Section 9.4 | SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
This section contains text excerpted from the following sources: Text in this section begins with excerpts from “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), September 20, 2021; Text beginning with the heading “Watch for Symptoms” is excerpted from “Symptoms of COVID-19,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), February 22, 2021; Text under the heading “Protect Yourself” is excerpted from “How to Protect Yourself & Others,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), August 13, 2021; Text under the heading “Research on COVID-19” is excerpted from “COVID-19 Research,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), April 29, 2021.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a new coronavirus discovered in 2019. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Some people who are infected may not have symptoms. For people who have symptoms, illness can range from mild-to-severe. Adults 65 years and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness. People 12 years and older should get COVID-19 vaccines to prevent getting and spreading the illness.
•Get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are 12 or older. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free!
•Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
•Avoid close contact with people outside your home. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from others.
•Wear a mask in public, even if you do not feel sick. The make cover will help protect others in case you are infected.
•Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
•Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
•Stay home if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath.
•Seek emergency medical care if you develop severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, chest pain, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.
Watch for Symptoms
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
•Fever or chills
•Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
•Muscle or body aches
•New loss of taste or smell
•Congestion or runny nose
•Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
•Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
•Inability to wake or stay awake
•Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
•Authorized COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from COVID-19.
•You should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
•Once you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
Wear a Mask
•Everyone 2 years or older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places.
•In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
•In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
•People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
•If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection and prevent possibly spreading COVID-19 to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (such as on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
Stay Six Feet Away from Others
•Inside your home
•Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
•If possible, maintain six feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
•Outside your home
•Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
•Stay at least six feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people, especially if you are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Avoid Crowds and Poorly Ventilated Spaces
•Being in crowded places like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters puts you at higher risk for COVID-19.
•Avoid indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible.
•If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.
Test to Prevent Spread to Others
•Testing can give you information about your risk of spreading COVID-19.
•You can choose from many different types of tests.
•Regardless of the test type you select, a positive test result means that you have an infection and should isolate and inform your close contacts to avoid spreading disease to others.
•Over-the-counter self-tests can be used at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results. Anyone can use self-tests, regardless of vaccination status or whether they have symptoms or not.
•Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household.
•A positive self-test result means that you have an infection and should avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
•A negative self-test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating the test with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
•Ask your healthcare provider if you need help interpreting your test results.
Wash 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.
•It is especially important to wash your hands:
•Before eating or preparing food
•Before touching your face
•After using the restroom
•After leaving a public place
•After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
•After handling your mask
•After changing a diaper
•After caring for someone sick
•After touching animals or pets
•If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent 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.
Cover Coughs and Sneezes
•If you are wearing a mask: You can?cough or sneeze into your mask. Put on a new, clean mask as soon as possible and wash your hands.
•If you are not wearing a mask:
•Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
•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 percent alcohol.
Clean and Disinfect
•Clean high touch surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
•If someone is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
•Use a household disinfectant product from EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19) according to manufacturer’s labeled directions.
•If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Monitor Your Health Daily
•Be alert for symptoms:
•Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
•Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
•Do not take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, such as acetaminophen.
•Follow the CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
•Monitoring symptoms is especially important if you are running errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of six feet.
Difference between COVID-19 and Flu
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called “SARS-CoV-2”), and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.
COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer.
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
While more is learned every day about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it, there is still a lot that is unknown.
Research on COVID-19
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) researchers are building on an expansive body of world-class research by applying knowledge to reduce the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Research on COVID-19 in the Air
Common modes of transmission of COVID-19 include aerosols or respiratory droplets that are produced when a person coughs, sneezes, sings or talks, particularly in indoor environments with limited ventilation. Aerosols are very tiny particles that linger in the air and move with air currents like smoke or dust. Respiratory droplets are larger and fall, landing on surfaces where they can linger hours to days.
The focus of this research was an “open office” such as a cubicle work environment where there is concern about how aerosols from an infected person, though likely asymptomatic, might affect other workers in other locations in an office. This research will first determine potential levels of exposure and then look at practical office modifications that might reduce exposure to the virus.
Researchers are also looking at technologies that are safe to operate in spaces where there will be people, like offices, subways, restaurants, etc., to reduce the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the air. These technologies include devices and products like ultraviolet C (UV-C) devices, chemical-based devices, and physical removal devices like filters.
Research on COVID-19 on Surfaces
Respiratory droplets, which are larger, and fall quickly, can still be a mode of transmission for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. First, researchers had to develop a way to quickly detect live virus in surface samples because current testing takes a few days to get results, which would be too late to worry about surface contamination. Researchers developed a rapid analytical method so that they could understand potential surface transmission in a short time.
