A new pandemic has hit the whole world which is known as Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The WHO i.e. World Health Organization has now declared Coronavirus a pandemic. The attack of Coronavirus has been increasing day by day. And the number of people affected by it is also increasing at a very faster rate. But before going any further we first must understand what actually is Coronavirus?.
In this article, we will explain to you about this new epidemic and also give answers to the following questions –
1. What is Coronavirus Disease?
2. Where does it come from?
3. Has it affected the whole world?
4. How does it spread?
5. What are its signs and symptoms?
6. What is the Diagnosis?
7. Are you at risk of catching it?
8. What are the precautions?
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of hundreds of viruses. This virus causes illness ranging from the mere common cold to more severe diseases. It is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Out of the vast majority of these viruses that affect only animals, so far seven coronaviruses including this new virus known as ‘Covid-19‘ are known to have affected humans.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) – are two of the best-known examples of coronaviruses that have been passed on to humans. Covid-19 is the latest to have infected humans.
Where does it come from?
The attack of Coronaviru was first detected in Hubei, China, in early 1 December 2019. Then later this global outbreak was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. Later Chinese government documents suggested that the first victim was a 55-year-old man who fell ill on 17 November 2019 but it was unconfirmed. And the number of coronavirus cases in Hubei gradually increased to a couple hundred within the next month.
On 31 December 2019, this virus had caused enough cases of unknown pneumonia reported by health authorities in Wuhan, China. The virus spread to other Chinese provinces in early and mid-January 2020. On 20 January, China reported nearly 140 new Coronavirus infected cases in a day, including two people in Beijing and one in Shenzhen. When the official data came up it shows that 6,174 people had already developed symptoms by 20 January 2020.
China announced a quarantine on 23 January to stop travel in and out of Wuhan. The use of private vehicles was banned in the city. It was decided to extend the Spring Festival holiday in order to contain this outbreak. Universities and schools around the country were also closed to contain this outbreak.
Has it affected the whole world?
As of 29 February, apart from China, this epidemic had spread to several other countries around the world. The most affected ones are South Korea, Italy, and Iran. This virus has affected other countries as well such as the USA, India, Japan, etc. The coronavirus COVID-19 has currently affected 154 countries and territories around the world.
On 31 January, the outbreak was confirmed to have spread to Italy when two Chinese tourists tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Rome.
On 20 January, South Korea confirmed its first case of Coronavirus. The number of cases gradually increased in February.
On 19 February, Iran confirmed its first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Qom. According to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, two deaths were confirmed later that day.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
On 29 February, the first death in the United States was reported after an outbreak at a Life Care Centers of America elderly care in Kirkland, Washington. The Trump administration had already limited the entry into the United States, as immigrants or non-immigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China on 31 January.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Japan on 23 January 2020 from China. The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, requested that all Japanese elementary, junior high, and high schools to be closed until early April to help contain the virus on 27 February 2020.
The attack of coronavirus COVID-19 has currently spread to multiple other countries, in total, more than 154 countries and territories around the world.
Below is the list of countries that have been affected by this pandemic including the deaths that have been encountered and a number of lives saved and lost. This data is as of 15th March 2020.
For Live Data refer to Worldometers.
How does it spread?
The primary mode by which this virus spreads between humans is via respiratory droplets that people exhale. For example when sneezing or coughing. Whenever someone coughs or sneezes, small water droplets scatter into the air.
These small water droplets stay suspended in the air for a short time. But may stay viable and contagious on metal, glass or plastic surface for a very long time. And if you get into contact with it you might get this virus into your body.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the risk of spread from someone without symptoms is “very low.” However, if someone around you has beginning symptoms and a mild cough then there is a risk of transmission.
What are its signs and symptoms?
This is the main and very important question. Symptoms of COVID-19 are non-specific. Those who are infected may either be asymptomatic or develop flu-like symptoms such as –
- Shortness of breath
- Or Muscle pain.
The typical signs and symptoms and their prevalence, are shown in the below table –
|Shortness of breath||18.6%|
|Muscle pain or joint pain||14.8%|
|Nausea or vomiting||5.0%|
It has been found or you can say estimated that Covid-19 has an incubation period of 2-14 days. It means that it can take up to two weeks for an infected person to show symptoms. If you’re starting to feel any of the above symptoms, the best thing to do is to go and see the doctor.
What is the Diagnosis?
Infection by any virus can be provisionally diagnosed only on the basis of its symptoms. Though the confirmation is ultimately done by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR) of infected secretions (71% sensitivity) and CT imaging (98 % sensitivity).
There are two ways of Diagnosing Coronavirus –
1. Viral testing
Several RNA testing protocols have been published by WHO for SARS-CoV-2, with the first issued on 17 January. This type of testing uses real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR). The procedure includes a test to be done on either respiratory or blood samples. And the results are generally available within a few hours to days maximum.
The imaging features on radiographs and computed tomography have been described in limited cases. But due to overlap with other infections, imaging without confirmation by PCR is of limited use in identifying COVID-19.
Are you at risk of catching it?
The answer to this question is “Yes”. Those who have weak immune systems are at greatest risk of Covid-19. Also, those who are over 65 or under five are at great risk of catching it. People with certain underlying conditions such as heart disease, kidney problems, diabetes, cancer or HIV are all likely to be at increased risk. We are not trying to scare you or anything but if you have of these issues then you are likely to get this disease in the current scenario.
What are the precautions?
In the current scenario, no vaccine is available for Covid-19. The most effective way to protect from Covid-19 if you’re experiencing symptoms is to self-isolate to avoid potential spread. You should also seek remote medical advice.
Kindly follow the mentioned steps if you want to such kind of situation –
It is the basic step that all of us should follow. Handwashing is a must if you want to prevent the spread of the disease. The CDC i.e. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol by volume are also recommended. The WHO advises people to avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
2. Avoid Social gathering
By avoiding Social gatherings slows down the spread of disease by minimizing close contact between individuals. You can avoid it by staying at home, limiting travel, avoid crowded areas, not shaking hands, and physically distancing themselves from others.
3. Respiratory hygiene
It is highly recommended to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Use surgical masks to cover your mouth. Try to keep yourself clean at all times if possible. We know saying is easy but doing is difficult but we have to try it since there is no vaccine available for Coronavirus.
4. Self Quarantine
It is recommended that if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 then it is better to isolate yourself from others. Keep yourself at home. Try to avoid contact with others so that you might not spread it to them.
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