Humanity has been challenged by deadly outbreak of viruses and diseases every now and then. It is not too long ago the world was threatened by Ebola. Just when we thought we have somehow taken control of Ebola Virus disease, a new virus outbreak has yet again menaced us. We are talking about the Coronavirus outbreak which started from Wuhan, China. The world is now in the state of emergency and still very few people know much about Coronavirus, what are its symptoms and what preventive measures can be taken against it. This post is supposed to cover these topics.
What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak in China.The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is actually new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Covid-19 and Previous Coronaviruses Outbreak!
Most of the people are sure to be surprised reading this. It is to be noted that COVID-19 is a disease caused by coronaviruses. It is not actually the first time that humans have been infected by coronavirus. Coronaviruses (CoV) have been identified as human pathogens since the 1960’s. Coronaviruses infect humans and many other vertebrates. Illness in humans is mostly respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, however symptoms can range from the common cold to more severe lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
A broad range of coronaviruses are found in bats, which might play a crucial role in the virus evolution of alpha- and beta coronavirus lineages in particular. However, other animal species can also act as an intermediate host and animal reservoir. Zoonotic coronaviruses, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people, have emerged in recent years to cause human outbreaks, such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) since 2012. A wide range of animals are known to be the source of coronaviruses. For instance, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) originated from camels and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) originated from civet cats.
Till March 30, 2020 there have been total 722,088 cases (source https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ ) with 33,976 deaths and 151.766 recovered or discharged. Currently, there are 536.346 active cases. China was undubitably the most affected country as there have been more than 80,000 cases and more than 3,200 deaths until few days ago.[China is also one of the cheapest asian countries to visit.] But now USA is the most affected country with the highest number of cases of 142,070, and 2,484 deaths and 4,559 recovered. However, Italy has the highest number of deaths of 10,779 even with relatively less number of cases than USA. There are still 73,880 active cases in Italy and only 13,030 people have recovered. This shows that the disease can have even more harsh consequences than expected and we cannot ignore it.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 199 countries and territories around the world and also 2 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan) and and the Holland America’s MS Zaandam cruise ship. Thus, COVID-19 has become a global threat and humanity is in chaos as there is no vaccine or treatment for the disease.
Now let’s discuss about the symptoms of COVID-19. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include:
- Difficulty in Breathing due to shortness of breath
- Sore throat
This virus proves to be fatal to people with weaker immune system. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. People that are older or have existing medical conditions, like heart condition , could be at higher risk of great illness. this is often almost like what’s seen with other respiratory illnesses, like influenza.
How to be safe from Coronavirus?
Though the Coronavirus disease doesn’t have any treatment or vaccination yet, there are some protective measures that can be taken to be safe from it. They are as follows;
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. This is because it kills the viruses that may be in your hand.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with your hand. Otherwise virus will get inside your body if your hand is infected with virus. You can touch them once you wash your hand properly as suggested above.
- Maintain a safe distance from the people who are sneezing or coughing because the virus transfers through droplets.
- Focus on your respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Don’t forget to dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- The virus is likely to be killed through exposure to sun for about 2 hours. Thus it is suggested to stay at warm place and drink a lot of warm water. Avoid ice cream and cold foods.
- Most of the affected countries are in lockdown now. Lockdown is an effective way of controlling spread of virus. That’s why, we should support the lockdown as a responsible citizen. If we can save the world just staying at home then why don’t we do it?
People who have recently travelled to affected areas might be perplexed about what to do! You can take following measures;
- First try to see if you show any sign and symptoms of the Coronavirus disease as mentioned earlier. Best way to find out is checking your breathing.
- If you have fever and headache, you must stay at home and avoid contact with people. It is best to contact health office as they are always the one who know more than you and they must be getting latest updates regarding the disease.
- Don’t panic! There have been many recovered cases. Stay calm and try to acquire a healthy and hygienic lifestyle.
Coronavirus has indeed become a global problem and it requires everyone’s effort to fight against this disease. Right now the best thing we can do is convey the right information to people all around the world. We must be regularly updated about it and also keep others updated. It is in fact everyone’s duty to be safe and keep others safe.