Coronavirus, or well known as Covid-19 is a deadly virus that causes illnesses such as common cold, cough, difficult breathing, throat pain, and some serious diseases. It is a new strain discovered in the year 2019 in China, gradually affecting many other countries in the world like Italy, Iran, France, South Korea, Germany, India, the USA, UK, etc. The virus has now spread to more than 100 countries in the world.
The virus is transmitted between humans and animals. It is spreading very fast and becoming an epidemic in India as well. The virus has affected 1,98,000 people as of yet and around 7900 deaths have been reported.
As per research by Chinese authorities, 80% of the coronavirus cases are mild but 20% of them need immediate hospitalization. The death rate varies as per the country and the condition of the affected people.
Symptoms of Coronavirus:
The common symptoms of Coronavirus infection include respiratory problems like cough, fever, difficult breathing, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, the coronavirus infection can lead to pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and also death.
Usually, symptoms of the virus show up in the affected people within 14 days of getting exposed to the virus.
If you face any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you must call your doctor and tell him about the symptoms before going to the doctor’s clinic or emergency room. The doctor will be able to guide you about the necessary steps to be taken.
How is the Coronavirus virus diagnosed?
Diagnosing the coronavirus is challenging with only a physical examination. This is because mild cases of the virus will seem to be similar to flu or a bad cold. However, a lab test can confirm the virus.
How did the Outbreak start?
It is believed that the virus has its roots in a wet market in Wuhan, China that sold both dead and live animals. It included fish and birds too. The virus started in December 2019. These types of markets possess a high risk of spreading viruses from animals to humans. This happens because hygiene is difficult to be maintained at places where live animals are kept and butchered at the same place.
The animal source of the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it is believed to be the bats. Although bats were not sold in the Wuhan market they might have infected chickens or other animals that were sold in the market. Bats are known to have caused a variety of deadly zoonotic viruses such as Ebola and rabies.
Some people who visited the market in Wuhan developed viral pneumonia due to the new coronavirus. And later, the first person who was affected with the disease became ill on December 1, 2019. However, he had no link to the market.
Investigations are still going on to detect the exact cause of the virus and how it spread.
How does the Coronavirus spread?
The virus spread from one person to another. It can spread when people come in close contact with each other or through respiratory droplets released when a person sneezes or coughs around without covering the mouth. The droplets can go into the mouth and nose of other people who are nearby. They can inhale the droplets into their lungs leading to the infection spreading into the whole body.
The spread of the Coronavirus is closely watched by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other international health organizations like John Hopkins. WHO has already declared the coronavirus disease as a public health emergency and advised countries and people to take necessary precautions.
What is the current status of Coronavirus?
After creating havoc in China, the disease has spread to more than 100 countries in the world, affecting the people and the global economy badly. It has spread across Europe, America, and Asia.
Italy has seen the most number of cases after China, which is why there is a lockdown going on in the country now.
The disease has also affected the Middle East with the rising number of cases seen, specifically in Iran.
Most of the early cases of coronavirus reported in India were seen in people who had traveled to countries like Italy, Iran, and Germany.
Could the outbreak become even bigger?
It is difficult to say which path the outbreak will move forward to, but as per the current status, it is likely to spread to more countries and people. The number of affected people is decreasing in China but is growing in the rest of the world, including India.
Is there a Cure/ Vaccine for Covid-19?
Currently, there is no specific treatment to stop or control the spread of the virus. Although, medical experts are trying existing drugs that have been used to treat viruses like Ebola and HIV. The initial results seem to be promising but until the completion of the clinical trials, doctors cannot confidently say that the drugs will be effective to treat coronavirus.
The work is going on to develop a vaccine for the virus, however, it has become complicated due to the virus mutating into another strain.
However, there is no need to panic if you fear being affected by the disease. Many people have already been cured and have escaped any critical condition. Supportive measures are taken by the doctors to relieve the patients from the symptoms of the virus. Only for severe cases, additional options for treatment are tried such as drugs and therapeutics.
For now, there is no vaccine to prevent the disease of coronavirus. The best way to protect yourself from the virus is not getting exposed to it. However, the health ministry of the World Health Organization (WHO) has released some instructions for people to avoid being a victim of the deadly disease, coronavirus.
Take the steps to protect yourself:
Clean your hands frequently
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for around 20 seconds.
- If you do not have immediate access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% of alcohol. Rub it properly on your hands covering all the corners and leave it to dry.
