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What we know about SARS-CoV-2

Home » What we know about SARS-CoV-2

Updated 9/12/2020

  • COVID-19 is a serious disease, far more contagious than the flu. Children and young people are not immune, though they may not demonstrate severe symptoms. It seems that children can, however, carry as large a viral load as adults.
  • It is impossible to predict how any person exposed to SARS-CoV-2 is going to respond. Some of us have no symptoms. Many have mild symptoms. Others get extremely sick, and survive the illness with debilitating long-term effects including organ damage. Others are hospitalized for weeks and some don’t survive. The Coronavirus Resource Centerat Johns Hopkins tracks cases in the U.S. worldwide.
  • The main way people are getting sick with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (“novel coronavirus”) is from respiratory droplets spreading between people in close quarters. Droplets and aerosols are released from people’s mouths and noses when they breathe, talk, cough, sing, or sneeze. Other people can breathe them in.
  • People who display no symptoms of COVID-19 can spread the virus.
  • We still don’t know enough about whether people who have had COVID-19 are immune to getting it a second time.
  • The severity of COVID-19 symptoms is correlated with the intensity and duration of the exposure.
  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include some but not all of the following: 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, and diarrhea.
  • Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 that require immediate medical care include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and bluish lips or face.
  • Some people feel perfectly well but have very low levels of oxygen in the blood (“silent hypoxia“)
  • There have been studies showing that the virus can remain on surfaces for several hours or even days.
  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds), not touching your nose or mouth, keeping social distance of at least 6 feet, and wearing a mask (to protect others as well as to keep you from touching your nose and mouth) are the main ways to keep everyone safe.
  • Many of our dental procedures generate aerosols, which we are minimizing (see our protocols)
  • Information about the reliability of COVID-19 testingis incomplete.