What does it take to recover from coronavirus? It depends, experts say

As cases of the new coronavirus grow around the globe so, too, does the number of people who have recovered.

There have been more than 121,000 confirmed infections of COVID-19 worldwide as of March 11. While about 4,400 have died, just over half of those infected (66,239) have healed, including five from Ontario.

While the death rate is still hard to peg, experts agree that recovery depends on the severity of the infection.

“The vast majority of people are going to have a very mild infection and will do just fine,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist based out of Toronto General Hospital. “They’ll be asked to stay home. They’ll have a fever and a cough. It’ll be symptoms similar to a cold, which they’ve probably had countless times before, and they’ll get better in a few days.”

To recover from a mild case of COVID-19, patients will apply the same treatment methods as the common cold, he said. Doctors will recommend plenty of fluids and electrolytes, acetaminophen for fevers and aches and, most importantly, staying home to rest and reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

COVID-19 cases are considered to be more serious — and more difficult to recover from — when the virus starts impacting the lungs, Bogoch said.

He compared it to pneumonia, which requires medical intervention.

“When people have shortness of breath or trouble breathing, you can’t wait that out at home. You have to be seen in a hospital setting,” he said.

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