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Your top 6 coronavirus questions from the weekend -- answered

Just a few months ago, this virus didn't exist in humans. By Monday morning, it has...

Posted: Mar 9, 2020 7:22 AM
Updated: Mar 9, 2020 8:45 AM

Just a few months ago, this virus didn't exist in humans. By Monday morning, it has killed more than 3,800 people and infected more than 108,000 others worldwide.

Every day, CNN readers ask sharp questions about the mysterious novel coronavirus. And each weekday, we'll select some of the top questions and get you the answers.

Here are some of the questions submitted over the weekend:

Q. Why waste a test kit on a person without symptoms?

Some people with coronavirus have mild or no symptoms. And in some cases, symptoms don't appear until up to 14 days after infection.

During that incubation period, it's possible to get coronavirus from someone with no symptoms. It's also possible you may have coronavirus without feeling sick and are accidentally infecting others.

So anyone who has had close contact with someone known to have coronavirus should ask a health care provider about getting tested, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Anyone who recently traveled to a part of the world where coronavirus is widespread should do the same.

Q. How can someone pass along coronavirus when asymptomatic? If not sneezing or coughing, how can they infect others?

It's easy for asymptomatic people with coronavirus to spread the illness, said Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA's School of Public Health.

'Certainly, when you speak, sometimes you'll spit a little bit,' Rimoin said. 'You'll rub your nose. You'll touch your mouth. You'll rub your eyes. And then you'll touch other surfaces, and then you will be spreading virus if you are infected and shedding asymptomatically.'

Doctors stress that the best way to prevent getting coronavirus is not by wearing face masks, since they often cause more harm than good.

Instead, people should wash their hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds and stop touching their faces -- which is harder than it sounds.

Q. Can coronavirus go through skin and into the body?

'It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,' the CDC says.

More often than not, people get coronavirus through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

'These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs,' the CDC says.

The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.

Q. If a coronavirus patient does progress to pneumonia, what antibiotics if any have proven to be effective?

No antibiotics are effective against coronavirus because the disease is a viral infection, not a bacterial infection.

'However, if you are hospitalized for the [coronavirus], you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible,' the World Health Organization says.

There is no known cure for the coronavirus. Researchers are studying whether the antiviral drug remdesivir might work, but testing of that drug just started.

For now, coronavirus patients get 'supportive' treatment, 'which means giving fluids, medicine to reduce fever, and, in severe cases, supplemental oxygen,' the Harvard Medical School says.

Scientists are working on developing a vaccine. But it will take months before clinical trials start, and more than a year before a vaccine could become available.

Q. If infected with coronavirus, can you survive it and recover?

Absolutely. The vast majority of people with coronavirus survive.

Last week, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases estimated the death rate is 'about 2%.'

But the true death rate might be much lower, since some coronavirus survivors might not have been tested and might not have had their cases reported.

Q. After recovering from coronavirus, does the recovered patient have immunity to the virus?

It's too early to know for sure. But other coronaviruses, like ones that cause the common cold, might give us clues.

With 'common cold coronaviruses, you don't actually have immunity that lasts for very long, and so we don't know the answer with this specific coronavirus,' said Dr. Celine Gounder, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the New York University School of Medicine.

'If you recover, are you immune? And if you are immune, how long does that last? And that's actually going to be one of the challenges with designing a vaccine is how do you actually cause the immunity to last long enough to protect you.'

Have a question about coronavirus? Ask us here.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 162720

Reported Deaths: 2735
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson24088384
Mobile17166319
Tuscaloosa10641142
Montgomery10576205
Madison961998
Shelby766067
Baldwin688871
Lee666965
Calhoun480663
Marshall450051
Etowah444553
Morgan442835
Houston426535
DeKalb357929
Elmore329258
St. Clair313843
Limestone300333
Walker290293
Talladega277737
Cullman271925
Lauderdale243743
Jackson228218
Autauga214131
Colbert212532
Franklin210732
Blount203925
Russell19993
Chilton192632
Dallas189427
Dale186252
Coffee185111
Covington178729
Escambia176031
Clarke139117
Tallapoosa138587
Chambers138147
Pike137014
Marion111831
Barbour10569
Marengo105322
Butler102041
Geneva9597
Winston95313
Pickens90018
Lawrence89933
Bibb86615
Randolph85316
Hale78330
Cherokee76915
Clay76712
Washington75912
Henry7366
Lowndes72328
Monroe66310
Bullock65117
Crenshaw61630
Fayette60413
Perry6026
Cleburne5819
Conecuh57313
Wilcox57212
Macon55020
Lamar5255
Sumter48721
Choctaw39512
Greene34616
Coosa2193
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 259488

Reported Deaths: 3341
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby37618571
Davidson32908350
Knox1330196
Rutherford12485116
Hamilton12251111
Williamson749657
Sumner6439117
Wilson495064
Putnam463859
Montgomery442861
Out of TN430436
Sullivan410052
Madison392780
Washington387758
Bradley372923
Maury363039
Blount355441
Sevier353423
Robertson270243
Hamblen256950
Tipton250123
Dyer236338
Unassigned23047
Gibson223449
Coffee201428
Hardeman193933
Greene192755
Obion186527
Anderson184816
Bedford180522
Trousdale17949
Dickson179119
Fayette177427
Lawrence173220
McMinn172939
Carter172136
Cumberland169827
Loudon169713
Wayne16237
Jefferson162224
Weakley161926
Monroe153629
Warren152011
Lauderdale150717
Roane14478
Hardin144423
Henderson144326
Macon138425
Franklin135124
Haywood133428
Hawkins128629
Overton126825
White126615
Johnson12118
Marshall120512
Carroll118127
Cocke116716
McNairy116330
Rhea115121
Cheatham112012
Campbell111613
Bledsoe10404
Smith104014
Giles102238
Lake9924
Lincoln9514
Fentress94812
Crockett91722
Henry84512
Hickman84115
Marion82613
DeKalb79018
Chester74416
Decatur68211
Grainger6414
Grundy60013
Union5604
Claiborne5498
Polk53813
Unicoi4865
Jackson4778
Humphreys4694
Lewis4586
Morgan4587
Benton44110
Cannon4362
Houston43117
Clay42216
Scott4165
Sequatchie3702
Stewart35613
Perry3508
Meigs3396
Pickett2879
Moore2862
Van Buren2132
Hancock1273

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