Coronavirus 2019 or COVID 19 is a disease caused due to new strain of coronaviruses which is infectious. Coronaviruses are a large group of animal viruses. These viruses are zoonotic which means that these are transmitted from animals to humans and after that spread between humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating among different animals that have not yet infected humans. As surveillance will be improved new coronaviruses are likely to be identified.
Coronaviruses consist of a core genetic material which is packed in envelope and protein spikes. These spikes give them the appearance of a crown. In latin corona means crown and hence these are called coronaviruses. There are different types of coronaviruses cause respiratory and sometimes gastrointestinal problems. Respiratory problems include common cold, pneumonia and in many individuals symptoms can be mild. However some causes severe disease like severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. The novel coronavirus is a new strain which has not been previously identified in humans before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
Individuals suffering from pneumonia in Wuhan, were found to be associated with seafood and with live animal market. This indicates the spread of virus from animal-to-person. From infected individuals the disease spread to family members and healthcare workers. This indicates the spread of virus from person-to-person. Chinese officials have reported that sustained person-to-person spread is occurring in China. Person-to-person spread has also been reported in the United States and other countries. At present there are many cases of the disease and it is spread within China and to other countries.
Origin Of Coronavirus
It is known that, coronaviruses infects the range of animals. Some of these viruses can spread from animal to human this is known as spillover. This can be caused due to a number of factors like mutations in viruses and increased contact between humans and animals. For example it is reported that SARS CoV has originated from civet cats while MERS CoV has originated from camel. The source of the animal of 2019 novel coronavirus is not known till yet.
Spread Of Coronavirus And Incubation Period
People can become infected by COVID-19 from others who are infected. This disease spread from person to person via small droplets through nose or mouth. These droplets land on surfaces present around an infected person. If another person touches these contaminated surfaces after that if it touches their eyes, nose or mouth it can catch the virus. If a person inhales the droplets of a person suffering from COVID-19 who coughs out or sneezes. Research is going on for how this COVID-19 spreads.
At early stages of disease many persons experience only mild symptoms. Therefore it is possible to catch COVID-19 from a person who has mild cough and which does not feel ill. But the risk of acquiring COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms is very low.
Initial research suggests that in some cases the virus may be present in feces of an infected person. However, spread of infection through this route is not the reason of the outbreak. The risk of acquiring COVID-19 from the feces appears to be low. Still there is a risk therefore it is important to clean our hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
Incubation Period: The time between the catching of a virus and appearing symptoms of disease is called incubation period. Estimates of incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days. Most commonly around 5 days. Research is still going on.
What Are The Symptoms Of Coronavirus
Symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Symptoms known so far are dry cough, fever, tiredness, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath. Some patients may have aches, nasal congestion or diarrhea. However severe cases can cause pneumonia & kidney failure. In rare cases it may lead to death. Some people become infected but in these, the symptoms are not developed and these people don’t feel unwell. 80% people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. 1 out of 6 infected persons become seriously ill from COVID-19 and develops difficulty in breathing.
Aged individuals and individuals suffering from other diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases are more sensitive to become severely ill by the COVID-19 more often than others. The mortality rate of 2019-nCoV is not known till yet.
Difference Between Coronavirus And Common Cold Or Flu
These illnesses are caused by different viruses. However, symptoms of all these diseases are the same which include runny nose, cough and fever. Because of these similarities it becomes difficult to identify the disease based on symptoms only. Hence to confirm that any individual is infected with COVID-19 laboratory tests are essential. WHO recommends that individuals suffering from cough, fever and difficulty in breathing should seek medical care early. Patients should inform health care providers that –
- If they have been in close contact with someone suffering from respiratory symptoms. OR
- They have developed symptoms after 14 day of travelling.
Diagonosis And Treatment of Coronavirus
Diagnosis: The infection is diagnosed by a test of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRTPCR). From the nasopharyngeal or sputum sample. Infection can be also diagnosed from a combination of specific symptoms and a CT scan of chest which shows features of pneumonia. By a blood serum sample antibody assays can also be used but reports require few days.
Treatment: Currently there is no specific antiviral medication and vaccine to protect against COVID-19. Medication and vaccines are under development. Affected individuals should receive care to relieve symptoms. Person with serious illness must be hospitalized. The treatment includes supportive care of patients. Most patients recover from supportive care.
