With the increasing threats of coronavirus cases all across the world, the fear of the disease is spreading rapidly at full tilt than the disease itself.
The novel strain of COVID-19 or coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan in December 2019 when there was an outbreak of pneumonia without any definite cause. From there, the disease started spreading like a maniac and reached more than a hundred countries by March 2020. Till now, it has infected more than roughly 125,000 people and took away the lives of more than four thousand.
The WHO (World Health Organization) declared this unendurable and grievous crisis as a public health emergency and eventually declared it to be a pandemic. The governments of all countries around and across the world have not only increased their efforts to prevent the spread of this severe disease, along with the border closures, quarantines but also intensified the medical research. Countless economies underwent a heavy crisis in a short time span as the excessive measures brought multiple businesses to a halt and unsettled numerous major supply chains.
With the uprising pandemonium and a rising toll of people on the deathbed, it is but natural for you to become distressed and agitated. You may be contemplating “What is coronavirus? What are its symptoms? How to prevent it? Should you make some changes in your travel plans? What precautionary measures should be taken to prevent it?”
No need to worry. We have got your back. To know more about the virus that has caused a deadly outbreak and to stay at the top of your health game, all you need to do is go through this comprehensive guide we have curated for you. To put an end to all your queries, we have collated everything that you need to know about this novel virus. Also, do not forget to cast a glance at some of the major symptoms, steps you should take to reduce the risk, certain essential do’s and don’ts, and the likes that are sure to put you miles ahead.
Thus, without any further delay, let’s check some FAQ’s about NOVEL CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19
What is Coronavirus or COVID-19?
Now, before we delve deep into the symptoms and the essential steps to refrain from this pandemic, it is significant first to understand what coronavirus or COVID-19 actually is.
The coronavirus belongs to a huge family of viruses, which can cause a severe range of illnesses in humans, including common cold to more serious diseases, like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The deadly virus is named after its specific shape. It takes the form of a crown with multiple protrusions around it, and thus, known as the coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are usually transmitted between animals and human beings. The new strain is called COVID-19. It is an acute respiratory disease and had not been identified in human beings formerly. Though the incubation period of this deadly virus is unknown presently, in the opinion of the United States Centre for Disease Control, the symptoms of this disease may start appearing in as few as 2 days or as long as two weeks after the exposure.
How Did The Virus Acquire Its Official Name?
It was the international committee of WHO that gave the virus and the disease its official name. The World Health Organization was assigned with the task of finding a name that didn’t stand for a specific place, individual, animal, or a group of people. So it came up with a new name for the virus- the SARS-CoV-2 as it has close genetic relation with another coronavirus, the one that causes the severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS. And the disease caused by this specific virus came to be known as Covid-19.
How Did The Virus Spread?
Eminent researchers all across the world are still striving to comprehend how the coronavirus did spread among human beings. Now, as per the research, it has been found that the coronavirus is common in various species of animals, like cattle, cats, bats, camels, etc.
The source of this virus is believed to be a wet market situated in Wuhan that sold both dead and live animals like birds and fish. Though the animal source of the latest outbreak has not yet been determined, however, the original host is considered to be bats. It was reported that bats were not sold in the Wuhan market, but it may have infected live animals like fish or birds being sold.
However, now it is found to spread from one human to another. The virus mainly spreads between two humans who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), usually through the respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs up. It may also happen that a person can get the disease just by touching an object or a surface that has the virus present on it and then touching his/her own nose, mouth, or perhaps even the eyes. However, this is not considered to be the primary way the virus is spreading among millions across the world.
Why Is COVID-19 Now Considered As A Pandemic?
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the severe outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic. It has infected people of more than 114 countries around the world and wiped out more than 4000 people.
Now, it is important to know that it is the very first time that WHO has declared a pandemic since 2009 H1N1 swine flu. Seeing the alarming levels of severity and spread of this life-threatening disease, WHO has also placed it in a distinct category than multiple deadly outbreaks of recent times, including the Ebola outbreak of 2014 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zika in 2016, Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 2014.
In Italy, over 630 people have died due to COVID-19, and the total number of infected cases continues to increase. The country has now reported 10,000 cases, second only to China. There are more than 7,700 cases in Korea and 9000 in Iran.
