Coronavirus questions answered- from local lockdown to support bubbles

With new restrictions on gatherings coming into force next week and Sheffield recently placed on the Government watchlist, it can be difficult to keep track of the pandemic.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 2:43 pm

Here, we seek to answer some of the questions raised by our readers.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLD AND CORONAVIRUS?

The symptoms of coronavirus, according to the NHS, are:

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Shopper wear face masks in the city centre of Sheffield, south Yorkshire on July 24, 2020, as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Face coverings are now compulsory for customers in shops in England. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual) a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Whereas flu symptoms include:

a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above an aching body feeling tired or exhausted a dry cough a sore throat a headache

difficulty sleeping

A man lays on the grass to enjoy the sunshine in Norton park in Sheffield, northern England on May 14, 2020, following an easing of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown guidelines (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

loss of appetite diarrhoea or tummy pain feeling sick and being sick

WHO CAN I HAVE IN MY SUPPORT BUBBLE?

From Monday, September 14 the number of people allowed to meet socially in England will be reduced to six people - with exemptions for those in support bubblesA support bubble is when two households join together to become one household in the eyes of the Government. More info is available here.

IS SHEFFIELD AT RISK OF A LOCAL LOCKDOWN AS SEEN IN LEICESTER AND PARTS OF MANCHESTER?

People wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), including a face mask as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, carry shopping bags as they walk along an almost empty street in Sheffield (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Sheffield was placed on the Government watchlist this week as an ‘area of concern’ as cases continue to rise in the city. However, this doesn’t mean a local lockdown is imminent. Here’s all you need to know.

IF CASES ARE RISING, WHY HAVE WE NOT HAD MORE DEATHS?

Currently, researchers aren’t sure why exactly hospitalisations and deaths remain relatively low - but they have a few working theories. These include the fact that younger people are catching the virus, better treatment and more testing. Read more here.

ONCE I’VE HAD COVID, CAN I CATCH IT AGAIN?

If you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), you will probably have developed some immunity to the disease. But it cannot be guaranteed that will happen in all cases, nor exactly for how long that will last. New research has found that immunity to Covid-19 may last as little as one month. More information is available here.

WILL THERE BE A SECOND NATIONAL LOCKDOWN?

This is currently unlikely. The Government want to avoid a second lockdown due to economic damage this could cause after tens of thousands of jobs were lost since March.

WHAT ARE THE BEST MASKS TO WEAR TO PROTECT MYSELF AND OTHERS?

Many people who don’t like face masks have opted for plastic face shields or masks with valves, making it easier to breathe. But new research has found that these types of face coverings may not stop the spread of Covid-19 as effectively as regular cloth or disposable masks. Read more here.

HOW CAN I GET A CORONAVIRUS TEST AND HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you need to get a test done within the first 5 days of having symptoms. If you have symptoms and need to book a test www.nhs.uk/coronavirus you can do this online or by ringing 119. If you are worried about your symptoms use the NHS 111 or online service www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19/. You can call 111 for anything other than arranging a test, if you cannot get help online.The vast majority of people who are tested in person get their results the next day. A list of testing centres in Sheffield is available here.

IF A MEMBER OF MY HOUSEHOLD HAS SYMPTOMS, DO I NEED TO ISOLATE?

If someone in your household starts to have symptoms, then that person must get tested and the rest of the household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results. If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test- please be aware that only people with symptoms should get tested.

WILL COLDER WEATHER AFFECT THE RATE?

Yes. Medical experts say that viruses survive outside the body better when it is cold. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies says a temperature of 4C is particularly good for Covid-19, which is also hampered by sunlight.

WHAT IS THE NHS TRACK AND TRACE APP BEING LAUNCHED THIS MONTH AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Pubs, restaurants and other businesses have been urged to get QR codes ready for customers to check in as the NHS Covid-19 app is set to be launched across England and Wales within two weeks. Here’s all you need to know about the app.

WILL THERE BE A SECOND WAVE?

New infections hit nearly 3,000 on Monday, the highest number since May- and health chiefs are worried we could face a spike NHS Trusts in England have started making preparations for a surge in cases. Medical experts fear a second wave is inevitable but believe with the right measures in place they also say they can stop it being as bad as the first outbreak.

IN LIGHT OF THE NEW RULES, CAN I SEE FIVE PEOPLE FROM ONE HOUSEHOLD AND THEN FIVE PEOPLE FROM ANOTHER HOUSEHOLD ON THE SAME DAY?

While you wouldn’t be breaking the law in doing this, the more people you see the more likely you are to contract the virus- so it wouldn’t be wise.

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star. The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support. We couldn't do it without you. Subscribe here www.thestar.co.uk/subscriptions so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.