About the coronavirus and how it spreads

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  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19: by vaccinating against the coronavirus we can more back towards the regular order of life. More information on where and how to get vaccinated can be found at the vaktsineeri.ee web page and from the state helpline 1247.

  • Wash your hands: hands should be washed with soap under warm running water, use hand disinfectant, if necessary.

  • Move in a dispersed manner: keep a distance with other people when in a public indoor space. Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or sneezing. By standing too close to a symptomatic person you can get infected as well.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth: if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands, there is a chance that the virus will be transmitted to you.

  • Find help early: if you have a fever, cough or difficulties breathing, find help early. Monitor your health and stay home. Call your family doctor or to the Family Doctor's Advice Line 1220.

  • Follow respiratory hygiene: if you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a single use tissue. Throw it into the bin immediately after, and then clean your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (the inside of your elbow), but do not use your bare hand.

  • Wear a mask: a mask must be worn in public indoor spaces, except in activities where that is not possible or reasonable (e.g. in doing direct sports, when coming in contact with water, in the sauna or by the poolside, as well as when eating and drinking in a restaurant). A scarf, a tube scarf, a collar, a visor or any other object that is not clearly meant to be worn as a protective mask do not count as a mask. A preference is given to a medical mask or a mask equated to that (e.g. an FFP1-3 mask or a N95 respirator) which effectively stops the delta strain of the coronavirus from spreading.

Last updated: 16.11.2021 12:41

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The virus spreads from person to person through droplet infection, mainly by a close contact with a potentially infected person who has symptoms of the infection, primarily a cough.

Thus the virus can spread from person to person in several different ways:

  • Droplets or aerosols. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, the droplets or small particles called aerosols carry the virus from his nose or mouth into the air. Anyone that is closer than 2 meters to this person can breathe them into their lungs. That is why it is important to keep a distance and wear a mask.
  • Spreading through the air. Studies have shown that the virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours. It can get into your lungs if someone who has it exhales and you inhale that air. To prevent this from happening, it is important to air and ventilate rooms often.
  • Surface transmission. Another way to become infected is to touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed onto. For instance, you can get the virus if you touch a contaminated work surface or door knob, and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes. On surfaces like plastic or stainless steel, the virus can live for 2-3 days. To stop the spread of the virus, clean and disinfect all tables, buttons and other surfaces that you or your family touches several times a day.

Most often the virus spreads through symptomatic people. But it is possible to transmit the virus without showing any signs of it. Some people who do not know that they are infected can transmit the virus to others. This is called asymptomatic spread. It is also possible to transmit the virus before the signs of infection are noticed. This kind of infection is called presymptomatic spread.

**The best way to contain the spread of the virus is vaccination and staying home if any kind of symptoms occur."

Last updated: 01.10.2021 16:06

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Both flu viruses and the novel coronavirus are droplet infections. This means that infection takes place mainly when the virus particles that have spread from an infected person to the air with saliva by, for instance, coughing, speaking, sneezing, get into the respiratory tract of another person from there. It is not possible to tell by symptoms only whether the disease is the novel coronavirus or some other virus causing a respiratory tract infection. That is why, if any acute respiratiry infection symptoms occur, it is recommended to suspect that it is the novel coronavirus, and do a coronavirus test to rule it out.

Symptoms

  • Influenza - fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, runny or blocked nose, fatigue, sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea. Most patients recover within less than two weeks. In some patients, flu may cause serious complications, including pneumonia. The prevalence of flu is very similar every year.

  • COVID-19 - coronavirus – fever, cough, breathing difficulties. COVID-19 symptoms have not been completely understood. It is also not yet known how serious these symptoms can be or how many people infected with COVID-19 virus have only very mild symptoms or none at all. Most cases of COVID-19 infection are not serious.

Virus spread

Every person infected with the influenza virus infects an average of 1.3 healthy people.

Coronavirus is more infectious than influenza. Each person infected with the COVID-19 virus infects an average of 2.2 people.

Morbidity

In case of coronavirus or influenza infection, people aged over 60 with weakened immune system and/or chronic diseases are at the highest risk. Co-morbidity increases the disease risk. Children infected with coronavirus usually have mild symptoms or do not have any symptoms. Influenza is much more dangerous for children, especially for very young children who can get severely ill.

Mortality

COVID-19 mortality varies from region to region and depends on age and other factors. Older persons are the most vulnerable. Although COVID-19 mortality is not exactly known, most studies show that it is higher than the influenza mortality.

