11 Important Answers to Your Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions

Last Updated: Wednesday April 8th 2020, 10:28 EST.

Here at Healthy Enough, it’s always been our goal to offer you ‘no-nonsense’ advice for practical health and fitness. This approach is more important than ever given the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The facts – as always – reign supreme. Given this, we would like to set you up with some straight answers to 11 of the most pressing questions you might have about the current state of the illness.

Of course, the situation related to this illness continues to change daily. As such, we will do our best to continually update the information here as more facts become available.

11 Important Answers to Your Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions

Understandably, there’s an onslaught of information you can find regarding the so-called ‘coronavirus.’ Therefore, we feel it’s important to present a clear set of answers to several important questions you may be asking.

Sourced from reputable professionals and experts, these questions tackle the basics of the illness, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Let’s start with an explanation of the illness itself.

1. What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the official World Health Organization (WHO) name for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 – throughout this article, we’ll simply call it “coronavirus.”

It’s a respiratory illness brought on by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), that can cause mild to fatal symptoms. To avoid confusion with the 2003 SARS outbreak, the WHO has refrained from using this term to communicate about the current illness.

While the common human coronavirus is already known about, the current strain we’re dealing with is potentially zoonotic in origin. This means until now it was found primarily in animals.

A virus mutation enabled it to transfer to humans and be spread through the population. Since we have not previously had exposure to this strain of the virus, it’s known as ’novel’. As such, we don’t have any prior immunity to it even though our bodies have likely encountered the human variant at some point.

2. How is Coronavirus Spread?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that while they are still learning more about how the coronavirus disease spreads, they have several key indicators to note:

  • Proximity: The illness can be spread from person-to-person within a six-foot radius.
  • Respiratory droplets: Droplets created when someone sneezes or coughs can infect another person who gets them in their nose or mouth.

Researchers and health professionals are still monitoring other forms of how the disease spreads. However, as of yet, no other form of potential spreading has been identified that’s more dominant or probable than the two listed above.

Another aspect of the illness is ’community spread’. This is essentially when some people in a given region become infected without understanding whether they’ve had any known contact with an infected person, or traveled to a region with known positive cases.

In the United States, all 50 states and five territories have reported cases at this time. Out of those, the CDC suspects community spread in all of them.

3. What Are the Typical Symptoms of Coronavirus?

There are several verified symptoms to be aware of, and the effect on an individual has been from mild to fatal. However, predicting fatality rates in the midst of a pandemic comes with a lot of caveats, according to researchers, which is why we won’t be sharing numbers in this piece.

Symptoms can start anywhere between 2–14 days after exposure and include:

  • Fever. This has been one of the main symptoms in people displaying moderate to severe illness. A temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater is what doctors consider to be a ‘fever’.
  • Cough. Persistent coughing has been noted as another primary symptom. Infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, described the cough to CNN. He noted that it comes from deeper in the respiratory system and doesn’t produce anything, unlike a ‘tickle.’
  • Shortness of breath. The third most notable symptom is shortness of breath. According to Harvard Medical School, this manifests as a feeling of being winded or an inability to catch your breath. They do caution that if shortness of breath is your only symptom, it’s likely not caused by the coronavirus disease.

However, the advice is to get shortness of breath assessed by a medical professional in most cases, regardless of whether coronavirus is suspected or not.

4. Should I Seek Treatment if I Think I Have Coronavirus?

Reporting your symptoms to your physician or local health department is advisable as it helps others track the illness. However, health professionals have advised that the majority of patients with coronavirus will be able to recover at home and not need treatment at a medical facility.

Even so, the CDC recommends a specific set of actionable steps if you think you have become ill with coronavirus, including:

  • Recover at home. In an effort to reduce the spread of the illness, if you have mild symptoms or suspect you might be sick due to the coronavirus, it’s advised that you stay home and treat your symptoms. This includes hydration and rest.
  • Monitor symptoms. Keeping tabs on your symptoms is another recommendation. The CDC recommends you keep in touch with your doctor.
  • Self-isolate. Treating yourself at home also means you should self-isolate. This includes staying in one room away from others in your home, if possible. Additionally, in an effort to reduce the spread of the illness, you should not use public transportation or gather in public places.
  • Call ahead. Should you require medical attention or develop signs of emergency symptoms, the CDC also recommends calling ahead if possible. Doing so will enable doctors to receive you quickly, while also putting on any appropriate protective gear.

There are exceptions to this, of course. For example, if you have become short of breath and are displaying signs of respiratory distress, you should seek emergency medical care – but try to have someone call ahead first. This is so doctors and nurses can be ready with the appropriate personal protective equipment, and treat you more quickly.