Areas that are frequently touched by many different people can pose a public-health risk during the pandemic, so researchers evaluated commercially available antimicrobial products for potential long-lasting effectiveness against the virus. Currently, EPA-registered products with long-lasting effectiveness claims are limited to those that control odor-causing bacteria on hard, nonporous surfaces; there are no EPA registered products with public-health claims that provide long-lasting (e.g., weeks to months) disinfection. The benefits of having a longer-lasting antimicrobial product are important, especially when cleaning and disinfecting a surface or object cannot be accomplished every time someone new touches it.
In addition, ways to apply disinfectants to many different, large surface areas quickly and effectively were needed to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. Researchers evaluated electrostatic sprayers and foggers to rapidly apply disinfectants over large, complex surface areas.
At the request of some of the countries largest transit agencies, the EPA researchers also studied whether UV-C could inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus on subways and buses. This results from this research are useful for business owners, school administrators, and others.
Overall, this research will help decision makers determine the best ways to help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 from potential surface transmission.
Determining Community Exposure
With an infectious disease like COVID-19, people may be contagious before they show any symptoms. Some may never show symptoms. To determine the true rate of community infection and to provide information to help public-health departments around the country to make the best decisions on directing resources, the EPA researchers have developed several ways to monitor exposure.
The EPA researchers are analyzing wastewater samples from communities in southwestern Ohio using a molecular approach to look for the genetic marker of SARS-CoV-2. This approach acts as an early warning system to alert public-health officials about increasing infection in a community. It can also serve to let the officials know when cases are dropping.
Researchers are also working on a standardized method that could quantify the level of live, or infectious, SARS-CoV-2 detected in raw sewage at wastewater treatment plants.
The EPA researchers have also developed a salivary antibody test that is simple, easy-to-collect, low-cost, and noninvasive. Antibody testing helps identify people who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and have developed an immune response, but who might not have ever developed symptoms. This test can help public-health officials determine the rate of infection and provide insights on the true impact of the pandemic in communities across the country.
Research on Masks and PPE
Masks and social distancing have been important to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Researchers studied the effectiveness of different kinds of masks and facial coverings to help people decide which kind of masks to buy and wear to protect themselves and others.
Researchers also evaluated methods to disinfect used Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and evaluated whether any of the disinfection methods causes damage to the PPE or limited its performance in reducing exposure to COVID-19. This information helps frontline workers such as healthcare staff and emergency responders when PPE are in limited supply. Proper cleaning and disinfection for PPE ensures continued protection from exposure to the disease.
Do all people respond to environmental health hazards in the same way? ›
People respond differently to environmental hazards due to individual differences such as age, sex, weight, health issues, and genetic makeup. Risk assessment is the process of measuring the chance that an environmental hazard will cause harm.What are the three types of test you could do at your house to protect against chemical hazards? ›
List three types of tests you could do at your house to protect against chemical hazards. Radon test for radon gas, carbon monoxide detectors for carbon monoxide gas, look or test for lead paint or lead sources in the home.What factors cause different people to respond differently to similar environmental hazards? ›
Factors in your environment can range from chemicals in air or water pollution, mold, pesticides, diet choices, or grooming products. Subtle differences in one person's genes can cause them to respond differently to the same environmental exposure as another person.What is an example of a social hazard? ›
Poverty and illiteracy are examples of social hazards. We know that poor and uneducated people get sick more frequently, compared to wealthier and more educated people. Alcoholism, obesity, smoking and drug abuse are also social hazards that affect our health.What are the 4 types of environmental hazards? ›
We face countless environmental hazards every day. To better understand them, we can think of them as falling into four categories: physical, chemical, biological, and cultural.What are the 3 types of environmental health? ›
Environmental health indicator (2016). It consists of three categories: health impacts, air quality, and water and sanitation.What are Type 3 tests? ›
"Type III" tests test for the significance of each explanatory variable, under the assumption that all other variables entered in the model equation are present.What are the four types of physical hazards OSHA test? ›
There are five main classes of physical hazard namely Explosive, Flammable, Oxidising, Gases under Pressure and Corrosive to metals.What are dual use hazards? ›
The term “dual-use chemical” is applied to a substance that can be used for both beneficial. and harmful purposes. A number of dual-use chemicals are regulated as chemical weapons. (CWs or CWAs) because they have a history of being used as such.What two types of people are generally more sensitive to environmental hazards? ›
The elderly, children and the poor are more likely to have their health affected or worsened by environmental hazards. The oldest and the youngest people are more vulnerable to poor air quality, pollution, noise, and extreme temperatures — both cold and heat. Children are also particularly negatively affected by noise.
What are two main environments that are affected by environmental hazards? ›
The most common environmental health hazards are air and water pollution.What are the top two environmental risk factors? ›
- Chemical Safety. ...