Smoking, taking antibiotics and wearing multiple masks are not effective against COVID-19 and can be harmful. Some traditional, western or home remedies may provide comfort. But there is a chance that it can also alleviate symptoms. WHO not recommends self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics for prevention or cure of COVID-19. Clinical trials are ongoing which include western and traditional medicines.In any case if someone has fever, cough and difficulty in breathing it must seek medical care early. This will reduce the risk of developing more serious infection. And also discuss your recent travel history with a health care provider.
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How Can We Prevent The Transmission Of The Coronavirus ?
Most of the people who become infected with COVID-2019 experience mild infection and recover from disease, however it can be more severe for other immunodeficient individuals. Take care of your own health and also protect others by following precautions:
- Soap and alcohol based hand rub kills viruses that may be present on your hands. Hence wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub.
- When someone sneezes or coughs they spray small liquid droplets that may contain virus. If the person coughing is suffering from COVID-19 and you are too close, you can inhale the droplets consisting of COVID-19 virus. To avoid this maintain at least 3 feet that is 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone which is sneezing or coughing.
- Droplets of cough and sneeze spreads virus. By following good respiratory hygiene one can protect the individuals around him/her from viruses such as flu, common cold and COVID-2019. While sneezing or coughing cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow either use tissue paper and dispose of it immediately. Make sure that you and the individuals around you maintain good respiratory hygiene.
- If you are suffering from cough, fever and breathing difficulty seek medical care early. Stay at home and follow the directions of the local health authority. Since national and local care authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. If you call in advance to your local care authority it will allow health care providers to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will protect you and help prevent the spread of infection.
- National and local care authorities will have the up to date information of whether COVID-2019 is spreading in your area or not. Hence follow advice given by healthcare provider, national and local public health authority so as to protect yourself and others from COVID-2019. Stay informed of the latest developments about COVID-2019 and also stay aware about the information on the COVID-19 outbreak through your local and national public health authority.
- Our hands touch various surfaces and these can be contaminated with viruses. Hence hands can pick up viruses and become contaminated. This can transfer the virus to eyes, nose and mouth and the virus can enter in the body and infect it. That’s why avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Practice food safety:
- Wash your hands between handling raw meat and cooked food
- Use different chopping boards for raw meat and cooked food
- Animals that have died of diseases should not be consumed.
- If meat is cooked thoroughly and properly handled during food preparation then it can be consumed safely in areas affected with disease outbreaks.
- After touching animals and animal products wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid contact with spoiled meat and sick animals.
- In the market avoid contact with stray animals, wastes and fluids.
- Wear special gowns, gloves and masks while handling animals and its products in markets.
- Avoid spitting in public.
- If you are suffering from symptoms like coughing, sneezing or taking care of individual suffering from COVID-19 then only you should wear a mask. If you are not ill and not taking care of individuals suffering from COVID-19 it is wasting resources. Since there is a shortage of masks, so one should use masks wisely. Disposable masks should be used only once.
How Likely It Is That One Can Catch COVID-19 ?
In most areas the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. But there are some places where the COVID-19 is spreading. If the person visits these areas or lives in these areas there is a higher risk of catching COVID-19. Therefore the risk depends on where the persons travel whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak unfolding there. Government and health authorities are taking vigorous actions for controlling spread of the disease. Cooperating with these efforts will reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
COVID-19 outbreaks have been shown to be stopped in China and some other countries. But new outbreaks can emerge rapidly. That’s why it is important to be aware of the situation of the area where one is wishing to travel.
Should One Worry About COVID-19 ?
Illness caused by COVID-19 infection in children and young adults is generally mild. 1 in every 5 infected persons need hospital care. Hence it is quite normal for people to worry about the outbreak of COVID-19. But we can change our concerns into protective actions to protect yourself and community. Among these actions is regular and thorough hand washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly be informed and follow the advice of local health authorities.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared COVID-19 as pandemic. Hence, it is important to take preventive measures. Our government is taking protective measures. Till yet there are 110 confirmed cases around India (including foreign Nationals) and it is supposed to change in near future.
Click here to see state wise list of COVID confirmed cases till yet.
Helpline For Coronavirus Disease
|The Helpline Number for corona-virus: +91-11-23978046
The Helpline Email ID for corona-virus: ncov2019[at]gmail[dot]com
This information is in public interest. Author has no responsibility for any content written, and will not be liable for any type of losses. Readers have their own rights to follow or not to follow the above measures. All the information is taken from WHO website and users are requested stay connected with WHO website for future updates.
Author – Mayuri Chandwani is Content Writer at LearnFatafat
Posted By – LearnFatafat