A new Chinese coronavirus, a long distant cousin of the SARS virus, has infected 1.4mn people since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in the last week of December 2019. At present, the entire world is going through a tragic situation and it affects European countries & the region of the Americas the most. Two-thirds of the world’s population living in developing countries facing unprecedented economic damage from the COVID-19 crisis. Scientist Leo Poon, who first decoded the virus, thinks it likely started in an animal and spread to humans.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that usually cause mild illnesses, such as the common cold. However, certain types of coronavirus can infect the lower airway, causing serious illness like pneumonia. Most people get infected with coronaviruses at some point in their lives and the majority of these infections are harmless but this new coronavirus is a notable exception. Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are two other coronaviruses that cause severe symptoms. SARS-Cov first appeared in Guangdong, China, in 2002.
It causes respiratory problems but can also cause diarrhea, fatigue, shortness of breath, respiratory distress and kidney failure. Depending on the patient’s age, the death rate with SARS-CoV ranged from 0-50% of the cases, with older people being the most vulnerable. This virus spread to over 8,000 people worldwide and killed almost 800. MERS-CoV epidemic emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012, also causes respiratory problems, has been only limited to the Middle East. Three to four out of every 10 patients infected with MERS-CoV died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) announced “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of this new virus on 11 February 2020. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS. World Health Organisation (WHO) publicized “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on the same day.
Read more – Thoughts of a man in Quarantine.
How does it Spread?
Coronavirus is Zoonotic, which means that it can be transmitted to people from animals. According to the WHO, MERS-CoV started in camels and in the case of SARS-CoV, scientists suspected civet cats and bats were to blame. They acted as a go-between that spread it to humans.To confirm the current Wuhan outbreak intermediary, officials traced many cases in the seafood and animal markets and it was thought to have come from bats. Also, pets can catch coronaviruses and the infections can become severe. Sometimes the viruses can lead to deadly diseases. When it comes to human-to-human transmission of the viruses, often it happens when someone comes into contact with an infected person’s secretions, such as droplets in a cough. The virus can also be transmitted by touching something an infected person has touched and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
According to WHO, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19 at this time. However, many ongoing clinical trials are evaluating potential treatments. But to prevent infection and to slow transmission of current COVID-19, do the following:
-Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub
.-Maintain at least 1-meter distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
-Avoid touching your face.
-Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.-Stay home if you feel unwell.
-Refrain from smoking and other activities that may weaken the lungs.
-Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.
Be Aware, Be Safe!