All the important questions and answers about COVID-19

Hu Min
Hu Bijie, director of the infectious diseases department at Shanghai's Zhongshan Hospital, answered nine questions about COVID-19 that are of concern to city residents.
Hu Min

Hu Bijie, director of the infectious diseases department at Shanghai's Zhongshan Hospital and a member of Shanghai's COVID-19 treatment experts team, answered nine questions that are of concern to city residents.

Q: If my neighbor is positive to COVID-19, what should I do?

A: First of all, don't panic. Wait for authorities such as CDC or neighborhood committees to contact you.

During the waiting period, ensure good ventilation. Wear a mask correctly, and keep safe social distance.

It is also suggested to take a nucleic acid test or COVID-19 antigen self-test.

Q: If I am a close contact, how long will the quarantine period last?

A: Although the incubation period of Omicron is relatively short, ranging between one and seven days with an average of three days, close contacts still need to experience 14 days of centralized quarantine and seven days of medical observation at home according to relevant national requirements.

Q: How to prevent cross-infection at quarantine spots?

A: People should follow arrangement during the quarantine period and stay in their own rooms. Acts such as walking in corridors are absolutely banned.

Maintain a good mood and ensure enough sleep. Do some mild exercise in rooms. All these will enhance immunity against virus.

Q: How to judge whether I have been infected with COVID-19?

A: Omicron is largely different from the original virus of COVID-19 two years ago. The proportion of real pneumonia is very low. The CT testing results of most infected people are normal, and the majority are asymptomatic. Only a few show symptoms of fever.

The "golden standard" of COVID-19 diagnosis is nucleic acid test. However, it is impossible for residents to have nucleic acid test daily.

Another option is antigen self-test. The advantage of the self-test is that people can do it themselves. Its disadvantage lies in its relatively low sensitivity. Particularly on the first-day incubation period and one week after people get sick, it usually shows a negative test result.

However, one to two days after people get sick for consecutive five days, which is the period of high infection of the virus, the self-test kits can spot positive cases in a timely manner.

Therefore, it is suggested people prepare COVID-19 antigen self-test kits at home. When you suspect or there are people with fever around you, you should have a self-test. If necessary, you can take self-tests frequently.

Q: How to prevent COVID-19 at working places?

A: It is very important to correctly wear masks, keep good ventilation, wash hands and disinfect items.

At present, there are many new asymptomatic cases every day, and people may get infected anytime. In cramped working spaces, people should be careful to protect themselves from getting infected by their colleagues.

The high-risk factor during working is dining, because people will take off their masks. Staggered dining is advised.

Q: Are there 200 sequels of Omicron, and will it lead to death?

A: This is just an exaggeration. Compared with the COVID-19 virus two years ago, the infection of Omicron mainly involves the upper respiratory tract instead of the lower respiratory tract.

If patients have normal immune function, sequels will rarely appear. They will almost fully recover.

At present, more than 95 percent of people infected with Omicron are asymptomatic cases or light cases, and 3-5 percent are medium-level cases. Critical cases are very rare.

Q: What are the medicines applied to treat Omicron cases?

A: For asymptomatic cases or light cases, few drugs are needed. Those who have symptoms of sore throat, sore muscle, and fever can take drugs used for cold or fever.

A few may develop bacterial infection, and they can take antibacterial agents.

People vulnerable such as those of advanced age should be the priority in protection.

If they are infected, taking Paxlovid within five days, based on expert assessment, after they develop symptoms can effectively prevent them from developing into critical cases and death.

At the same time, traditional Chinese medicine also plays an important role and early application of TCM among people with high risks can effectively prevent them from getting worse.

Q: If I am confirmed with COVID-19 infection, how long is the quarantine period?

A: If a nucleic acid test result turns negative twice with an interval of more than 24 hours, people will be discharged from hospital.

It usually takes two weeks and there is basically no risk of spreading infection after that.

Q: How to handle clothing after I leave the quarantine spots?

A: It is not necessary to dispose them or burn them. Under normal temperature, the survival time of viruses on many items is just one or two days. Store clothing in luggage cases or plastic bags for several days.

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