5. What Are the Main Factors That Put People at a Higher Risk of Coronavirus Infection?

As doctors and medical researchers learn more about coronavirus, some information has become more irrefutable. In particular, some underlying health conditions will put people at a higher risk in terms of both their susceptibility and how severe coronavirus will be if they get it.

The CDC has issued a list of conditions for which patients face a much higher fatality rate than is usual, including:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Conditions causing a person to be immunocompromised
  • Severe obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease (including people receiving dialysis)
  • Liver disease

People over the age of 65 or anyone living in a nursing home are also considered to be in a ‘high risk’ category. Consequently, social distancing measures are recommended for everyone, regardless of age or medical condition, as the most effective way to slow the rate of disease transmission among all populations.

6. Should I Wear a Face Mask in Public Even If I Don’t Have Symptoms?

The current recommendations regarding face masks from both the United States government and the CDC is that you should wear a face covering in public. This is especially true in situations where social distancing might be more problematic.

Wearing masks has become even more important in regions where there is evidence of higher rates of community spread. In addition to the new recommendations, the CDC also suggests that face masks be worn in two other situations, including:

  • If you are caring for someone infected with coronavirus.
  • If you are symptomatic and need to go out in public to receive medical care.

The CDC and the White House announced these new recommendations on 3 April 2020. This is in light of evidence that asymptomatic transmission rates might be a larger driver of cases than previously thought. Instructions for how to create your own cloth face mask at home are available on the CDC website.

However, national health advisors emphasize that keeping a distance of six feet from others and practicing strict ’social distancing’ are still likely the most helpful measures used in preventing transmission.

7. What Is Social Distancing and How Do I Do It?

According to Johns Hopkins, social distancing means intentionally reducing your interaction with others, especially in large groups. In many cases, this might mean making arrangements to work from home or postpone events and gatherings.

By now you’ve likely heard the term used in reference to how to stop the spread of coronavirus. While different countries and regions around the world are issuing different variations to their citizens, the basics of the recommendations are the same.

Some examples of social distancing include:

  • Canceling school and moving learning to an online environment.
  • Limiting capacity at childcare facilities .
  • Switching to only carryout or delivery for food establishments.
  • Staying six feet away from people not part of your household if you are out in public.
  • Closing non-essential businesses.

In addition to observing strict social distancing practices, washing your hands for 20 seconds and avoiding touching your face have all been recommended. Professionals have encouraged these as ways to reduce the spread of the illness.

8. What Is the Official Recommendation for Enjoying Outside Activities During Shelter-in-Place Orders?

In general, national and state-level public health officials have encouraged people to move around and get exercise during the pandemic. While each state is issuing their own versions of shelter-in-place orders, many people are wondering if they’re permitted to be outside.

For this reason, it’s best to check with your state or local health department for guidelines specific to your area. In general, the CDC continues to recommend if you are outside, to maintain good social distancing habits.

Since gyms have been closed in most states, some people have taken to walking or running outside as a way to keep up their exercise regimes. Health officials have even encouraged this as a way for people to manage any increased stress or anxiety they may have during shelter-in-place orders.

9. Can I Catch Coronavirus Without Coming Into Contact With Someone Who Tested Positive?

Unfortunately, the answer to most questions about the transmission of coronavirus is “It depends.” This is because there are many scientific assumptions that have to be met in order to transmit the illness. As the situation is unfolding rapidly, there is not yet enough data available to verify certain scenarios.

However, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has released information regarding the survivability of coronavirus on different surfaces, including:

  • Copper: Up to four hours
  • Cardboard: Up to 24 hours
  • Plastic and stainless steel: Up to 2 to 3 days

In terms of how to treat and clean these surfaces, you can find an official list of cleansing agents issued by The American Chemistry Council, which have been proven to fight coronavirus.

10. How Can I Ascertain Whether Coronavirus Information on Social Media Is Accurate?

Amid the current global pandemic, social media platforms have unsurprisingly become hubs of information for many Americans. In fact, Americans spent 32 percent more time on social media platforms in March than in previous months.

Of course, having access to the most accurate information is of vital importance during any crisis. Even so, finding the truth amidst everything you see online can be difficult.

For the most accurate information, we recommend the following sources:

You may have also experienced or witnessed the filtering of information on platforms such as Facebook. It’s important to understand how social networks are working to make sure misinformation does not remain available, and also that the system is not always perfect.

With this in mind, it’s recommended to use one of the above sources for the most accurate recommendations and updates.

11. Are There Any Coronavirus Treatments Currently Being Tested?

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a flurry of medical research as doctors and scientists work toward both safe, viable treatments and a vaccine. As such, the FDA has established the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP).

Through the program, there are currently ten potential therapies in active trial stages, with 15 more on the way. The FDA is researching treatments such as transfusions using plasma from recovered patients, antiviral medications that are already in circulation, and more.

