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Covid – 19 (Corona-virus) Frequently asked Questions

Dr Retha Jansen van Rensburg March 2019

· Body and Health

There is so much information spreading about COVID-19, that we thought it important to share what we know with our tribe and readers.

About everyone knows about the new coronavirus infection, COVID-19 and have lots of questions, including what can I do to keep my immune system strong. (Please read to the end to find recommendations). Unfortunately, half-truths are being shared and spread by both on-line sources and the grapevine.

As most of us knows, COVID-19 cases have multiplied all over the world and has reached pandemic proportions. COVID-19 is highly contagious and projected to kill about 1%-4% of the people that are infected.

One of the reasons the COVID-19 virus is thought to be so dangerous is that nobody have never been exposed to it and as result have no immunity and internal ability to fight it.

Hundreds of coronaviruses exits, including the common cold and more serious forms, in particular, SARS (which emerged in 2002) and MERS (which emerged in 2012). What makes COVID-19 strain of coronavirus unique is that it had not previously been identified in human beings, so it is difficult to say who is most at risk of becoming ill. No one is considered to be immune to becoming ill once they’re exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are non-specific. Many people who are infected have few or no symptoms during the first 2-14 days of the infection while they are highly infectious, allowing the virus to be spread before you know that you have it. People can be infectious for up to 7-14 days (and even up to 24 days).

This is the reason why people who have been exposed to someone with the virus are being put in quarantine for 14 days to see if they develop the illness, and people who test positive are being isolated for a minimum of 14 days.

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Most cases will be mild. Symptoms include a fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Signs and symptoms can range from asymptomatic people (no obvious signs or symptoms) to those with mild symptoms (like those associated with the common cold), as well as severe respiratory illness (such as pneumonia) causing major shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, and low levels of blood oxygen saturation, which may require hospitalization. In the case of severe or critical illness, the risk of complications increases and the complications can be life threatening. Currently, about 3-7% of cases result in death.

According to the World Health Organization, in more than 80% of all reported cases, fever is the most typical symptom. This is followed by a dry cough (in around 68% of cases), fatigue (38% of cases), producing sputum (33% of cases) and shortness of breath (nearly 19% of reported cases).

Fortunately most children seem to have a mild form of this infection. However, those with heart, lung, and immune deficiencies, as well as the elderly are the ones who develop severe infections. However, there are several reports of healthy 40- to 50- year olds who have died from this disease, so clearly none of us should ignore that rare possibility and ignore the seriousness of this illness.

As this is a new virus, we currently have no proven therapies to treat it and no vaccines to prevent it. It will likely take at least 1-2 years to develop vaccines and therapies.

For serious cases, the only proven treatments that we have are supportive, meaning: hydration, oxygen, and sometimes intensive hospital care, in the most serious cases including intubation and mechanical breathing.

The big concern is that if too many people become sick at once and health care providers also become ill, we will overwhelm our ability to provide supportive care and people who would have normally survived will die.

This means health officials want the number of cases to occur gradually over time, not spike all at once as has happened in Wuhan, China and northern Italy, overwhelming the hospital and medical care systems.

This is why public events being cancelled and schools being closed. Health officials are trying to slow the spread of the disease. You can watch this great visual here ( )to understand how the virus is spreading and staying at home for a few weeks as much as you can, will actually make a large difference. You matter more than you think.

Even though children usually have milder cases, they remain an important carriers of this infection. Closing schools and preventing them from getting infected in mass is a very effective strategy to stop the spread of the infection in a community. Again, the goal is to slow the spread of the disease so that our hospital and medical providers are not overwhelmed.

COVID-19 is tested by using nasal swabs and throat swabs. It takes about 2-3 days to get a result after testing.

This virus is spread in large droplets by infected people who are coughing and sneezing. To compensate for the initial rapid spread and the highly contagious potential of this infection, for the short term all of us need to take steps to help prevent this life-threatening disease, especially as you could be infected, spreading it, and not know for several days.