Treatment

The mortality of influenza would be higher if there were no treatment and vaccination. For the treatment of influenza, there are several prescription medications that have a good impact if they are taken within one or two days of the onset of symptoms. There are also medicines that are given to prevent flu for people who have been in contact with the virus carrier. In addition, there are widely available vaccines against influenza that generate a certain level of immunity.

No specific treatment or any approved antiviral medicine exists yet for COVID-19. Doctors can therefore recommend the usual measures: rest, take medicines to reduce pain and fever, and consume fluids to prevent dehydration. Vaccines exist against COVID-19 but the availability is still limited.

Prevention

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the influenza virus, it is recommended that you should wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, avoid contact with your face if hands are unwashed, avoid contacts with sick people, stay at home in the case of illness, and disinfect surfaces and objects you touch daily.

Seasonality

In the case of influenza, a pattern is observed that the spread of the disease decreases in the spring and returns in the autumn when the weather gets colder.

It is not known whether and how the weather affects the COVID-19 virus. Even if the spread of the COVID-19 virus declines in the spring, it may return in the autumn.

See more about keeping risk groups safe, and limiting the spread of the virus from the articles of the Institute for Health Development:

Last updated: 31.05.2021 09:53

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COVID-19 symptoms are non-specific and their severity can vary. The disease may not always produce symptoms, but it may also lead to severe pneumonia. For those belonging to the risk groups in the worst case the disease can also end in death.

For most people who have been infected with the coronavirus, the progression of the disease is mild and they heal.

We would like to remind that the virus risk group includes older people and those who have chronic diseases, for whom the disease is more often more severe.

The virus spreads from person to person through droplet infection, mainly upon close contact with a person who might be infected, who is experiencing symptoms of the disease, primarily a cough.

The incubation period of the disease is about 2-14 days. A person can be infectious to other 2 days before symptoms occur or a positive SARS-CoV-2 analysis is given. The virus can also spread from an infected person whose symptoms are very mild.

*The most common symptoms include :

headache, loss of smell, congested nose, cough, fatigue and weakness, muscle pain, runny nose, loss of taste, sore throat, fever.

In more severe cases there might be:

difficulties breathing, chest pain, problems with speech and movements.

Last updated: 01.10.2021 16:04

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Coronavirus infection can be more severe in people over 60 years of age or in people with chronic conditions as their organism and immunity may be weaker.

Examples of chronic diseases include diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, tumours, asthma and other chronic pulmonary diseases, chronic kidney and liver diseases, and immunodeficiency.

Coronavirus spreads from person to person, mainly via droplet infection.

That is why it is necessary to avoid close contact with the elderly and people with chronic conditions as much as possible.

It is not advisable to take even your healthy children to their grandparents, because if the children should fall ill, the grandparents are at high risk.

Last updated: 31.05.2021 09:53

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According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) there is no evidence that anybody has caught the infection from a dead person.

There still might be a certain risk of infection in coming into contact with the bodily fluids of a dead person who had the coronavirus. Therefore, it is better to avoid any kind of contact with a dead person who had given a positive coronavirus sample.

Last updated: 24.09.2020 15:54

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Before starting as a volunteer make sure that you are healthy and know how to protect yourself and others from the virus. If you have not had the disease, make sure to get vaccinated and follow other precautions as well -- do not put yourself or those in need of help in danger. If you are in a risk group (e.g. you are over the age of 60 or have a chronic disease), it would be wise to choose a way of helping that would have fewer direct contacts, for instance supportive phone conversations with the elderly. Take care of the safety and health of yourself and others.

  • If you wish to contribute as a volunteer and help people who have run into problems, start near yourself: from your building, street, village, municipality, association.

  • Voluntary work is offering up your time, energy, or skills out of free will and without getting any remuneration: volunteers help others or work mainly in the public interests and for the good of the society. It is important to ensure that no one would be left without attention or, to the contrary, would put themselves in danger by helping someone or accepting help.

  • When it comes to calls for voluntary action, you should maintain a clear head and make sure that the goal, intermediary and caller are trustworthy, in order to stop the fast spread of the virus and protect yourself from scams.

If you wish to offer your services as a volunteer to organisations or need support to work as a volunteer, use the portal Vabatahtlike Värav at https://vabatahtlikud.ee/eng. The page also aggregates the guidelines that have been issued to volunteers and non-governmental organisations on hhow to act in the current situation.

Last updated: 13.10.2021 12:46

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More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).