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Listen to what doctors have to say

All medical information found on this website including content, graphics and images, is for education and information objectives only. Discovery publishes content to help to promote a better understand of COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations. The content covered is an overview of key concepts and is not exhaustive in nature. We encourage further reading from other credible sources where necessary.

South African organisations:

  • National Department of Health's dedicated COVID-19 portal: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/
  • National Institute for Communicable Diseases' (part of the National Health Laboratory Service) dedicated COVID-19 hub
  • South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAPRHA - part of the National Department of Health).
  • South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
  • South African Medical Journal ()

International Organisations:

 

COVID-19

Covid-19 Benefit Information
To understand your Covid-19 benefits and cover please visit dedicated information for your relevant plan: Value Care Plan information and Standard Care Plan & Managed Care Plan information.

COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Online Doctor Consultations
Are you concerned about experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19 symptoms? You can understand your risk status at any point in time by completing the COVID-19 risk assessment. The assessment is a set of questions which determines if you may be presenting with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 disease or may have been exposed to COVID-19 infection and need a consultation with a doctor.
Depending on your risk status you might be able to make use of online doctor consultations. This tool, dedicated to COVID-19-specific screening and consultation is made available by Discovery and Vodacom, for members who are at high risk and who need urgent consultations with a healthcare professional. Read more and access the Risk Assessment tool and DrConnect.

COVID-19 articles hub
With so much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, you can now explore our series of COVID-19 related articles to gain valuable insights into how COVID-19 impacts everyday life and extract brilliant and rational perspectives on the latest news around COVID-19 and its effect on the lives of all South Africans.

Understanding COVID-19

About Covid-19

About Covid-19
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About coronaviruses

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, which indicates that person-to-person spread is occurring.

How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 spreads quickly, through:

  • coughing or sneezing - people could catch COVID-19 if they are standing within one metre of a person who has the illness, by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by the ill person;
  • close personal contact, such as when shaking hands or touching others;
  • touching an object or surface on which the virus is found (after an ill person coughs or exhales close to these objects or surfaces such as desks, tables or telephones), then - before washing the hands - touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.

Preventing COVID-19

Preventing COVID-19
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Protect yourself and others by making these 6 simple precautions your new habits:

  • Clean your hands often
  • Cough or sneeze in your bent elbow - not your hands!
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Limit social gatherings and time spent in crowded places
  • Avoid close contact with someone who is sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19
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What are the signs and symptoms to look out for?

The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are non-specific. This means that the disease presentation or its signs and symptoms can range from asymptomatic people (no obvious signs or symptoms) to those with mild symptoms (like those associated with the common cold), as well as severe respiratory illness (such as pneumonia). In the case of severe or critical illness, the risk of complications increases and the complications can be life threatening.

Typical signs and symptoms

Most common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing up slime (producing sputum in the lungs)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint ache or pain
  • Body chills

According to the World Health Organization, in more than 80% of all reported cases, fever is the most typical symptom. This is followed by a dry cough (in around 68% of cases), fatigue (38% of cases), producing sputum (33% of cases) and shortness of breath (nearly 19% of reported cases).

Less common symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Nasal congestion
  • Diarrhoea
  • Coughing up of blood or blood-stained mucus
  • Intensely red eyes, watery discharge from the eyes, swollen eyelids and light sensitivity.
  • loss of taste or smell
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

Once a person has been exposed to coronavirus, signs and symptoms may start in as little as 2 days or take as long as 14 days.

In most instances, the most obvious signs of infection are mild respiratory symptoms and fever. The time it takes for symptoms to appear is called the 'incubation period'. On average, official reports indicate that signs and symptoms typically develop five to six days after being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. This is often called the 'mean incubation period'. The full incubation period ranges between 1 and 14 days.

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