  1. NO HANDSHAKING OR HUGS! Use an elbow bump or foot tap instead.
  2. Avoid touching your face with your hands, especially when in public.
  3. In public places, open doors with your elbow, closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door.
  4. Use disinfectant wipes when they are available.
  5. Before you eat or touch your face after having been in public, wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  6. Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances for use when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
  7. Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you do not have a tissue. Please do not cough or sneeze without covering your mouth to limit the spread.
  8. When you cough or sneeze droplets can land on surfaces within about 2m and can spread to other people after they contact these infected surfaces with their hands and then touch their face. How long the virus can live outside an organism is unknown. Expert estimates range from a few hours to up to nine days, depending on the type of surface, surrounding temperature and environment.
  9. Avoid large gatherings. When you are in public places, avoid crowding together try to maintain some social distance (at least 1m) if possible. Likewise, for the near future, minimize inviting friends or family over for parties and other large events.
  10. As the elderly are especially prone to severe, life-threatening infections, people over 70 years of age and/or those with lung, heart, or immune-deficiency health issues should isolate themselves as much as possible for the near future.
  11. If you have the option to work from home, do so.


  • If someone coughs on you, wearing a typical surgical mask will not prevent the virus from passing through the mask into the air you breathe. (There are N-95 masks that limit small particles and exclude a virus, but these are in very short supply even for medical providers caring for severely infected patients.)
  • Wearing a surgical mask will help to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 50-100 times per day without knowing it!). Since the mask will not prevent the virus from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.


Many of us are going to get sick with cold-like symptoms over the next few months as the common cold and influenza are also spreading through the community. Without testing, you will not know if you have a minor cold, the flu, or a COVID-19 infection.

  1. Stay home and avoid contact with others
  2. As possible, stay at least 2m away from other people as when you cough or sneeze the virus becomes airborne. Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  3. Call your doctor and make an appointment if you think you have symptoms – Please tell them when you make the appointment that you are worried that you may have Covid -19 contacts so that you do not sit in the waiting roomnext to other patients
    • Especially if your symptoms are more than mild, or if you are getting worse over time, ask your doctor what testing is available, and I suggest that you ask for testing for influenza and COVID-19. Many people are also getting the flu, which can have similar symptoms, and you could have both (though rarely), which likely would make you at higher risk for a severe infection.
    • The worse your symptoms, the more important that you get tested, just in case your symptoms continue to worsen over time.
    • Do not just show up at the doctor’s office or the emergency room without an appointment as you put yourself at risk to infect yourself from COVID-19 infected people at medical facilities.
    • Again, 80% of infections will be mild and do not require medical therapy, so until testing is available, if you think you might have COVID-19, take preventative measures to avoid infecting other people.


  1. Follow your medical provider and public health department advice regarding treatment and recommendations.
  2. Stay at home and avoid exposing others to the disease for at least 14 days.
  3. Use hand sanitizers to keep your hands from spreading the infection to others.
  4. If you have a mask wear it to decrease the spread of the infection. Masks block you from spreading the large droplets into the air that carry the virus. Ideally, everyone would have masks at home, yet the problem is that masks are in very short supply and are being rationed for medical care settings.
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The other thing that is valuable right now is being mindful of your feelings.

How are you feeling right now? Worried? Anxious? Angry? Sad? Scared? Numb? Depressed?

Or maybe you're not feeling anything because you're not connected to what's happening and the feelings of those around you. Your feelings are notable for feedback. They are telling you more about yourself than anything else.

The more you are able to feel and understand that emotion, the less it's likely to trigger internal damage (other diseases) or hurt others by being unleashed on them. How and what you're feeling now is likely how you always respond to stress.

We at Zenzile Life firmly believe that every health crisis is a wakeup call for radical transformation, both on physical and spiritual level. The fact that this is a global health crisis is no exception.

This is a time to consider what is "essential". The lifestyle we take for granted. Our health that we have either cared for or neglected plays a big role right now.

At this moment in time we have an amazing opportunity to re-evaluate what matters to us. Becoming aware and appreciative of the people we surround selves with. Noticing the food that we nourish our bodies with. Evaluating where we have been investing our time and money.

It's clear that without our health, we have little.


We pray that this pandemic will be reasonably contained without overwhelming our health care systems. As of right now the numbers of infections are increasing rapidly worldwide and will very likely continue to do so over the next several months.

We will make it through this. That is for certain. My hope and my prayer is that we come out the other side better people.

We hope that we will value life, our bodies and each other more.

We wish that you, your family, and your friends remain well over the next few months.

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.

This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.