Q&A

Transmission I

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False - Mostly False - Partially True - Mostly True - True

Q. Can I get infected with COVID-19 at Karaoke?

Defer Judgement. According to an Infectious Diseases Division expert, people can get infected at internet cafes and coin karaokes if keyboards and microphones shared by many are used without being sterilized[1][2]. In fact, on March 5, 2020, a coin karaoke in Changnyeong had 5 related confirmed cases although transmission routes are still under investigation[3]. On February 21st, a man in his 20s was diagnosed after entering a coin karaoke room in Andong where a COVID-19 infectee stayed for an hour[4][5]. However, another expert mentioned that it is more likely that they were infected through close contact inside a small space with the infectees[5] than the microphone because COVID-19 is unlikely to be transmitted via objects[2].

Q. COVID-19 transmitted through public toilet soaps?

Mostly False. According to experts including those from the Infectious Diseases Division, the outermost part of the coronavirus is a lipid(a type of an envelope). Such envelope viruses die when lipid breaks, so it is unlikely for COVID-19 to survive when rubbed with a soap. It will be fine when you wash your hands thoroughly with running water and soap[1][2][3]. 

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Q. Can sharing a soup/stew with an infectee get me infected?

Mostly False. According to experts including those from the Infectious Diseases Division, the COVID-19 virus has a low external resistance due to its structure making it difficult to withstand a boiling stew. As it is a respiratory virus, transmission via food is very unlikely[1]. The CDC has expressed that there is no evidence to support transmission via food[2]. However, because there is a high possibility of infection by droplets secreted when talking with the infectee, you should refrain from sharing cups or food such as stew and soups for safety[1].

Q. Transmission through human feces?

Mostly True. According to the WHO, that the COVID-19 virus can be detected in a patient’s fecal specimen has been proven. However, transmission through feces is not the main route of COVID-19 transmission[1]. 

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Q. If I'm pregnant, can my baby get infected too?

Mostly False. The CDC’s clinical characteristics analysis of pregnant women who have COVID-19 and their newborn babies has found no evidence of intrauterine vertical transmission until now[1][2]. However, if the pregnant woman suffers from high fever, it may impact the fetus[3] and there may be side effects to antiviral drugs[4] that could bring limitations to treating pregnant women[5]. In 27th March 2020, researchers in US reported a case in which antibodies for COVID-19 were found inside newborn baby. However, experts agree that the results alone do not confirm the vertical infection between pregnant women and fetuses.[6].

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Q. Transmission through breast feeding?

Defer Judgement. According to the CDC, although in a few studies the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in breast milk, whether infected mothers can transmit the virus via breast milk is not verified[1]. The CDC advised that COVID-19 infectees and those suspicious should consult with family and doctors when making decisions on breastfeeding. Moreover, to prevent transmission, people are advised to wash their hands before touching a baby, baby bottle, or breast pump and to wear a mask when breastfeeding[1].

Q. Symptomatic infectee is more contagious than asymptomatic infectee?

Mostly True. According to the CDC, in general cases people are most contagious when they are most symptomatic. However, people can spread viruses before showing clear symptoms. In fact, there have been such cases with COVID-19 patients, so we can’t be too sure of an asymptomatic person’s infectivity. However, this is not the main route of COVID-19 transmission[1].

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Q. Can I get infected by eating Chinese kimchee?

Mostly False. The Republic of Korea has officially announced that “The survival rate of the virus is extremely low because the Chinese kimchi’s shipping and import processes are long. COVID-19 infection occurs when an infectee’s droplets reach the respiratory organ or mucous membrane[1]. 

Q. Can pets transmit COVID-19 to humans?

Mostly False. Although the COVID-19 seems to have emerged from animals, it is currently spreading by person-to-person contact. To date, there are no solid reports that animals including pets transmit COVID-19 viruses to humans. Moreover, there is no reason to think that animals might be a source of COVID-19 infection[1]. However, provided that not much is known about COVID-19, you should avoid contact with animals if you are infected[1].

© 2020 created by 연세대학교 (Yonsei Univ.) 고등교육혁신원 (IHEI) - ARMS & SaChoom       

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