What Is Coronavirus?

You probably have heard about the coronavirus disease or COVID-19, which is discovered in the year 2019, which is responsible for the global pandemic. It originated from the Wuhan city in China, and by now has affected people belonging to 114 countries. The virus was initially called the “2019-nCoV” or the 2019 novel coronavirus, and was informally referred to as “The Wuhan Coronavirus”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) titled the disease as “COVID-19” as it doesn’t refer to any specific geographical region, animal or person, or a group of people. They also wanted the name of the virus to be pronounceable and related to the disease. The virus was officially called SARS -CoV-2 (or Severe Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) because it was genetically quite identical to the SARS coronavirus(which caused severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2002). Hence, SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for COVID-19. 

Coronavirus is a type of virus that is typically found in animals, and rarely can be spread from animals to humans and then spread between humans. 

What Are The Symptoms Of COVID-19?

Some of the most prevalent symptoms of COVID-19 include dry cough, fever, and tiredness. Some people may also have a runny nose, nasal congestion, aches and pains, sore throat, and diarrhoea. Some people don’t experience any symptoms even after getting infected with the coronavirus, but they can still act as a carrier and spread the infection to the people around them. 

About 80% of the people infected with the virus recover from the disease without undergoing any special treatment. Studies suggest that every one out of six affected people fall seriously ill and experience difficulty breathing. 

Older people and those with some kind of chronic illnesses such as high blood pressures, diabetes, and heart disease are more susceptible to develop serious complications. It is so because these classes of people have weakened their immune system over time and therefore are prone to catch infections. 

If you have a cough, fever, and breathing trouble, you should seek immediate medical assistance. 

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

People can develop the infection by being in contact with those who have the virus. The disease can transmit from one person to another through tiny droplets from the nose or the mouth, which are spread when a person who is COVID-19 positive coughs or exhales. These droplets then land on the surfaces and objects around the person. Other people get COVID-19 when they touch those surfaces or objects and then move their hands over their nose, eyes, or mouth. People may also catch COVID-19 if they inhale droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. For this reason, it is important to be more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

How Long Do Coronaviruses Live On Surfaces?

It is not apparent how long the new coronavirus lasts on surfaces, but the WHO says it appears to behave like other coronaviruses. The agency says coronaviruses, including the one that causes COVID-19, can live on surfaces for a couple of hours or up to several days.

Can Cats Or Dogs Spread The Coronavirus In Humans?

No, there is not much evidence that cats or dogs can transmit the virus to humans. 

Can COVID-19 Transmit Through Air?

Latest studies suggest that the virus generally transmits by being in contact with respiratory droplets, and not through the air.

Are Bats The Animal Source Of Coronavirus?

A study published in late February suggests that bats seem to be the ultimate source of coronavirus, but stated that the immediate host had not been detected. Some scientists surmise that the novel coronavirus has been transmitted from bats to humans via pangolins, but there is not much evidence supporting this statement.

Can My Pet Transmit COVID-19?

Although there has been one case of a dog being infected with the novel coronavirus, there is no evidence that a cat, dog or any other pet can transmit the disease. COVID-19 is typically spread through droplets produced when an infected person sneezes, coughs or speaks. To defend yourself, clean your hands repeatedly and thoroughly.

Is It Safe To Obtain A Package From The COVID-19 Prone Areas?

Yes, it is safe to obtain packages from COVID-19 prone areas. The risk is low that an infected person can contaminate commercial goods. The package travels different locations and temperature conditions before reaching the destination, and so there is minimal risk that the virus would keep adhering to the surface. 

Can A Person With No COVID-19 Symptoms Pass On The Disease?

The disease mainly spreads through respiratory droplets secreted by someone who is coughing. In some cases, a person who catches the virus doesn’t experience any symptoms, but can still pass on the infection; however, the risk is quite low. The symptoms of cOVID-19 are mild in several people. It is specifically true at the initial stages of the disease. Hence, it is possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has a mild cough and does not feel unusually ill.  

