COLUMBIA, S.C. — Federal public health officials are being straightforward about the coronavirus (COVID-19).
They say Americans should start preparing for more cases in the United States.
"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more really a question of when it will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters during a briefing.
Many people have questions.
Do flu and pneumonia vaccines protect against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and influenza vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.
Researchers are working to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, and all the federal health agencies are supporting their efforts.
Although these vaccines are not effective against COVID-19, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.
Will antibiotics prevent or cure the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses. Influenza is an example of a virus.
The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for the (COVID-19) you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Will a mask protect and provide a shield against coronavirus?
No, a mask is not required or recommended, as there is not enough evidence available to suggest that they protect healthy people. This aligns with current CDC and WHO guidance. However, if you are sick a mask can help prevent some germs from spreading.
Right now, doctors are treating the coronavirus like influenza.
The best way to protect yourself is overall good health and hygiene and washing your hands.