The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic broke out in China last year and has spread globally with 2,006,513 confirmed cases and 128,886 deaths on a global scale and still counting. This has caused global panic with many countries on lockdown. It’s closely related to the SARS virus that was responsible for the death of almost 800 people in 2002
What is Coronavirus (COVID 19)
The term Coronavirus is a set of viruses that cause respiratory type symptoms. The virus which caused the pandemic is COVID-19 which means Coronavirus Disease 2019.
The word “Corona” is Latin for “Crown”, because of the similar projection coming off from it like a crown. This virus is a new type of coronavirus that they haven’t seen in humans up until now. The name given to this virus is SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) and the name of the disease is COVID-19. According to the CDC the virus that’s causing the COVID 19 is genetically similar to the virus that caused SARS, however, they are two different viruses.
Where do these viruses come from?
They can come from infected animals which then infects a human, which that human spreads to other humans and it goes back and forward. This leads to an outbreak which is called the Zoonotic Spillover Event.
We have seen similar causes like MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) or SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) but we’ll be discussing COVID 19.
The Risk for developing Coronavirus (COVID-19)
· Provided care or have been in close contact with an infected person (friends, family, healthcare worker)
· Traveled to an area with a high outbreak or have been in close contact with someone who had recently traveled or living in an area with a widespread outbreak.
· Working closely with animals that could have the virus or consuming uncooked meat.
This could increase your risk as well.
How deadly is COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organizations press release on February 17, 2020:
“COVID-19 is not as deadly as other coronaviruses including SARS & MERS.
80% of the patients have mild disease and will recover. About 14% of these cases, the virus causes severe disease, including pneumonia and shortness of breath. About 5% of patients have critical diseases including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure. 2% of reported cases, the virus is fatal, and the risk of death increases the older you are.
We see relatively few cases among children. More research is needed to understand why.”
Another recent study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
“That the virus that is causing the COVID-19 is more contagious than the SARS and MERS virus.”
According to research the outbreak began in China but has since spread around the world. As of March 9th, 2020, or roughly 3 months into the outbreak there have been 109,578 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,809 deaths, resulting in a fatality rate of 3.5%, but that represents an average across different countries and timeframes. Based on a large study in China, digging deeper reveals that the fatality rate in China was 16% for cases between January 1st and January 10th, but then, it fell steadily over time until it was only 0.8% for patients with symptom onset after February 1st. There are two main reasons for this: first, the hospitals and clinics were initially overwhelmed and couldn’t manage the disease, so both patients and healthcare providers were getting severely ill and dying, but within a few weeks with better equipment, testing, and processes in place, the healthcare system responded and brought down the fatality rate dramatically. Now as a point of comparison, the flu typically causes a fatality rate of 0.1%, so even based on this data, COVID-19 is still 8 to 35 times more deadly than the flu.
It’s also worth pointing out that for COVID-19, the mortality rates differ by group, so for example, if you split things out by age, you can see from this table that fatality rate is relatively low if you’re below 60, with no deaths seen in children at 9 and younger, but then it starts to climb up for the elderly, so they’re the ones at highest risk. Similarly, the fatality rate is higher for folks with hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, relative to folks without any of these conditions and of course, a lot of the elderly typically have one or more of these conditions, so it’s not surprising that they go hand in hand.
How Coronavirus COVID-19 Spread?
COVID-19 can be transmitted by Respiratory Droplets that are released when an infected person sneezes or coughs. When the infected person sneezes or coughs these droplets carrying the virus can be inhaled by anyone close by which will infect their respiratory tract as well.
Another way is that when an infected person sneezes or cough these droplets can fall on any surface and contaminate it, it’s not known for sure how long will the virus survive on different surfaces which later another person comes in contact with and then touches their eyes or nose or mouth they’ll also get infected.
There are 3 types of Transmissions.
When a person with COVID-19 travels to a non-affected area, this is called an “Imported Case”. If they start spreading the disease to household contacts and those around them, it’s called “Local Transmission”, since it’s usually isolated to a small area and can be easily traced back to the original person. However, when people begin to contract the disease without a clear source, it’s called “Community Transmission”. To prevent or contain community transmission,
The Incubation Period
The incubation period is when a person first started showing signs and symptoms. According to the research, it’s between 2-14 days. This is why when someone is suspected of having the coronavirus COVID 19 they are put in quarantine for 2 weeks so they can be monitored for signs and symptoms.
Another important thing to know is some people are Asymptomatic this means they don’t show any signs or symptoms but could still be contagious.
According to research once a person is infected, symptoms develop about five days later, this is called the incubation period. Now there’s debate about how much asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people, which is to say folks that are in the incubation period are spreading the disease, and it may be much more than what we originally thought.
Viruses are given a reproductive number or R-naught, based on how quickly they spread and person-to-person transmission has been confirmed both in and outside of China an R-naught of 1 means that an infected person passes it on to one new person, an R-naught of 2 means that one person spreads it to two new people, and so forth. If the R-naught is below 1, the infection peters out, if it’s at one, it stays steady; and if it’s above one, then it continues to spread, the current estimate for COVID-19 is an R-naught of 2.2. So the R-naught of the flu virus is about 1.3, so COVID-19 spreads quite a bit more easily. To confirm the diagnosis, a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or RT PCR test can be done which can detect very small amounts of viral RNA. It’s worth mentioning, however, that early in the disease, the RT-PCR can often miss the infection altogether, meaning that it’s not very sensitive, so if the severe pulmonary disease is suspected, a chest CT should also be done to help detect the presence of viral pneumonia. It’s also important to look for other causes of similar symptoms by doing things for example like a quick flu test, or a respiratory viral panel to look for alternative causes of the symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of (COVID-19)
The coronavirus disease has mild Signs and symptoms which include a sore throat, runny nose, cough and a fever that might last a few days. The young and elderly could experience serious illnesses like “pneumonia” or “bronchitis” or breathing difficulties.
In some cases the disease can be fatal. The elderly and people with other medical conditions (such as heart disease or asthma or diabetes are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
Cornavirus Prevention Tips – How Protect Yourself ?
There is currently no vaccine for this disease. You may reduce the risk of getting infected by doing the following to prevent the spread of cornavirus .
1) Frequently wash your hands with soap & water or clean them with alcohol based hand rub soaps for at least 20 seconds.
2) Avoid getting close to people who are sick and avoid unnecessary physical contact with people such as handshakes coughing into the bend of your elbow etc.
3) Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose unnecessarily.
4) Keep use of hand sanitizers and wear a mask at all times.
These small things will surely reduce your chances of getting infected.
Treatment of Coronavirus Infection (COVID 19)
As per now we don’t have any specific medicine or treatment to prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. The race is on to find a cure for this disease.
Doctors can relieve the pain / symptoms by prescribing pain or fever medications. But the best way is if you feel like having mild symptoms you can recover by staying home getting rest & sleep and drinking plenty of liquids. However, You can also use a room humidifier or just take a hot shower to help ease your sore throat.