  •  Like adults, babies and children with COVID-19 can have fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing and diarrhea. Children with COVID-19 generally have milder illness and rarely require treatment at a hospital, but in a few reported cases, very young babies have become seriously ill with pneumonia due to infection with the new coronavirus.

Louisiana Department of Health warns about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.

  • Allergies are common in the spring months, and can cause itchy eyes, stuffy nose and sneezing. The common cold can show up with these symptoms and others, such as a low-grade fever or cough. Strep throat is a bacterial illness with symptoms that include a sore throat and fever. COVID-19 shows up most often with fever, shortness of breath and cough.

It is not always easy to tell these two diseases apart without a test. Your doctor may recommend a test for the flu if you have symptoms. As of April, flu transmission has tapered off in most areas of the United States

Learn the Facts. SHARE THE FACTS!

It’s important that our communities are informed and equipped with the facts in order for us to STOP the spread of this Virus.  Share this  information with your family and friends through all of your networks!  It could mean the difference between LIFE and DEATH!



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