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Asked by Answers Staff in COVID-19
What should I know about coronavirus?
We've compiled frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus at the center of the current pandemic. Each section includes links to trusted health organizations.What is coronavirus? Is it the same as COVID-19?The coronaviruses are a family of viruses whose symptoms can range from the common cold to something more serious and potentially lethal. A new coronavirus is currently spreading across the planet, affecting the daily lives of many.In December 2019, an outbreak of a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) occurred in Wuhan, China. It causes a disease called COVID-19, which can lead to death, particularly for the elderly and people with serious chronic medical conditions.More than 200 countries and territories, including the United States, have confirmed cases of the infection since the initial outbreak, and on March 11, the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic.What are its symptoms?According to the CDC, fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of COVID-19. Additional symptoms may include aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, and new loss of taste or smell. Severity of the symptoms range from mild to life-threateningâ€”about 1 in 5 people who are infected require hospital care.How do I get tested?If you have symptoms of COVID-19, particularly severe symptoms, the CDC recommends you call your healthcare provider. Tell them about your symptoms, and theyâ€™ll give you instructions on how to safely receive a test. They note that while testing supplies are increasing, it may still be difficult to receive a test.More specific guidelines vary from state to state. NBC News has a handy guide here. You can also check your local health department's website for testing information.Itâ€™s especially crucial that you call your medical provider if youâ€™re elderly or have a serious chronic medical condition. Also, if you or a loved one are very sick (e.g., experiencing symptoms like difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, or bluish lips or face), seek medical attention immediately.How does it spread?The CDC and researchers worldwide still have a lot to learn about COVID-19 and how it spreads. According to current knowledge, though, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. That means droplets from an infected personâ€™s coughs and sneezes land on other peopleâ€™s noses or mouths, or they breathe them in, and that infects them, too. Itâ€™s also possible that the virus can spread through people touching contaminated objects and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.How can we prevent it?According to the CDC, â€œthe best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.â€ Some steps you can take to limit your exposure to the virus:Regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Pay attention to hand hygiene, especially when youâ€™ve been in a public place and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.Practice social distancing by increasing the space between you and other people. That means staying home as much as you can, especially if you feel sick.Disinfect frequently touched surfaces (like keyboards, doorknobs, and light switches) every day.Cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow or a tissue. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands.When you're out in public, wear a cloth facemask (not the kind meant for healthcare workers; see this guide for making your own).Are there any approved treatments for COVID-19?There are currently no FDA-approved drugs to treat COVID-19. The FDA does, however, have a special program for possible treatments, attempting to quickly determine if new drugs or drugs already approved to treat other illnesses could be helpful in fighting COVID-19. Although some studies are promising, none of the research is conclusive, and you should always consult a healthcare professional before trying to treat yourselfâ€”do not ingest anything you think might protect against the novel coronavirus without talking to your doctor first.When will a vaccine be available?There are several potential vaccines in development, but in order for them (or any vaccine) to be approved for public use, they must pass a three-phase clinical process before being considered by the FDA. The FDAâ€™s approval process includes multiple steps to ensure the vaccine candidateâ€™s efficacy and safety. While the FDA is working with vaccine developers to expedite the development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, this depends foremost on the candidateâ€™s success in clinical trials, which take many months.For more information on this ever-developing COVID-19 pandemic, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionâ€™s page dedicated to the virus, found here.
What does a red flag mean on the beach?
Beach lifeguards use flags to indicate the relative safety of the ocean, from green (least dangerous) to red (most dangerous), with blue or purple flags warning of potentially dangerous animals nearby. A single red flag usually indicates that the water is hazardous, and swimming is discouraged but still technically allowed. Unless you're a very strong swimmer, it's wise to stay out of the water when there's a red flag. Two red flags means no swimming is allowed, signifying the highest danger level.
Asked by Katheryn Barrows in Countries, States, and Cities
What's the weirdest state symbol?
My personal favorites are the state dinosaurs—the idea of declaring something that died millions of years ago as a symbol for your state just really sends me. Several states have adopted dinosaurs as mascots, like the Utahraptor for Utah (duh) or the Sonorasaurus for Arizona. The trend started in the '90s as the Jurassic Park craze raged, but states have added official dinosaurs as recently as 2018. Some other state dinos of note are the Hypsibema missouriensis, whose vertebrae were Missouri's first known dinosaur discovery, and the Arkansaurus fridayi, whose foot bones are the only known dinosaur bones found in Arkansas.
Asked in Linguistics
What is OK short for?