With this in mind, remember there is currently no FDA-approved treatment for coronavirus that has gone through well-established trials to ensure safety. However, an emergency approval was granted by the FDA pertaining to the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.

While these medications have long since been approved for safe use in treating several autoimmune disorders, it’s important to understand they also have known and documented side effects. As always, do not take any prescriptions medications that have not been prescribed to you by a doctor.

How to Stay Informed During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As we all adjust to less physical interaction and new routines, remember that your efforts are all geared towards ending a global health issue. It’s likely new information and recommendations will emerge as researchers collect more data.

The CDC and the WHO remain the most recommended sources of information on coronavirus by local and national health authorities. Additionally, we will work to keep our information updated here as the situation evolves based on input from the experts.

Be safe, wash your hands, and stay informed.

How to Lose Weight Easily: Set a Modest Target

When it comes to weight loss, the biggest mistake many people make (in my opinion) is to set ambitious goals (such as losing 3lbs per week). Such goals are difficult to achieve at the best of times, and once you have a single off-day or discover that you’re not quite on target, the inevitable chipping away of your drive and enthusiasm begins, which typically leads to failure.

On the other hand, if you set a very modest target (such as any ongoing weight loss – even if it’s only 0.5lbs per week on average), you’ll find success far easier to come by. Furthermore, you may find yourself surprised as to how far such “modest” goals can take you – after all, half a pound a week is equal to a whopping 26lbs per year.

If you allow yourself to consider the prospect of losing weight slowly but steadily (which makes it far more likely that you’ll keep that weight off, incidentally), it opens up some pretty exciting opportunities. In other words, you may discover that losing weight doesn’t actually have to be that hard, and doesn’t necessarily require a great deal of sacrifice.

Let’s break down some simple numbers to make my point. I don’t claim that the following numbers are precise – because they aren’t – but they work well enough as approximations.

A pound of fat is often said to be equivalent to 3,500 calories, which means that if you consume 3,500 calories less than your body needs over any period of time, you’ll lose a pound of fat. The simple weight loss equation, therefore, is to achieve a calorific deficit that is equal to the amount of fat you wish to lose.

The rules of the game are made simple if you set a modest goal. If you shoot for say an average loss of just 0.5lbs per week on average, your deficit needs to be 1,750 calories per week – or 250 calories per day. That kind of deficit can be achieved with relative ease. By making just a handful of small, barely noticeable tweaks to your eating and exercising habits, you can make that weight loss happen (and stick).

For example, here are a few potentially easily executable strategies you could use to achieve such a calorific deficit:

The key is to find the strategies that you can implement with little effort or willpower required. Different strategies will work for different people. The point is that you won’t have to do much, because you’ve not set a huge weight loss goal. Start tracking your weight loss trend, and as long as that trend points downwards, you’re doing all you need to do in the long-term.

I believe that throwing ambitious targets out of the window and focusing instead on steady, gradual progress is the single most impactful step you can make to long-term sustainable weight loss. The process is simple: set the lowest possible goal (i.e. any ongoing weight loss), then do the bare minimum to achieve that goal (by cherry picking simple strategies that work for you). You’ll experience no feelings of hunger, deprivation, or frustration – just results. That’s the kind of balance that will eventually get you to where you want to be, and keep you there.

How to Track Your Weight Loss

I recently explained why I believe you shouldn’t set a time-sensitive weight loss goal. My alternative philosophy is that any consistent weight loss caused by sustainable habit change will eventually get you to where you want to be, without you putting undue pressure on yourself or setting yourself up to fail. (That, in a nutshell, defines the Healthy Enough approach.)

More specifically, I discussed the concept of “statistically relevant” weight loss, and that you should be observing the general trend of your weight loss, rather than what you weigh from one day or week to the next. In this article, I want to go into more detail regarding the above, and provide you with the tools you need to track your weight loss in a way that is both useful and informative.

Continue reading How to Track Your Weight Loss

How to Set a Weight Loss Goal

I’ve previously discussed whether you should weigh yourself. In short, you probably should, because it is an objective yet simple means of determining whether you are losing weight or not.

That being the case, how do you go about setting a weight loss goal?

The simple answer is that you don’t. At least, I wouldn’t advocate setting a weight loss goal in the way that most people do. Specifically, I wouldn’t recommend that you (for example) set a goal to lose ten pounds in four weeks, or get down to 160lbs by Christmas.

Why? For two key reasons:

  1. Realism. When people set weight loss goals, they don’t typically first consider (to any level of accuracy) how realistic their goal is. And more often than not, in my experience, such goals are unrealistic – they’re not representative of what is reasonably possible. If you accept the above to be true, then by creating a weight loss goal, you are setting yourself up to fail before you’ve even begun.
  2. Pressure. The concept of putting pressure on yourself to lose weight is anathema to the Healthy Enough way. And yet, by setting a specific goal, you’ll feel pressured to ‘perform’ from day one.

