CORONAVIRUS

What We Know And Don’t Know About The Coronavirus

Mar 6, 2020, 6:41 AM | Updated: 12:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There’s a lot of misinformation going around about the coronavirus.

With so many voices sounding in our ears and through our screens, how do we separate facts from fiction? How do we move from panic to preparation?

KSL TV brought in the state’s leaders on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.

Here’s some of what we know and what we don’t know about the coronavirus.

What we know

“What we’re preparing for is that sustained widespread community transmission,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. She said at this point we know the virus spreads person to person, but exactly how is still up in the air.

“Right now, it looks like it’s spread by droplets,” she said. “That means when you sneeze or cough, those droplets get on someone else and potentially infect them if they get into your eyes, noise or mouth.”

“It could be spread airborne just by breathing,” she added, “and that’s the scary prospect.”

We also know most COVID-19 cases are mild, and that can make it more difficult to track infections.

Dunn said the cases and fatality rates are “an inflated number.”

“We’re not detecting everybody who actually has it because it is mostly a mild disease,” she said.

But is the government covering up the actual number of cases, as many have alleged online?

“That is not the way our public health system works in the U.S,” Dunn said. “It is very much local-driven. It’s the states and local communities that are identifying cases and giving that information to the federal government.”

Dunn also wanted to make it clear that, contrary to what some might believe, “the disease is not based on ethnicity or nationality. It’s not about ostracizing certain groups of people. That’s not going to help the disease at all and help the epidemic stop.”

What we don’t know

Unlike the flu, health officials aren’t yet able to predict what the coronavirus will do, when it might peak or whether it will slow down in warmer weather like other viruses.

“We don’t know that, so we don’t know how quickly it’s going to spread in the U.S.,” Dunn said. “Typically, these viruses do decrease in their ability to infect others during warmer temperatures, so if that’s the case for this we are looking forward to the summer season.”

However, Dunn said that doesn’t mean it won’t make a comeback in the winter.

“This could become a recurring virus,” she said.

How to prepare

So how should we prepare for a virus outbreak in Utah? Should residents some extra food and toilet paper on hand? Sure. But what about the water that’s been flying off the shelves?

“There is no scenario in this type of pandemic where our water supply would be impacted in any way,” said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who was recently appointed to lead the state’s coronavirus task force.

And what about the coveted mask that some people believe they won’t survive without?

“That is just not true,” Dunn said. “If you are a healthy individual, a surgical mask is not going to protect you from getting sick. Those are meant to protect those who are coughing and sneezing from spreading their germs to other people.”

What if you do get sick or think you may have the virus? What do you do then?

“If you don’t need emergency medical care, stay home and call your clinician,” Dunn said, stressing the importance of not showing up to an emergency room and overwhelming the state’s healthcare providers.

When it comes to quarantine, Eric Olsen at the Utah Labor Commission said it’s important to know your employer’s policy on leave.

“So, if someone has to take quarantine time, and they’re fired for that, it would not necessarily be seen as a discriminatory act provided that the policy is equally and equitably applied to everyone,” he said.

The leaders who are at the forefront of preparing the state said they are working to get the public the answers they need. And KSL is committed to bringing those facts from the right sources to the public so they can make informed decisions to keep themselves and their families safe.

Coronavirus Resources  

If you’re worried about whether you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professional.

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com 

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy: ksltv.com/432037/what-is-covid-19/  

Latest coronavirus stories from KSL can be found at ksltv.com/coronavirus/ 

Where in the world has the coronavirus already appeared? See the map: ksltv.com/?p=432035  

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirus: ksltv.com/?p=432060  

How do I prevent it?  

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:  

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick  
  • Avoid touching your face  
  • Stay home when you are sick  
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash  
  • 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. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.  
  • If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

FILE - Comirnaty, a new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination booster for COVID-19, is displayed at a pharmac...

Jen Christensen, CNN

The FDA tells COVID-19 vaccine makers to update shot to target newest variant

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it had advised the makers of the Covid-19 vaccines to formulate their new shots to be a better match for the JN.1 lineage of the coronavirus.

13 days ago

(FILE) A test dummy getting hit by an air bag during a crash test....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Thousands of cars equipped with faulty airbags on Utah roads as automakers issues ‘Do Not Drive’ warnings

Auto manufacturers have recalled over millions of Takata airbags because of their potential to explode and shoot out sharp metal fragments. And there are still thousands of those in cars across Utah.

16 days ago

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 03: Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy a...

Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

Fauci testifies publicly before House panel on COVID origins, controversies

Dr. Anthony Fauci is facing heated questioning from Republican lawmakers about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

18 days ago

A sign reminding Copper Hills High School students and staff to keep their hands clean during the c...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah school districts working to prioritize what stays when COVID relief money runs dry

Utah's school districts are working to figure out how they will continue to pay for programs propped up by COVID-19 relief funds.

1 month ago

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

3 months ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

What We Know And Don’t Know About The Coronavirus