Coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to make headlines as the virus spreads across the globe. It's easy for fears to escalate as cases rise in the United States, but there is no need to panic. On Twitter this week, Governor Parson relayed findings from his meetings with health officials, including the confirmation that no cases have been confirmed in Missouri. In a hearing held at the MO State Capitol last week, Missouri health experts addressed concerns and presented advice on how we can combat the disease.
The most valuable thing you can do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, experts say, is to wash your hands at regular intervals throughout the day with soap and water for 20 seconds at a time. Though it might seem like a safety barrier, wearing masks is not an effective defense. "Those things do not particularly protect the wearer," Dr. Stevan Whitt, an infectious disease specialist at MU Health Care said. "They mostly protect people who are infected from transmitting the virus. They don't really filter air, they trap particles." Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams echoed his remarks. "To wear masks (when you're not sick), that's just a false sense of security," he said. "If you have (the virus) and you wear a mask, that's helpful." Health officials urged those who are feeling unwell to stay home unless they are seeking medical care at a hospital or clinic.
The coronavirus presents with similar symptoms as the common cold, with an added fever 100.4 and higher, along with respiratory distress. People who are not short of breath, not light-headed and still able to eat and drink can likely ride out the coronavirus as they would with any other virus, health officials said. Out of an abundance of caution, officials say to decide whether or not to visit the doctor using this method: "If your grandma would send you to the doctor, you should go." For more information on the coronavirus, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.