According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, “Eight countries along with the US have till now reported more than 120,000 people to get infected with the coronavirus around the world. In days or weeks ahead, we only expect to see a steep increase in the number of cases, or deaths, and affected countries. We are deeply concerned by the alarming levels of severity and inaction, and thus made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”
Is COVID-19 More Deadly Than The Flu?
Well, that remains to be seen. If the initial estimates and the evaluations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are to be believed, then 25 million people were infected, and 25000 were wiped to death due to the 2019-2020 flu. The Covid-19 numbers remain hard to estimate as there are no clear statistics that demonstrate the total number of people becoming infected. According to CDC, the death rate of COVID-19 is at about 2 percent, which is obviously more than the flu, but in reality, the number might be a lot lower as the less-severe cases may not have been reported or have been mistaken for flu or pneumonia.
But, the most significant difference between the flu and COVID-19 is that the health system is armed in an effective way to fight the flu. Since it occurs every year, doctors are well-aware of how to prevent and treat it. However, the COVID-19 remains an unexplored territory, since not even the outstanding doctors around the world know about it.
This stands to be the primary cause as to why governments of all countries around the world are responding quickly by closing borders and quarantining immediately those who might have been exposed.
Is There Any Treatment For This Virus?
Honestly, to date, there exist no treatments for COVID-19. No medicine to treat the virus or prevent it is available in the present times. However, remarkable researchers of both private and public sectors are searching for the medications, with the inclusion of vaccinations to be tested in clinical trials.
But, the truth is the development of vaccination to cure this dreadful virus may take a long time. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes “even if everything goes perfectly, it may take around 18 months or approximately a year for the vaccination to become available.”
What Are The Symptoms Of COVID-19?
We do understand that with this life-threatening disease spreading all around the world from China to more than 114 countries, including the US, Italy, and India, even simple sniffles can be a great cause of concern for you.
Thus in such a situation, it is essential to understand the symptoms of COVID-19. Now, let us tell you the symptoms of this pandemic can be mild to severe. Some usual signs of infection incorporate respiratory symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulties in breathing. In more severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, acute respiratory syndrome, and even death.
Who’s Most At Risk From The Novel Coronavirus?
Yes, as you came to know, the new coronavirus is no equal-opportunity killer. There are some of us who are more at risk than others from this disease.
For both public and medical health reasons, remarkable researchers wanted to figure out who is most at risk of being the most infected and who is most at risk of having lethal illness from the virus. Having such kind of useful information at hand, the government would have a comprehensive idea of the steps to be taken, or the clinicians would know whom to treat first.
Here’s what the research of three months since the deathly outbreak has shown:
- According to the data and evaluation of WHO, people who are above the age of 60 are at more risk of suffering from a severe case of COVID-19, compared to others. The highest death rate has been noted in people above the age of 80.
- Secondly, people who are suffering from underlying chronic health conditions like cancer, blood pressure, kidney disease, lung disease, or diabetes are more likely to suffer or die from COVID-19. To date, around 9 percent, people with diabetes who got infected died as did 8 percent of people with high blood pressure.
What Is The Risk Assessment of Coronavirus?
Do you know how the risk factor of a virus is assessed? It all depends on the characteristics of the virus, including how smoothly and swiftly it is spreading between people, the severity of the disease resulting from it, and the availability of any measures or treatment to control the virus.
The risk from COVID-19 can be divided into exposure risks versus serious illness and death risks. The risks of exposure are as follows-
- The instant risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is incredibly low for most people all across the world, but according to WHO, as the outbreak will spread far and wide, so will the risk. Severe cases of COVID-19 and multiple instances of community spread are reported in various states. More than 137,000 people in 117 countries and regions have been confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19.
In the US alone, cases of coronavirus have crossed 2,147 in 49 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
In China, since the outbreak in Wuhan, 80,836 confirmed cases of people infected with coronavirus were found. Among them, 65,577 recovered, and 3,189 died. In Italy, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 17,660, among which the death rate jumped from 25% to 1,266. Till Saturday 14 March 2020, the death toll in the worst-affected Italian region Lombardy alone climbed to 890 from 744.