The most accepted theory is that “OK” is an acronym for “oll korrect,” an intentional misspelling of “all correct.” The acronym first appeared (at least in print) in a Boston newspaper in 1839, a time when it was trendy for writers to misspell and abbreviate words. Other examples from that time include “KG” which stood for “know go” or “no go,” and “AW” for “all write” or “all right.” From there, the theory states, it was helped along by the abbreviation of President Martin Van Buren’s nickname during his campaign—”Old Kinderhook”—and telegraph operators, as they preferred the two-letter “OK” to the three-letter “yes.” But there are plenty of other theories. Some believe the phrase came from the Choctaw Native Americans, who have an expression in their language “okeh,” meaning “it is right.” The French had something similar, as well. West Africans, too, had “OK”-sounding expressions across many languages, and because of the forced illiteracy of many slaves, it could be that it didn’t make its way into writing until it had been co-opted by white Americans.
Asked in Psychosomatic Therapy
Is it possible to die of a broken heart?
Yes, but it's very rare. “Broken heart syndrome,” otherwise known as stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, manifests itself as intense chest pain that comes on suddenly as a reaction to a surge of stress hormones. This is caused by an emotionally stressful event, such as the death of a loved one or even something positive like winning the lottery. Unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked arteries in broken heart syndrome. Additionally, blood tests show no sign of heart damage. While many who experience broken heart syndrome make a full recovery, the condition is sometimes fatal. It has been speculated that actress Debbie Reynolds, who died one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher, and Johnny Cash, who died within months of wife, June Carter Cash, suffered from the syndrome.
Asked by Taya Moore in Scrabble, Board Games
How did they decide the point value of Scrabble letters?
The creator of Scrabble, an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts, is said to have tallied the frequency of each letter on the front page of The New York Times to determine how many tiles there would be per letter and how much each letter would be worth. Letters that occurred most often, like E or T, would be worth only 1 point, and harder to use letters, like Z and Q, would be worth 10.
Asked by Laverna Zieme in TV Shows and Series
What was the best series finale in TV history? What was the worst?
Definitely Avatar: the Last Airbender. This show went well beyond the normal confines of a "show for kids" by exploring much more serious themes and subjects, such as personal loss, genocide, familial rejection, and greater responsibility to one's community, all while handling these complex and dark topics with the whimsical curiosity and honesty of a child. It recently got added to Netflix's catalogue in the United States, so check it out!
Asked by Dahlia Hagenes in Mufflers and Tailpipes, Cars & Vehicles
Why are car mufflers loud?
Well, you only hear the loud ones. The purpose of a car muffler is to silence the car’s exhaust system—in fact, in the UK, they’re called silencers—and most are pretty successful. The loud ones are either faulty, modified to be loud, or are something called “performance mufflers,” which are designed to increase car performance and split the gap between, well, muffled and unmuffled. So, your average muffler eliminates most of the exhaust noise by leading sound waves through sound-cancelling channels and chambers; modified and performance mufflers, on the other hand, let some of the cool sounds out. If your muffler isn’t usually loud but starts to make noise, get that checked right away, as that could mean harmful fumes are leaking into your car.
Asked by Ursula Block in Founding Fathers, History of the United States, American Revolution, Declaration of Independence
How many signers of the Declaration of Independence became president?
Surprisingly, of the 56, only two: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. They both also served as vice president before their presidential terms—another signer, Elbridge Gerry, became a vice president but never reached the presidency. The rest of the signers weren’t slouches, mind you, as they held various positions in government. Benjamin Franklin was among them, as was Benjamin Harrison, the father of eventual president William Henry Harrison.
Asked by Wiley Waelchi in Memorial Day
Where was the first Memorial Day celebrated?
According to federal legislation signed in 1966, Waterloo, New York, is the birthplace of Memorial Day, but there are a lot of other towns that claim the honor for themselves. Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, for one, points to a 1864 gathering to honor those killed at Gettysburg as the first-ever Memorial Day, while Carbondale, Illinois, cites a parade in 1866 led by John Logan, who later helped bring the official holiday to fruition.
Asked in US Congress
Which states have only one representative in the house of representatives?
There are currently seven states that only have one Representative: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. There are other territories that don't have any Representatives in the House, but they do have a different kind of representation—the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa each have one non-voting Delegate, and Puerto Rico has a non-voting Resident Commissioner that fills much the same role in the House. They can't vote, but they can serve on committees. Representatives are allocated by population, which is counted every ten years by the census. This year, 2020, is a census year, and the House will be automatically reapportioned based on that data in 2023.
Asked by Frederik Thompson in Global Warming, COVID-19
Is COVID-19 having any impact on global warming?
