CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): All you need to know about symptoms, risks and preventions 

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause illness such as common cold and in more severe cases it also causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus (COVID-19) outburst the public health emergency and it is a very alarming situation for the whole world. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was revealed in 2019 and it has not been previously identified in humans. The countries hit by a sudden and unexpected public health emergency and also their economies slow down as they spend more to counter the spread of the virus.   

Globally, on the 30th January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations declared the pandemic a public health emergency of international concern. This defines the outbreak an “extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and potentially require a coordinated international response”. 

Transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19)  

Coronavirus is zoonotic which means that it was transmitted between animals and people.  Further research has found that SARS-CoV was transferred from civet cats to humans. Coronavirus is now transmitting between human to human due to close interaction with infected persons, through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs and it also transfers by touching a surface or object that has the virus. 

Symptoms 

  • Runny nose 
  • Fever 
  • Sore throat 
  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath  
  • Difficulties in breathing  

In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death. Current estimates of the incubation period – the time between infection and the onset of symptoms, ranging from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days. 

How deadly COVID-19 is? 

With more than 24,000 recorded deaths, the number of fatalities from the new coronavirus has overwhelmingly surpassed the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which also originated in China. 

SARS killed about 9 percent of those it infected – nearly 800 people worldwide and more than 300 in China alone. MERS, which did not spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of those infected. 

While the new coronavirus is more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers, the mortality rate remains considerably lower at approximately 3.4 percent, according to the WHO. 

Precautionary measures: 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap or water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. 
  • Practice respiratory hygiene, this means that while coughing and sneezing cover mouth or nose with flexed elbow or tissue. 
  • Maintain social distancing, it is the key to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Avoid close interaction such as shaking hands and touching. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, face and nose. 
  • Monitor your health. 
  • Contact your healthcare provider if symptoms develop. 

Scientists around the globe are racing to develop a vaccine but have warned it is not likely one will be available for mass distribution before 2021.