How to deal with COVID-19 when you are over 65
What is COVID-19?

The definition of COVID-19

Coronaviruses & COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that include the common cold. They were first identified in humans in the mid-60s.  Viruses are smaller than bacteria and need to attach themselves to the cells of a living host. They interfere with genetic material inside a cell to multiply and most cause disease. Unlike bacteria, they do not respond to antibiotics. Many common ones only infect animals, including dogs and cats, although there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus infects our pets.  Very rarely these viruses cross over from animals to infect humans, as in the SARS and MERS epidemics.  COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is a new viral disease that is suspected to have crossed over from bats through another animal (possibly ferrets) in late November, 2019.  It is a natural disease, not an artificial one made in a laboratory. The virus now spreads easily from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, such as from a cough or sneeze, or saliva.  Every infected person is likely to infect at least 2 other people.

Flu versus COVID-19

For most people the illness is like a mild flu, but for 1 person in 6 it may become very serious.  It can cause severe pneumonia in which the lungs cannot get enough oxygen and the person has difficulty breathing. The pneumonia is particularly difficult to treat. Unlike the flu, we have no protection from it and no vaccine yet to stop it spreading.  The only practical way to slow the spread is by avoiding human contact with another possibly infected person. The main COVID-19 symptoms are fever, a continuous dry cough, and feeling short of breath.  Flu typically has a fever, runny nose, cough with phlegm, and often a sore throat.

Incubation period

COVID-19 symptoms may appear within a couple of days of being infected with the virus.  This is called the incubation period and most symptoms will appear within a week. But they may take longer to show up - as long as 14 days after catching it from someone else.  This is why medical experts talk about a 14 day isolation period of a person after they have been exposed to the virus.