Top 10 questions South Dakotans have Googled about COVID-19 answered

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As people are stuck at home, many are turning to Google to find answers to the biggest questions related to COVID-19.

Interest in Coronavirus in South Dakota skyrocketed on the search engine giant during the week of March 8-14, the same time the state had its first cases and death.

So, what do South Dakotans want to know? KELOLAND News reached out to a Google Trends Analyst who pulled the top 10 questions people in South Dakota Googled in the last seven days.

Here they are, and the answers to each:

How many cases of coronavirus in South Dakota?

KELOLAND News has been tracking the official numbers released daily from the South Dakota Department of Health around noon, usually. Below is our tracker, which we update as soon as the numbers come in.

Looking for a county-by-county look? We have that on our Cases page.

How many cases of coronavirus in the US?

Depending on where you get the information, the number varies. The most up-to-date number is from Johns Hopkins University, as they are tracking state-by-state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has the data, but there is a lag from when states report cases to the agency and the CDC data is updated.

As of Wednesday morning, the United States had more than 400,000 confirmed cases.

How did coronavirus start?

As for the start of COVID-19, it’s not clear yet. We know a few things:

  • The first known case of this new strain of cornonavirus was detected in Wuhan, China in Dec. 2019.
  • “All available evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) has a natural animal origin and is not a constructed virus,” according to the World Health Organization. That animal could be a bat.
  • While early hypotheses linked it to a seafood market in Wuhan, Chinese researchers said in a Jan. 2020 scientific study that the first reported case had no link to a seafood market. However, the first fatal case “had continuous exposure to the market.”
  • Coronaviruses are common in both animals and people, according to the CDC, but “rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between.” This was seen in the SARS and MERS epidemics as well.
  • Investigations are still ongoing by public health officials.
The sun sets over the television tower along the Yangtze River in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Streets in the city of 11 million people were clogged with traffic and long lines formed at the airport, train and bus stations as thousands streamed out of the city to return to homes and jobs elsewhere. Yellow barriers that had blocked off some streets were gone, although the gates to residential compounds remained guarded. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

When will coronavirus end?

Another question without a good answer. Social distancing is working to reduce the spread. Scientists are working to develop treatment and vaccines. Viruses are unpredictable. Public health officials are looking at Wuhan, China, which opened to the public this week to see what happens when social distancing measures are relaxed.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, addressed this question at Tuesday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force Media Briefing when asked when we could see kids going back to school.

In South Dakota, the modeling provided by Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R-SD) administration and the Department of Health show hospitalizations slowing in late August.

How many people have died from coronavirus?

As of Wednesday:

  • 6 in South Dakota
  • Nearly 14,000 in the United States
  • Nearly 87,000 across the globe

The latest information from the state, region, nation and the globe can be found on our case tracker page.

How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine gives us some insight. The answer is, it depends on a number of conditions, but usually between several hours and several days.

The virus is viable for up to:

  • 72 hours on plastics
  • 48 hours on stainless steel
  • 24 hours on cardboard
  • 4 hours on copper

Carolyn Machamer, a professor of cell biology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said the numbers like 72 hours on plastic is scary, but people need to understand one key thing about that:

The CDC recommends people wash hands with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes.

To disinfect surfaces in your home, the CDC has put together a guide. The Environmental Protection Agency has also published a list of disinfectants that can fight the virus.

Wondering what surfaces to clean? Think of those high-touch surfaces like: tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets and sinks.

A word of warning: surfaces are actually not the primary way people get infected with the virus. We’ll explain more in question 9.

How many deaths in coronavirus in the US?

As of Wednesday, there are believed to be nearly 14,000 deaths in the United States. The number is changing rapidly, click here for the latest numbers. There is sometimes a lag between when the death happens and numbers are reported.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Two to 14 days after exposure, these are the likely symptoms, according to the CDC:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC, White House and Apple have developed a screening tool to see if you match the symptoms and what to do next.

Is coronavirus airborne?

It can be. The virus is spread person-to-person through what’s called respiratory droplets. That’s why health officials are telling people to be six feet away from each other or “social distancing.”

The CDC believes the virus is spread mainly from person to person and through respiratory droplets. These are created when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

“These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet),” the CDC said.

It is also detectable in the air for three hours, according to the New England Journal of Medicine study.

“You are more likely to catch the infection through the air if you are next to someone infected than off of a surface,” Machamer said.

Is that why you’re now being asked to wear a mask? Kind of. It doesn’t protect you, but rather protects the people around you if you aren’t showing symptoms. Click here for guidance on how to make a cloth face covering.

How long does coronavirus last?

Scientists are still trying to figure that out. It’s a tricky questions because it can take a few days to begin showing symptoms.

If you are sick, first of all, stay at home. Medical advice from your doctor or local department of health is the best to follow, but broadly there are two different ways to tell how long it lasts, according to the CDC:

People with COVID-19 who have stayed home can stop home isolation under the following conditions:

  • If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
    • at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
  • If you will be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
    • You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
    • you received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.

Guidance changes for those who are hospitalized.

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