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Houston's coronavirus recovery czar on how long this 'new normal' will last

Houston's recovery czar said the time frame he is looking at for business recovery ranges from 6 months to 2 years.

HOUSTON — As Houstonians get back to their hustle, there’s still a lot of uncertainty weighing on people’s minds.

“I think the most common question is around how long this will last?” said Marvin Odum, Houston's recovery czar and former president of Shell Oil. “The time frame we are talking about in terms of business recovery ranges from 6 months to 2 years."

Odum announced at a city press conference this week 24 new free testing sites will open up around Houston by the end of May.

“I think what people have to understand, particularly as people go back to work is what spread we’re having, if any and the only way to know that is to make sure testing is available," he said.

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KHOU 11 asked Odum if there's a second wave, if he thinks we will see a second shutdown.

“I do have some concern that we will learn that lesson by seeing some degree of increase. Hopefully we can force it back down with some degree of testing and contact tracing we are putting in place. It may take a wave for people to figure out, no that behavior is actually required," Odum said.

His advice for people who are out in the community this weekend is remember people can be asymptomatic. Until there's a vaccine, Odum said we all should be social distancing.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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