- Washing hands is extremely important after visiting a public place, sneezing or coughing, and after or before taking your meals.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth often. Avoid touching them, especially, without cleaning your hands.
Avoid developing close contact
- Avoid being in close contact with people who are ill.
- Get distanced from people if coronavirus is spreading in your area. This is extremely important for people who have low immunity and fall sick very often.
Take the steps to avoid the spread of the virus:
Stay at home if you aren’t well
- If you aren’t well and suffering from any illnesses like cold, cough, fever, etc, then you must stay at home. This will prevent the infection from spreading to other people.
- However, for an exception, you must go out and see a doctor take the treatment.
Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing
- Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- You can use a tissue to cover your mouth and don’t forget to dispose of the tissue after use. Do not reuse it.
- After coughing or sneezing, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for about 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol in it. It will remove the bacteria from your hands and will help you to maintain the hygiene.
Wear a mask on your face
- Wear a mask when you are in a public place or gathering. It is especially important if you are sick.
- If you have other people who are sick around you, then also you must wear a mask. This way you will protect yourself from the infection.
Protection measures for people who are in or have recently visited countries where Covid-19 is spreading:
- If you feel unwell, just stay at home. Even if you have mild symptoms like headache and a bit of cold. Isolate yourself until you recover completely. By doing this, you will protect yourself by preventing the disease from becoming severe and also others from the possibility of spreading the infection.
- If you suffer from fever, cough, or difficulty in breathing, then immediately go asking for medical advice. These symptoms could be due to a respiratory infection or any other serious condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- Call your health care specialist and inform him/her about your recent travel journeys or contact with other travelers. This way the health care provider will be able to direct you to the right health care facility for your problem. It will prevent the possible spread of coronavirus and other infections.
How much serious is the virus?
Coronavirus has turned to be an epidemic and so it is quite serious. As per the data, the first 44,000 cases reported by the Chinese authorities, 80% of them were mild in nature.
In around 14% of the cases, the virus caused severe issues such as pneumonia and shortness of breath. In around 5% of the patients, the disease is critical and is leading to respiratory failure, organs failure, and septic shock.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the death rate in Wuhan is 2% to 4% while in the rest of China and other parts of the world, it is 0.7%.
It is still not known why the death rate is high in Wuhan, but it could be due to the enormous amount of cases and the lack of a proper supply of health services.
Men are more likely to develop a severe form of coronavirus, and also people with health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
What is the death rate of Coronavirus?
By March 17, 2020, around 7494 death cases have been reported globally due to coronavirus. Out of these, about 3000 of the death cases were reported in China only. Although, 80,630 people have been recovered from the disease.
Chances of deaths are higher in elderly people, while the younger ones have reported lower rates. However, medical staff who treat patients and have high exposure to the virus are also high at risk.
What to do if you have made any travel plans?
If you are a resident of India or any other country and have an upcoming travel plan, make sure you reconsider your decision about going out. The government authorities have advised all the people of India to avoid travel to within and outside India, if possible. People are advised to stay at home as much as possible to avoid the virus.
At least for the next 15-30 days, the advisory will stay the same. Like India, several other countries have put on travel bans on the people preventing outsiders and insiders from traveling.
What is the proximity of getting infected while using Public Transport?
Majority of the coronavirus infections spread between the family members where people live in close contact. A person needs to be one-two meters of another person to get infected by the virus-induced water droplets released from the infectant’s mouth while coughing or speaking. This is not so likely while traveling in public transport because you don’t go extremely close to other people.
However, it is likely that one can pick up the virus on their hands from the surface or area which the infected person has touched. The virus can stay on the surface for about 48 to 72 hours, especially when it is a hard surface. Although, it will retain for less duration on the soft surface.
This is why again and again, it is repeatedly advised to wash your hands frequently and do not touch your face, especially with dirty hands. This will prevent the virus from getting into your mouth, nose, and eyes, and eventually the whole body.
Is there any history of Coronaviruses?
Two diseases named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are a result of Coronaviruses that were found in animals. During the year 2002, SARS disease spread like an epidemic to 37 countries, causing great panic in the international community.
The disease infected more than 8000 people and led to the death of 750. On the other hand, MERS disease seemed to be less problematic, but it easily passed from one person to another like an infection. The disease affected around 2500 people and killed 35% of them.
So, each one of you is highly advised to take precautions and stay safe from Coronavirus. Let’s fight the deadly disease by following all the given instructions.
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