Can I Develop COVID-19 from The Feces Of Someone With The Disease?

The risk of capturing COVID-19 from the faeces of an infected person seems to be less. While initial findings recommend that the virus may be present in faeces in some circumstances, spread through this route is not a prominent feature of the outbreak. It gives us another important reason to clean hands regularly, after using the bathroom and before eating. 

What Precautions Can I Take To Prevent The Transmission Of The Disease?

The first and the foremost thing you need to do is to stay updated with the latest news and updates about this novel coronavirus. It has affected hundreds of countries and is continuing to do so. 

Consider the following tips and reduce your risk of developing COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for nearly 20 seconds. You can also make use of an alcohol-based sanitizer and accomplish your goal. 
  • It is observed that washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer may be helpful to kill the virus present on your hands.
  • Avoid touching eyes, mouth, and nose. It is recommended because hands touch many objects and surfaces. Once infected, the hands can then pass the virus to your eyes, mouth, and nose. From there, the virus gets inside your body and makes you ill. 
  • Ensure that you and the people around you are practising good hygiene. It incorporates covering your mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing and then disposing of it immediately. Do you know why this is important? Because the tiny droplets transmit the virus. By maintaining good respiratory hygiene, you defend the people around you from viruses of ailments such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • If you find someone coughing or sneezing around you, keep yourself at least one meter away from that person. Maintaining a closure contact with them can make you inhale the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing or sneezing is infected with it. 
  • If you are not feeling well for whatever reason, you should stay home and seek medical assistance. Visiting public places in such a circumstance will enhance the risk of transmission of the virus. 
  • Be aware of the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid travelling to places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease. You have a greater chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas.

If you are one of those who have recently travelled to the areas where COVID-19 is progressively rapidly in the past 14 days, then consider the following preventive measures:

First of all, follow the tips mentioned above. Now if you start feeling unwell, with even moderate symptoms such as the runny nose, a mild fever, headache, etc., remain isolated in the home until the symptoms recover. In case you want to go to a grocery store to purchase daily commodities, and then you can opt to wear a mask to protect others from infection. Preventing contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to function more effectively and help safeguard you and others from COVID-19 and many other viruses.

If you have got a cough, fever, and breathing problems, seek immediate medical assistance as this can be because of a respiratory infection or other serious issues. Make a call to a health expert in advance and let him know about your recent travel history. Calling in advance will help your healthcare specialist detect and treat the problem soon and prevent developing future complications. 

Am I At A Risk For Developing COVID-19?

The risk relies on the region you are, and whether there is a coronavirus outbreak unravelling there. There are some countries and cities where the disease is spreading rapidly, if you dwell or have recently travelled from those regions, then you are very likely to get infected with the virus. Government and health officials are taking decisive measures against each new case reported. Make sure to abide by any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Kindly cooperate with the disease control efforts of the government and reduce your risk of developing COVID-19. 

Do I Need To Worry About COVID-19?

COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stalled, as China and many other countries have already illustrated. However, the new epidemic can emerge anywhere very rapidly, and so it’s essential that you stay content with your current situation and preventive measures. To get the latest coronavirus updates on the COVID-19 status worldwide, tap on the given link:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

Who Is At A Risk Of Developing Serious Illness?

The risk of complications is higher in persons with a weak immune system; this includes small children, older people and those having certain pre-existing conditions like lung disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. Researchers believe that these groups of people usually develop more severe complications than others. 

Can Antibiotics Help Prevent Or Treat COVID-19?

No, it is found that antibiotics are only helpful in treating certain bacterial infections. But, COVID-19, on the other hand, is caused due to a virus and not a bacteria. They should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription to cure a bacterial infection. 

Is There A Vaccine Available For COVID-19?

