The 12 Most Common Questions on the Coronavirus Answered

With mixed messages coming from our politicians, Czechs have turned to the internet to answer their COVID-19 questions. We explore the top 12 coronavirus questions, according to Google Trends.


1. Where do I buy a face mask?

An overview of companies that can buy face masks or materials for their production is published on the Ministry of Industry and Trade website.

2. Number of cases

The last official number (as on Thursday, March 26) is 1654 cases in the Czech Republic. However, given the low number of people tested (roughly over 20,000), it is almost certain that the actual number of infected people is much higher.

3. Coronavirus symptoms: what are they?

According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some patients may also have a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion and aches, and pains or diarrhoea. About 80% of people who get Covid-19 experience a mild case – about as serious as a regular cold – and recover without needing any special treatment.

About one in six people, the WHO says, become seriously ill. The elderly and people with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, or chronic respiratory conditions, are at a greater risk of serious illness from Covid-19.

4. How to make a face mask?

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, face masks are in huge demand right now. Millions of masks are needed, and you can help. Here is a tutorial by Bohdana Goliášová (Tvůrci v praxi) that has collected more than a million views on YouTube.

5. Who started the coronavirus?

Various crazy conspiracy theories have been circulating that the virus somehow escaped from a Chinese lab, either by accident or design. However, this is categorically untrue and scientists studying its genetic code have linked it to bats. It probably then jumped to another animal, which passed it on to humans.

6. Is there a cure for the coronavirus?

There is no specific treatment, although doctors are trialling existing drugs for viruses such as Ebola, malaria, and HIV. Early results seem promising but, until full clinical trials have been concluded, doctors cannot be certain that the drugs are effective.  Work to develop a vaccine is accelerating but it is unlikely to be available until next year.

7. How does this coronavirus compare to past respiratory epidemics?

The 1918 Spanish Influenza – or the H1N1 virus – remains the most devastating flu pandemic in modern history. The disease swept around the globe and is estimated to have caused between 50 and 100 million deaths.

A cousin of the same virus was also behind the 2009 swine flu outbreak, thought to have killed as many as 575,400 people.

Other major influenza outbreaks include Asian flu in 1957, which led to roughly two million deaths, and Hong Kong flu, which killed one million people 11 years later.

8. How to sterilize a face mask

The key number is 60. You should wash your face mask at 60° C and sterilized it after each use. Before the mask dries, you should iron it.

9. How to make a face mask WITHOUT sewing

10. Why is it named coronavirus?

“When you look at it under an electron-microscope, you see the virus is studded with these spike proteins, and they give it the appearance of having a halo, or a crown and corona happens to be the Latin word for crown.”

11. Did coronavirus come from bats?

What we think at the moment is that this new virus came to us from bats, who infected an intermediate animal, and that animal may have infected humans.

12. Is coronavirus worse than the flu?

“I’m getting asked this question so much, I think people are wondering ‘well, flu kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, why are we so worried about this new virus?’

“Here’s why I’m worried: it looks like the death rate from the new coronavirus is at least ten times higher than the death rate from seasonal flu,” said Dr. Seema Yasmin, professor of Medicine at Stanford University in the USA.

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