Coronavirus cases are on the rise: News 12 separates fact from fiction

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Cases of coronavirus around the world have been increasing since the outbreak began earlier this year. With all the different sources of information out there regarding the illness, the opportunity for inaccuracy grows.

News 12 New Jersey spoke to Dr. David Alland with the Rutgers Global Health Institute to separate fact from fiction in terms of the disease.

“We need to not have panic,” he says.

Alland says that this new strain of coronavirus is known as “COVID-19” or “SARS2.”

“It’s very, very similar to a bat coronavirus. So, the theory is that the coronavirus hopped from bat, possibly through another species, finally to humans,” Alland says.

While it can be deadly to humans, Alland says that many types of coronavirus can cause the common cold.

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THE MYTHS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

Can one get coronavirus if they receive something in the mail from China, the epicenter of the outbreak?

“It’s very unlikely that it’s transmitted through the mail or any product like that,” Alland says. “Most coronaviruses are transmitted through the air from person to person.”

Will wearing a mask offer protection from the disease?

“The masks that people wear are quite good at catching the droplets that people cough or sneeze…it will probably help you from spreading the disease to others,” Alland says.

But Alland does warn, "These masks don't really help you from inhaling the droplets...so they're not really a good measure to prevent catching the disease."

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Is coronavirus the biggest health risk in the United States at the moment?

“Right now, influenza poses a much bigger risk than coronavirus,” Alland says.

Alland says that no special precautions need to be taken at this time to prevent coronavirus. But for those who are worried, he says that precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus are similar to precautions one can take to prevent the spread of other illnesses: Wash your hand frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

The New Jersey Department of Health has set up a hotline for those who are looking for more information about coronavirus. That number is 1-800-222-1222 and is staffed 24 hours a day.

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