Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Summary of assumptions

In order to develop technical guidance to support F/P/T public health authorities and front-line clinicians in health care settings respond to the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, a number of assumptions were taken to develop interim guidance documents.  These assumptions are based on currently available scientific evidence and expert opinion and are subject to change as new information on transmissibility and epidemiology becomes available.  It is still to be determined how easily the virus spreads between people.

Table of contents

Transmission

Incubation period

The incubation period is up to 14 days.

Risk

In the absence of infection prevention and control precautions including the consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment:

Period of communicability

The period of communicability is not well understood and varies by type of coronavirus.  Detailed medical information from people infected is needed to determine the infectious period of COVID-19.

Contamination of surfaces

Reference documents:

Endnotes

Endnote 1

WHO. Q&A on coronaviruses. [Online] 23 February 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses].

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Endnote 2

Ibid.

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Endnote 3

Zhang W and al. Molecular and serological investigation of 2019-nCoV infected patients: implication of multiple shedding routes.  Journal of Emerging Microbes & Infections. [Accessed at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/22221751.2020.1729071]

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Endnote 4

CDC. Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html]

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Endnote 5

WHO. Q&A on infection prevention and control for health care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV. [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-infection-prevention-and-control-for-health-care-workers-caring-for-patients-with-suspected-or-confirmed-2019-ncov].

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Endnote 6

 Ibid.

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Endnote 7

Ibid.

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Endnote 8

Zhang W and al. Molecular and serological investigation of 2019-nCoV infected patients: implication of multiple shedding routes.  Journal of Emerging Microbes & Infections. [Accessed at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/22221751.2020.1729071]

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Endnote 9

WHO EPI-WiN presentation deck. More information about COVID-19 public health implications.

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Endnote 10

WHO. WHO recommendations to reduce risk of transmission of emerging pathogens from animals to humans in live animal marks. [Online] February 13, 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus/who-recommendations-to-reduce-risk-of-transmission-of-emerging-pathogens-from-animals-to-humans-in-live-animal-markets].

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Endnote 11

Ibid.

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Endnote 12

WHO. Q&A on coronaviruses. [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses].

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Endnote 13

WHO. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report -30.  [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200219-sitrep-30-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=3346b04f_2]

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Endnote 14

WHO. Advice on the use of masks in the community, during home care and in health care settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/publications-detail/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak]

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Endnote 15

Ibid.

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Endnote 16

WHO. Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection is suspected. [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/publications-detail/clinical-management-of-severe-acute-respiratory-infection-when-novel-coronavirus-(ncov)-infection-is-suspected].

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Endnote 17

WHO. Q&A on infection prevention and control for health care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV. [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-infection-prevention-and-control-for-health-care-workers-caring-for-patients-with-suspected-or-confirmed-2019-ncov ].

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Endnote 18

WHO. Q&A on coronaviruses. [Online] 21 February 2020 [Accessed at: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses].

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Endnote 19

Kampf G, Todt D, Pfaender S, Steinmann E, Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and its inactivation with biocidal agents, Journal of Hospital Infection .https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.022 [Accessed at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195670120300463?via%3Dihub].

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