In South Korea, there were 8,086 confirmed cases, among which 510 recovered, and 72 deaths have been reported so far. In India, COVID-19 tested positive patients has shot up to 73 by Saturday and 95 people by Sunday morning. Among them, 2 people in Kerala and New Delhi reportedly passed away.
- Secondly, in places where ongoing community spread of the virus COVID-19 has been reported, people of those places are at increased risk of exposure.
- Similarly, healthcare workers looking after COVID-19 patients are more at risk of exposure, along with those who come in close contact with the infected people.
- Travelers returning from affected locations around the world where community spread is at maximum are also at an accelerated risk of exposure.
Essential DO’S And DON’TS To Keep COVID-19 At Bay
Since the confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death tolls are climbing rapidly with each passing day, and there remains no vaccinations or definite treatment available, it is crucial to know the essential steps to protect yourself from this worldly pandemic.
We have consulted with some top healthcare and curated some essential do’s and don’ts to keep this deadly disease at bay effectively. Have a look at the significant points enlisted below-
- Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissue or handkerchief while sneezing or coughing.
- Throw used tissues into closed dustbins after use immediately.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 minutes, especially after you have been in any public place.
- Refrain from touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- If soap and water are not readily available, make it a point to use a hand sanitizer that consists of at least 60% alcohol. Try to cover all surfaces of your hands and ensure to rub them together until they feel dry.
- Refrain from having close contact with infected people.
- Maintain a distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in the community. This is especially mandatory for them to follow who are at higher risk of being infected.
- Stay away from crowded places or big gatherings.
- Take adequate sleep and rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids and try to maintain a healthy, nutritious diet.
- People suffering from influenza-like illnesses should be immediately confined to home.
- See a doctor if you are feeling unwell (feeling symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, etc.) While visiting the doctor, wear a mask to cover all your nose and mouth.
- Wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-2019 infection or even if coughing or sneezing. Apart from that, if you are wearing a mask, know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
- While greeting, avoid hugging, kissing or shaking hands
- Spit in public places.
- Touch eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands.
- Take medicines without the consultation of a doctor.
- Dispose of used tissues or napkins in open areas.
- Touch surfaces used by the public like doors, gates, railings, etc.
- Do not go to work if you are feeling sick.
- Do not allow dirt to accumulate on different surfaces at your house. Use detergent or soap and water to clean them up carefully.
What To Do If One Thinks They Are Infected With Coronavirus?
If you think that someone you know has COVID-19, ask them to not go to the community pharmacy, but to stay home and contact any hospital. And, if you feel like you have a cold or flu symptoms, but did not travel to an infected area, there is nothing to be worried about. Instead, it is always better to consult with the doctors in the first place.
Should I Change My Travel Plans?
Well, yes, if you have plans for travelling to most infected areas like China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. If you are heading to Japan, you should exercise more caution. If you absolutely have to travel to a severely infected area, try to wash hands frequently, refrain from having any contacts with sick people and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth at any cost.
What About Using Face Masks?
In the opinion of top doctors, you can use a recommended snug-fitting N95 respirator. It prevents coming in contact with big water droplets, small particles and deathly germs that are transmitted through sneezing or coughing.
We do hope that we were able to answer all your queries regarding the worldly pandemic- COVID-19. Bookmark this article to your laptop and give it a thorough read whenever you feel like certain queries cropping up in your mind. Go through this extensive guide carefully, follow the dos and don’ts, take care of yourself and your closed ones. Stay alert, but do not panic.
Here’s wishing safety and good health!
Source of information: W.H.O
You can also visit https://www.mohfw.gov.in/ for more information.
Check All the Helpline Numbers about CORONAVIRUS in INDIA
Helpline Numbers of States & Union Territories (UTs)
|S. No||Name of the State||Helpline Nos.|
|28||West Bengal||1800313444222, 03323412600,|
|S. No||Name of Union Territory (UT)||Helpline Nos.|
|1||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||03192-232102|
|3||Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu||104|
|5||Jammu & Kashmir||01912520982, 0194-2440283|
For global information, please follow official WHO Website:
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