- Air Pollution. ...
- Climate Change and Natural Disasters. ...
- Diseases Caused by Microbes. ...
- Lack of Access to Health Care. ...
- Infrastructure Issues. ...
- Poor Water Quality. ...
- Global Environmental Issues.
Harassment, bullying, and violence are examples of psycho-social hazards. Other forms include stress, fatigue, and overwork.Which two factors does toxicity depend on? ›
The toxicity of a substance depends on three factors: its chemical structure, the extent to which the substance is absorbed by the body, and the body's ability to detoxify the substance (change it into less toxic substances) and eliminate it from the body.What are common social risks? ›
There is growing recognition that social risk factors – such as poverty, minority race and/or ethnicity, social isolation, and limited community resources – play a major role in health, and significant gaps remain in health and in life expectancy based on poverty, race, ethnicity, and community environment.What are the 4 types of environment? ›
The atmosphere or air, lithosphere, or rocks and soil, hydrosphere, or water, and the biological component of the environment, or biosphere, are the four basic components of the environment.What are the 4 types of vulnerability which expose to hazard? ›
According to the different types of losses, the vulnerability can be defined as physical vulnerability, economic vulnerability, social vulnerability and environmental vulnerability.What are 3 environmental factors that cause ill health? ›
Environmental factors (e.g. overcrowding, diet, climate, stress) and exposures (e.g. from air, food, drink, surfaces) play a part in causing and/or aggravating disease and ill health, both directly and via parents.What are the 5 example of environmental health? ›
Clean air, stable climate, adequate water, sanitation and hygiene, safe use of chemicals, protection from radiation, healthy and safe workplaces, sound agricultural practices, health-supportive cities and built environments, and a preserved nature are all prerequisites for good health.What is the difference between Type I and Type III? ›
A.: The main difference between Type I and III cements is fineness. Type III is ground finer. The greater fineness speeds cement hydration because there's more cement surface area that comes in contact with water. A faster hydration rate speeds strength development during the first 7 days of curing.
What is the difference between Type 2 and Type 1 t-test? ›
The 2-sample t-test takes your sample data from two groups and boils it down to the t-value. The process is very similar to the 1-sample t-test, and you can still use the analogy of the signal-to-noise ratio. Unlike the paired t-test, the 2-sample t-test requires independent groups for each sample.What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 3 error? ›
Type I error: "rejecting the null hypothesis when it is true". Type II error: "failing to reject the null hypothesis when it is false". Type III error: "correctly rejecting the null hypothesis for the wrong reason".What are four 4 workplace hazards? ›
- Physical Hazards. Physical hazards are the most common type of workplace hazards. ...
- Biological Hazards. ...
- Ergonomic Hazards. ...
- Chemical Hazards.
- Chemical Hazards. Chemical hazards include the use of chlorine or pesticides, which could cause skin irritation or corrosion.
- Physical Hazards. ...
- Biological Hazards. ...
- Ergonomic Hazards. ...
- Psychological Hazards. ...
- Corrosive Hazards. ...
- Toxic Hazards. ...
- Harmful Hazards.
Hazard Class 2 – Gases
Flammable gases (2.1) burn readily in air and are in a gaseous state at 68°F (e.g., propane and spray paints). Non-flammable gases (2.2) may include liquified gases or cryogenic liquids (e.g., helium and asthma inhalers).
Biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) covers all laboratories that work with agents associated with human diseases — that is, pathogenic or infectious organisms — that pose a moderate health hazard.What is the single greatest threat to environmental health? ›
Climate change the greatest threat the world has ever faced, UN expert warns.What is a very unhealthy air quality? ›
When AQI values are above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy, at first for members of populations at greatest risk of a health effect, then for the entire population as AQI values get higher (greater than 150).What are the 10 environmental factors? ›
- Oxygen Concentration.
- Radiation. Key Words. Essential Questions/Objectives. Exploratory Questions (OPTIONAL)
Environmental changes have to do with changes caused by the variation in the occurrences of some climatic factors; rainfall, temperature, light wind: biotic factors; predators, parasites, soil micro-organism, pest and diseases: and edaphic factors; soil pH, soil texture, soil structure etc.
What are 2 causes of environmental destruction? ›
Environmental changes may be driven by many factors including economic growth, population growth, urbanization, intensification of agriculture, rising energy use and transportation.What are at least 3 common environmental issues? ›
- Rapid Population Growth.
- Food Production and Equitable Distribution.
- Global Warming.
- Depletion of the Atmospheric Ozone.
- Acid Precipitation and Air Pollution.
- Ocean Pollution.
