Test your knowledge of coronavirus, from A to Z

Nov. 12, 2020
scrabble pieces spelling out corona for this story about coronavirus A to Z.
Source: Getty Images.

Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date COVID-19 vaccine information, please click here.

A = Asymptomatic spread has been one of the most mysterious and haunting aspects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Do people without any symptoms of COVID-19 help spread the virus? The alarming answer is yes.

B = BYOB, as in Bring your own blanket. This play on BYOB is designed to convince people to socialize outdoors, where the virus doesn’t spread as easily. Indoor air can be dangerous, so don’t socialize inside your home with people outside of your family. Avoid crowded restaurants and bars. Dress warmly, wrap yourself in a blanket and catch up with friends and family outside.

C = COVID-19. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 means coronavirus disease 2019. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.

D = Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid used in a wide range of conditions for its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects. For hospitalized patients with COVID-19, it has been found to benefit critically ill patients.

E = Exponential growth is a specific way that a quantity may increase over time. The old phone tree is an exponential function: you call two people, they call two people, they call two people and you’ve just spread the word to 14 people.

F = Flu, or influenza, has many of the same symptoms as COVID-19. It’s hard to tell the difference between the two based on symptoms alone. Testing can help determine if you are sick with the flu or COVID-19.

Woman sick on her couch at home. in Coronavirus A to Z, F stands for flu.
UCHealth physicians advise patients to get a flu shot early this season and to learn the difference between the flu and the virus that causes COVID-19. Photo: Getty Images.

G = Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, may develop in patients who have COVID-19, sometimes prior to developing fever and lower respiratory tract infection.

kids laughing while washing their hands. In coronavirus A to Z, S stands for sanitizer when hand washing isn't available.
Handwashing is still the best way to stay healthy but hand sanitizer will work when you can’t get to a sink. Photo: Getty Images.

H = Hand sanitizer is recommended for handwashing if soap and water are not readily available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

I = Inflammatory Syndrome has been detected during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic with reports of a new multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children increasing in Europe and the United States, according to the CDC.

J = Juggling act. Parents who have young children are juggling work-from-home, school, and worries about finances and older generations of family members who are isolated. They’re having a hard time coping with pandemic stress.

K = Kids are more likely than adults to be asymptomatic spreaders of COVID-19. Nearly 40% of children ages 6 to 13 tested positive for COVID-19, but were asymptomatic, according to just published research from the Duke University BRAVE Kids study. While the children had no symptoms of COVID-19, they had the same viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in their nasal areas, meaning that asymptomatic children had the same capacity to spread the virus compared to others who had symptoms of COVID-19.

A child at home doing school work. in coronavirus A to Z, K stands for kids and the likelihood they are asymptomatic spreaders.
Source: Getty Images.

L = Long haulers, as some COVID-19 survivors are known, deal with the aftermath of COVID-19 weeks or months after testing negative. These patients often receive help from inpatient post-ICU rehabilitation clinics and newly formed outpatient rehabilitation clinics for COVID-19 survivors.

M = Masks are essential to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in communities. You should wear a mask when in close contact with others outside your family, especially in enclosed spaces.

N = Nursing home residents are among the most isolated people in our society. Use video calling to stay connected and combat loneliness for friends and family in nursing homes. Meanwhile, nurses are among the heroic frontline workers now. As COVID-19 infections spike in the fall and winter, health experts worry about nursing shortages.

child with her hand on the window with grandparents hands on the window on the other side.
Older people are one of the most isolated population during this pandemic because of their high risk of serious infection. Source: Getty Images.

O = The outbreak of COVID-19 in November in Colorado is as dangerous as it has ever been. The number of people testing positive and needing hospitalization for COVID-19 is at record levels.

Julie Christen shows off her COVID superpower badge her friend made her as she stands in front of the Garth Englund Blood Center sign.
Julie Christen, a labor and delivery nurse at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital, holds up her “COVID superpower” badge a friend made. Christen was at the Garth Englund Blood Donation Center in Fort Collins to donate her convalescent plasma for COVID patients. Photo by Kati Blocker, UCHealth.

P = Plasma, as in convalescent plasma, is needed to help patients across Colorado. UCHealth began providing convalescent plasma to severely ill hospitalized patients last spring. Several studies are ongoing at UCHealth, including the PassItOn trial, a National Institutes of Health-funded study that will enroll 1,000 patients across the country aimed at trying to prevent disease progression and improve recovery. The C3PO study, also funded by NIH, aims to try to prevent the progression of the disease and improve recovery for patients who come to the Emergency Room and are positive for COVID-19.

Q = Quarantine. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends patients follow these guidelines for quarantine and isolation after contracting COVID-19.

R = Remdesivir, the anti-viral drug, has been shown to lessen recovery time for patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19.

S = Symptoms include fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea. If you are having these symptoms and you think you might have COVID-19, stay at home and isolate yourself from others except to get medical care. Get rest and stay hydrated and take over-the-counter medicines to help you feel better.

You should seek medical attention if you or someone is showing any of these signs: trouble breathing; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion; inability to wake or stay awake; bluish lips or face.

T = Testing for COVID-19 is available at numerous locations across Colorado. To learn more about testing through UCHealth, please click here.

UCHealth employee tests a patient for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site.
Lauren Bomke, a EMT with UCHealth, tests a person for COVID-19 at the UCHealth Laboratory – Harmony Campus drive-thru testing site. Photo by Joel Blocker, for UCHealth.

U = Underlying conditions in adults or children can cause an increased risk of severe illness resulting from COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of those conditions include: cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions, immunocompromised state, obesity, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

A nurse administers a shot to a woman. In coronavirus A to Z, V stands for vaccine news, which has been good lately.
UCHealth registered nurse and research coordinator Stacie Kenny administers a shot to the first participant of UCHealth’s COVID-19 vaccine study being conducted in northern Colorado. Participants in the study will receive either a placebo vaccine or a vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Photo: UCHealth.

V = Vaccine news that Pfizer has developed a vaccine that is 90% effective bodes well for other vaccine studies, including two underway at UCHealth. Getting vaccines out to communities will be complex and challenging, but public health experts hope a large percentage of the population can get vaccines next year.

W = Wastewater monitoring is one of the ways scientists can detect the spread of COVID-19 in communities. The virus can appear in poop before anyone shows symptoms, according to the State of Colorado.

X = X-mas, New Year’s and Thanksgiving are expected to be different this year. It’s 2020. States and local governments across the United States are encouraging families to gather with only members of their household.

Source: Getty images.

Y = Young adults are coming home from college before the Thanksgiving break. Follow these tips to keep everyone at home safe.

Z = Zinc is proven to help with other coronaviruses that are responsible for the common cold. Here’s a big question many are asking: can zinc shorten the duration of – or even diminish the symptom load and thereby lessen the impact – of COVID-19?

About the author

Erin Emery is editor of UCHealth Today, a hub for medical news, inspiring patient stories and tips for healthy living. Erin spent years as a reporter for The Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and Colorado Springs Sun. She was part of a team of Denver Post reporters who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting.

Erin joined UCHealth in 2008, and she is awed by the strength of patients and their stories.