You may argue that setting an ‘unrealistic’ goal and putting pressure on yourself will help you to lose more weight than if you’d set no goal at all. You may be right, but at what cost? Life is too short to stress yourself out unduly.

Besides, you’re more likely to be wrong, in my opinion. You’re more likely to fail to reach your goal, and quite possibly fall off the dieting wagon as a result and put back on the weight you lost. And if you do reach your goal, what then? Set a new goal, perhaps? Or possibly slip back into bad habits, and watch the pounds creep back on.

Continue reading How to Set a Weight Loss Goal

On Doing What’s Good For You, Not What You Enjoy

I recently read a particularly thought-provoking article in which the author, in a nutshell, says that in order to live a truly fulfilling life, don’t do what you like – do what’s good for you.

That may seem rather daunting or even unrealistic, but before we cross that bridge, let’s first explore why this is such a blindingly good idea.

Continue reading On Doing What’s Good For You, Not What You Enjoy

Why You Should Never Say No to Your Cravings (and How You Can Still Lose Weight)

Few people would describe me as an optimist, but when it comes to weight loss, I can’t help but look on the bright side.

I firmly believe that you can eat just about everything you want and lose weight. That may sound crazy, but consider that all your eating habits are just that – habits. And habits can be changed.

In other words, if you can become an habitually healthy eater, you’ll eat what you want and lose weight. One day, you’ll suddenly find yourself a little bit baffled that you’re happily choosing healthier food options – not out of obligation or guilt, but out of a genuine desire borne of habit.

Continue reading Why You Should Never Say No to Your Cravings (and How You Can Still Lose Weight)

How Considering Your Eating Habits More Carefully Can Help You to Eat Less

I typically eat food in one of two ‘states’:

  1. For the pure enjoyment of it. I love the taste of food, and I enjoy the act of eating more than most things in life.
  2. Out of sheer habit. Eating food also scratches an itch for me; it’s something I do habitually. Sometimes I catch myself not enjoying food per se, but simply eating it out of habit.

One of the keys to being Healthy Enough is to eat food ‘habitually’ as little as possible – the upshot of which means you’ll enjoy what you do eat more.

How so? It’s all to do with the diminishing returns found in eating food.

Continue reading How Considering Your Eating Habits More Carefully Can Help You to Eat Less

How to Combat and Conquer Gluttony (in 4 Steps)

Before we begin this post, we want to draw your attention to our ​COVID-19 article, which provides answers to the most important health-related coronavirus questions.

I am a glutton.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt most rewarded by eating in volume. Given the choice (and putting dietary concerns to one side), I’d choose a big dish of adequate quality over a small yet sublime meal. To an extent, I don’t feel truly satisfied by a meal unless I’m a step beyond comfortably full.

I have managed to succeed in being Healthy Enough despite my predilections, however. I’d largely put this down to my adoption of intermittent fasting (which enables me to eat a big dinner), and it says a lot about how there are many different approaches to losing weight.

That said, avoiding gluttonous behaviour is the ideal; I don’t think anyone’s going to argue that gluttony is a good thing. With that in mind, I’ve recently been putting a lot of thought into how to curb my own gluttonous behaviour – more specifically, how to control the temptation to eat huge portions. I came up with an effective four step approach. If you find yourself succumbing to gluttony at times, follow the steps below, and you may find your appetite far more controllable.

Continue reading How to Combat and Conquer Gluttony (in 4 Steps)

How to Make Meals from Scratch Quicker and Easier (6 Key Tips)

I know that many people are put off making their own meals from scratch (or doing so more often) because it can seem like such a time suck.

And it can be, in fairness. You can quite easily spend hours in the kitchen producing just one meal. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Healthy Enough approach to cooking focuses on simplicity, efficiency, and enjoyment. With that in mind, this article offers some key practical steps to making cooking a simple, efficient, and enjoyable process – perhaps even something you’ll actively want to do.

Let’s get to it!

Continue reading How to Make Meals from Scratch Quicker and Easier (6 Key Tips)

One of the Most Important Things You Can Do to Promote Long-Term Weight Loss

If you can control what you eat, you can control your weight.

While I’d be the first to say that the practical reality of the above statement isn’t so simple, it is nonetheless valid in principle.

A clear corollary of that statement is if you don’t know what you’re eating, you can’t control your weight. Therefore, an important step when it comes to weight loss is to know what you’re eating.

When I say “know”, I don’t mean on a superficial level. Being aware that a Big Mac is a Big Mac isn’t the same as knowing what is actually in a Big Mac.

And that brings me to the main point of this article: one of the best things you can do to promote long-term weight loss is truly know and appreciate (for better or worse) what you’re eating.

Continue reading One of the Most Important Things You Can Do to Promote Long-Term Weight Loss