According to the International Energy Agency, as much as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide will never be emitted into the atmosphere as a result of the pandemic. That’s almost 8 percent of the estimated total for the entire year. This is the biggest drop in emissions in recent history, which sounds promising—some polluted cities are even seeing smog-free skies. Unfortunately, this is a drop in the bucket compared to the long-term changes that would need to be made to reverse the damage to our environment. As the threat of COVID-19 starts to fade, people will likely get back to their daily lives, and emissions will return to the status quo. “Broadly speaking, the only real times we've seen large emission reductions globally in the past few decades is during major recessions,” said Zeke Hausfather, the director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute. “But even then, the effects are often smaller than you think. It generally doesn't lead to any sort of systematic change.”
Asked in Russia, Continents
What continent is Russia on?
Russia is typically considered part of both Europe and Asia. There's some dispute over where the border between the continents actually is (in Russia and beyond), but most people say the part of Russia west of the Ural Mountains is European and the eastern part is Asian. That means more of Russia's landmass is in Asia, but more of the population lives in Europe, as the biggest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, are both on the European side. If this frustrates you—"Why can't everything fit cleanly into our categories!"—I have bad news. Russia isn't the only country that spans multiple continents; Egypt, Greece, and Turkey do it, too.
Asked by Danika Abbott in Animal Life
Do animals name each other?
There's no way to speak for all animals, but there is evidence that some animals do have ways to differentiate each other. Some parrots, for example, seem to identify themselves with specific sets of peeps, and it's possible their parents give them those names. Sweet, right? And parrots aren't the only animals we suspect name each other. Dolphins also have distinctive whistles that function similarly to names. To prove this, researchers played a variety of whistles to a group of dolphins, and the individuals only replied to their signature sound, as if they were calling back when their name had been called.
Asked in Health
What does the term morbidly obese mean?
A morbidly obese person is someone who is very overweight to the point that it can often cause a shorter lifespan and health problems. According to the BMI scale: Underweight: < 18.5 Ideal: 18.5-24.9 Overweight: 25-29.9 Obese: 30-39.9 Morbidly obese: 40-49.9 Super morbidly obese: 50+ BMI (Body Mass Index) is a calculation of height and weight.
Asked by Scarlett Bashirian in Hotels and Lodging
What makes it a "continental" breakfast?
The term stems from 19th century England—when they said “the continent,” they meant continental Europe. In places like France and the Mediterranean, breakfast was (and is) a light meal. A traditional English or American breakfast, however, is much heavier, with heaping mounds of eggs and meat. A “continental breakfast” was meant to cater to the tastes of those in mainland Europe who preferred a smaller breakfast, and it stuck, in no small part because the central items require little oversight and have a decent shelf life.
Asked by Ashton Stoltenberg in Netflix, Movie Downloads and Rentals
Did Blockbuster refuse to buy Netflix?
Yes. In 2000, when Blockbuster was the titan of the movie-rental industry and Netflix was a scrappy DVD-by-mail upstart, top dogs from both companies met about a potential sale. Netflix's founders offered to sell their company to Blockbuster, and when they mentioned their price tag of $50 million, Blockbuster’s CEO stifled a laugh and ultimately turned them down. Ten years later, Blockbuster went out of business; that same year, Netflix, by then in the streaming game, brought in over $2 billion in revenue. In 2019, they brought in $20 billion.
Asked by Darien VonRueden in World Heritage Sites
What does UNESCO World Heritage stand for?
UNESCO stands for United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO works to help identify and protect important cultural and natural places all over the world by designating them UNESCO World Heritage sites. That designation means a site is "of outstanding universal value" and meets at least one of UNESCO's 10 criteria for determining its importance to humanity. The long list of World Heritage sites includes historical buildings like the Palace of Versailles as well as natural preserves like Yellowstone National Park.
Asked by Alek Batz in Quarantine, Subjective Questions
What will your first vacation after quarantine be?
Asked by Dane Bernhard in Health, Apple Cider Vinegar
How much apple cider vinegar should you drink a day?
First, I should say that there's not a whole lot of research about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, and drinking too much can cause the enamel in your teeth to erode. There's no official recommended dose—definitely talk to your doctor if you're looking to drink apple cider vinegar to treat a condition. However, apple cider vinegar also has a long history of being a home remedy, and there is some scientific evidence that it might be beneficial to your general health. The typical dose of apple cider vinegar is 1-2 tablespoons mixed with a glass of water. You can drink the mixture before or after a meal.
Asked by Virginia Bradtke in Celebrities
Did Bill Nye go to jail?
No, Bill Nye never went to jail. Some people took a satirical article about him being arrested for manufacturing drugs in his basement and turned it into a rumor about the beloved science guy. Many social media users were duped into believing the joke was fact, some going so far as to tweet #FreeBillNye, but it's just not true. The original "article" claimed he had a stripper pole right there in the lab, and that's probably the most believable part of the whole thing.