The coronavirus outbreak has sparked travel bans, panic buys, and more toilet paper memes than you can keep up with. In this time of uncertainty, Australians have been turning to Google to get some damn answers.
In fact, interest in coronavirus (which is technically known as COVID-19) reached a peak this week, becoming the second most searched topic in the country – just behind the weather, of course.
Using real time data from Google Trends, PEDESTRIAN.TV has looked at the most common questions Aussie are asking, and sought to provide a few answers. These are the top 10 most searched questions around coronavirus over the seven-day period leading up to March 5, 2020, and reveal just how anxious we all are about the epidemic.
10. How many people have died from the coronavirus?
Out of around 95,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, around 3,000 people have died. Over 50,000 people have recovered to full health.
In Australia, there have been just of 50 cases, with two deaths and 11 recoveries.
Johns Hopkins University maintains a live map of all confirmed coronavirus cases around the world. It’s a useful tool to see how many confirmed cases there are, and which countries are most-affected.
9. Is coronavirus airborne?
There is no evidence to say that the coronavirus is airborne, which means virus particles can survive in the air for a period of time, even after the ill person has no longer near. The highly contagious measles, for example, is airborne; COVD-19 doesn’t appear to be. However, it is a rapidly evolving situation.
8. What is the coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a term used to mean any group of RNA viruses transmitted between animals and people. This specific virus is technically known as COVID-19, but the “coronavirus” name appears to be sticking around.
In this case, bats are believed to be the original host of the coronavirus.
7. How many people die from the flu?
When you compare death tolls, the coronavirus doesn’t come anywhere close to the flu, which kills about 291,000 to 646,000 people worldwide each year. The coronavirus has killed 3,387 (at the time of writing), and has an estimated fatality rate of 3.4 percent. The seasonal flu, by comparison, has a mortality rate of 0.1%, meaning that around one person out of every 1,000 cases dies.
Much like the flu, those most at risk of the coronavirus are the elderly and people with existing health conditions.
6. How does the coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets, which are generated through coughing and sneezing.
Not only can the coronavirus be spread through coughing or breathing close to someone, but the respiratory droplets may also land on surfaces. If a surface becomes contaminated, people who touch it can catch the coronavirus by touching their own mouth or nose.
5. Is the coronavirus a pandemic?
A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.
The WHO has said that the coronavirus has “pandemic potential” but has stopped short of declaring a pandemic just yet.
4. What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?
Coronavirus symptoms can range from very mild cough to pneumonia.
The symptoms to look out for are fever, shortness of breath, and flu-like symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat or fatigue.
Those with symptoms are advised to present themselves to hospital with a face mask. People who have returned from countries where the virus is widespread – China, South Korea, Iran and Italy – must undergo a two-week isolation period at home.
3. How many cases of coronavirus are there in Australia?
There were 58 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia as of March 6, according to the Health Department. Most of those (25 cases) are in NSW, with another 10 associated with the Diamond Princess cruises. Of those, 22 people have since recovered, but there have sadly been two deaths.
- NSW – 25 (including a case reported in the Northern Territory, which is now being reported in NSW numbers)
- Queensland – 10
- South Australia – 6
- Tasmania – 1
- Victoria – 6
- Western Australia – 1
- Diamond Princess – 10
2. How many people have died from coronavirus?
As we said above, just two people have died: a 95-year-old woman in a Sydney nursing home, whose name has not yet been reported, and James Kwan, 78, a man from Perth.
1. How did the coronavirus start?
The epicenter of the outbreak was a wet market in Wuhan, China where live animals were sold. Bats were not sold at the market, but it is believed a bat passed on the virus to another animal, which then passed it on to a human.
The coronavirus does not spread simply from eating certain meats or cuisines. All transmissions since the initial transmission have been human-to-human, and did not involve meat or animals. Unfortunately, this misconception has lead to the closure of several Chinese restaurants in Australia.
Some questions y’all aren’t Googling as much as you should be, so here you go:
Should I stock up for coronavirus?
Yes, but we don’t need to be fighting over toilet paper in supermarkets.
The coronavirus outbreak may cause disruptions to supply chains in Australia and around the world. If factories or shops are forced to close, that can have knock-on effects. If people are eventually encouraged to stay at home, shopping could become difficult.
But experts stress that this is not a reason to panic. While it’s a good idea to buy some extra non-perishable foods and stock up on vital medication, there’s no need to prepare for the apocalypse either. There have not been any food shortages.
How can I protect myself against the coronavirus?
Good hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Hand washing prevents the spread of the virus between people and onto surfaces. Remember to rinse, then lather soap for 20 seconds, then rinse again.
Rumours have been spreading that hand sanitiser is not effective against the coronavirus. This is untrue. While soap is the most recommended way to wash hands, sanitiser still kills viruses and is recommended by doctors as a good alternative.
Health authorities have also advised against bodily contact such as handshakes and hugs. Alternatives include the foot-shake, a pat on the pack, or even a fist-bump. Try to avoid kissing strangers, too!
One misconception is that surgical facemasks can protect against catching the coronavirus. Surgical masks are not advised for the general population, but they are useful for people who already have the coronavirus to stop them spreading it themselves.
Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
There is currently no cure for the coronavirus, however doctors are trialing existing drugs for other viruses including Ebola and HIV.
While work is progressing on a vaccine, the virus had mutated in to second strain which had slowed down scientists’ efforts.
Can you get coronavirus twice?
It’s too early to say, and scientists are still trying to figure this out themselves.
There has been a single case of a Japanese woman reported to have caught the coronavirus twice.Image: Google / Johns Hopkins