Till date, there is no medicine or vaccine available for the treatment of COVID-19. Treatment provided to patients is supportive care which helps relieve the coronavirus symptoms. It is also seen that most people can recover from COVID-19 with supportive care only, and do not require to be hospitalized. Scientists are investigating certain specific drug treatments and vaccines through various clinical trials. 

Supportive care involves the following things:

  • Medication to reduce the fever
  • Fluids to prevent the risk of dehydration
  • Supplemental oxygen in more severe cases

The most effective way to protect yourself is frequent washing your hands with soap and water or making use of a hand sanitizer. Maintain a distance of at least one meter from those who are coughing or sneezing, and cover your cough with a tissue or the bend of your elbow. 

Should I Wear A Mask To Prevent The Risk Of COVID-19?

It is one of the most critical questions, “Should you wear a mask?” People are so terrified with this novel coronavirus that they are making purchases of masks without knowing that it is really essential. As a result, those who require masks don’t get one because most of the stores are out of stock now. 

The mask is only recommended for those who are ill with coronavirus or are caring for the one infected with the virus. But, if you do not belong to any of these groups, you are probably wasting a mask. 

WHO recommends the rational use of masks to prohibit wastage of valuable resources and misuse of masks. 

How To Use A Mask?

  • Bear in mind that masks should only be used by healthcare professionals, caregivers and people having respiratory symptoms, such as cough and fever. 
  • Clean your hands properly with soap and water or a hand sanitizer and then only attempt to touch the mask. 
  • Now analyze the mask carefully for tears and holes. 
  • The side on which the metal strip is present is the mask’s top side. 
  • Make sure that the proper side (the coloured side) of the mask face outside.
  • Now, place the mask on your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask, so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  • Pull down the bottom side of the mask so that it covers your mouth and chin region. 
  • Place the mask on your face. Pinch the metal strip or thickened edge of the mask, so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  • Pull down the mask’s bottom, so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  • After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to prevent touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  • Dump the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  • Ensure hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, wash your hands with soap and water. 

What Is The Incubation Period Of COVID-19?

The “incubation period” is the time from the moment of exposure to an infectious agent until signs and symptoms of the disease start developing. Most evaluations of COVID-19 suggest that the incubation period of COVID-19 ranges somewhere between 1-14 days. 

Should I Start keeping Extra Food And Supplies?

Yes, because you or your family member may need to be quarantined suddenly. Therefore, it’s a good idea to start keeping extra mood and medications along with you. Harvard medical school suggests that you can keep a two week to 30 day supply of non-perishable food. This practice may also be helpful in case of snowstorms or power outages. Additionally, try to keep at least a 30-day amount of prescription medication and any required over-the-counter medicines.

Can Spraying With Disinfectant Help?

A video has been viral, which showed a man spraying a student with disinfectant after school. However, who says that spraying alcohol or chlorine all over the body will not kill the virus which has already entered your body.

Spraying such substances may be detrimental to clothes or your mucous membranes such as eyes and mouth. 

Why Can’t We Make A Drug To Cure Coronavirus Faster?

An antiviral drug must be able to target the specific part of a virus’s life cycle that is significant for it to reproduce, according to Harvard Medical School.

“Moreover, an antiviral drug must be able to kill a virus without killing the human cell it occupies. And viruses are very adaptive.”

Are SARS and COVID-19 The Same?

The virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the one that is responsible for developing COVID-19 is genetically similar, but the diseases they lead to are quite different. 

SARS was less contagious but more deadly than COVID-19. Fortunately, there has been no outbreak of SARS anywhere across the globe since 2003.

Conclusion

The novel coronavirus is not that lethal, and most of the infected people are getting recovered from their condition. If your immune system is healthy, there is no need to panic, as complications are seen in those with some pre-existing ailments and older individuals. If you are old or have some pre-existing illness, try staying home to minimize the risk of getting infected. You can check on the link https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ and get access to all the latest updates about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Sources:

https://www.who.int/

https://www.aljazeera.com/

https://edition.cnn.com/

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