Biological, Chemical, and Physical Environmental Hazards. Environmental hazards can also be classified into three interrelated categories (biological, chemical, and physical) based on the properties of their causes.Who is most at risk from environmental change? ›
For example, people living on floodplains, coastlines, or in areas prone to severe storms are more vulnerable to extreme weather. Those living in poverty may be less able to prepare for or respond to extreme events. As a result, these individuals are expected to have greater impacts from climate-related hazards.What is a Class 3 health hazard? ›
Hazard Class 3: Flammable Liquids.What are three 3 potential workplace hazards? ›
- 1) Safety hazards. Safety hazards can affect any employee, but these are more likely to affect those who work with machinery or on a construction site. ...
- 2) Biological hazards. Biological hazards are extremely dangerous. ...
- 3) Physical hazards. ...
- 4) Ergonomic hazards. ...
- 5) Chemical hazards. ...
- 6) Workload hazards.
Routes of Exposure
There are four routes by which a substance can enter the body: inhalation, skin (or eye) absorption, ingestion, and injection.
Inhalation The most common type of exposure occurs when you breathe a substance into the lungs. The lungs consist of branching airways (called bronchi) with clusters of tiny air sacs (called alveoli) at the ends of the airways.What is the most common route of toxic exposure? ›
Inhalation is the most common route of entry a chemical can take to enter the body. Prevention - Personal protective equipment that provides protection from airborne contaminants includes respirators or masks appropriate for the specific contaminant.What is a new social risk? ›
We conceptualize new social risks as risks that occur more frequently today than, say, two or three decades ago because changes in the economic, demographic, and social structure increased the social groups at risk and/or increased the risk of a given social group to fall into poverty.
What are risky behaviors for social health? ›
The most common high-risk behaviors include violence, alcoholism, tobacco use disorder, risky sexual behaviors, and eating disorders.What are the risks of bad social health? ›
Poor social skills harm our health. Low social health puts us at risk of social isolation, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.Do environmental problems affect everyone equally? ›
While the effects of climate change are global, and their projected impacts concern every area in the world, a wide scientific literature suggests that climate risks disproportionately affect the poorest countries and people, who are more exposed and more vulnerable to their impacts.Who would have the greatest sensitivity to environmental hazards? ›
Infants and children are more susceptible than adults to a range of environmental hazards. Young children (under five years) have limited mobility. They depend on others to move them out of dangerous situations. Young children are less able to perceive risk.In what ways does your body respond to changing environmental conditions? ›
Humans may respond to environmental stress in four different ways: adaptation, developmental adjustment, acclimatization, and cultural responses. An adaptation is a genetically based trait that has evolved because it helps living things survive and reproduce in a given environment.What are the two main causes for most environmental problems? ›
Pollution of air, land and water through excessive deforestation, industrialization and overfilling landfills which emits CO2 and adds to greenhouse gas emissions are all topmost causes of these environmental issues.What is the number one cause of all environmental problems? ›
1. Pollution. There are 7 key types of pollution – air, water, soil, noise, radioactive, light and thermal and these are primary causes that affect our environment in many ways.What populations have been most affected by environmental health issues? ›
Environmental pollutants can cause health problems like respiratory diseases, heart disease, and some types of cancer. People with low incomes are more likely to live in polluted areas and have unsafe drinking water. And children and pregnant women are at higher risk of health problems related to pollution.What is the biggest environmental health risk? ›
Air pollution is one of the greatest environmental risk to health. By reducing air pollution levels, countries can reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.What is the largest environmental risk? ›
Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health and children are especially vulnerable.
What is the single biggest environmental risk we face today? ›
Global warming is causing increasingly frequent, intense and devastating droughts, hurricanes and heatwaves.What is an example of a developmental adjustment? ›
Developmental adjustment may be the result of naturally occurring environmental stresses or cultural practices, including medical or dental treatments. Using braces to change the shape of the jaw and the position of the teeth is an example of a dental practice that brings about a developmental adjustment.What organ in the body usually reacts to temperature first? ›
The hypothalamus checks our current temperature and compares it with the normal temperature of about 37°C. If our temperature is too low, the hypothalamus makes sure that the body generates and maintains heat.What are three changes in the environment that can affect the body? ›
A number of specific environmental issues can impede human health and wellness. These issues include chemical pollution, air pollution, climate change, disease-causing microbes, lack of access to health care, poor infrastructure, and poor water quality.What are the five environmental factors? ›
Air, water, climate, soil, natural vegetation and landforms are all environmental factors.What are 2 conditions an extreme environment can have? ›
Extreme environments are found across the Earth. They are places where humans would not survive – for example, environments that have very high temperatures or pressure. They could be very acidic or alkaline or extremely cold with very little nutrients.