World Triathlon Coaching and Training Guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic period
2. Facts about COVID-19
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. 'CO' stands for corona, 'VI' for virus, and 'D' for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as '2019 novel coronavirus' or '2019-nCoV.' The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. Less frequently, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19. In case of fever take only paracetamol and consult your doctor as soon as possible!
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.
Who is most at risk?
We are learning more about how COVID-19 affects people every day. Older people, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. As this is a new virus, we are still learning about how it affects children. We know it is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there are relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children. The virus can be fatal, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical conditions.
How to stay safe?
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
Clean your hands often:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact:
- Avoid physical contact with people outside your household.
- Put at least 1-meter distance between yourself and other people.
- In case of fever or other medical problems, avoid training and consult your doctor.
How to protect others?
Stay home and isolate yourself, only go out for basic needs (shopping for food, work, acute medical care). Except for urgent needs, postpone your medical appointments.
Cover coughs and sneezes:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. The video shows what your athletes need to know about handwashing:
Wear a facemask if you are sick:
- If you are sick, you should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider's office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
- If you are NOT sick, you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Clean and disinfect:
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools, World Health Organisation, March 2020
- How to Protect Yourself, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), How to Prepare, 2020