Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The year 2020 has been a lot of stories for all of us. Standing out among the many happenings of the year is the coronavirus pandemic.
Without a doubt, no one prepared for the outbreak of the virus. Even the World Health Organisation was caught almost unprepared for the virus. But, thanks to past preparations, the WHO was able to respond.
Although there are still a lot of things not known about the virus, the information available about the virus is far better to help us understand it. And, even better, to begin finding a cure for the infection. So, really, what do we know about the virus?
Available evidence shows that the earliest form of coronavirus existed around 10,000 years ago (8000 BC). Today, the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, is a member of a larger family of coronaviruses.
The deadly coronavirus, which is the cause of the global pandemic today, originated in Wuhan city, China, in December 2019.
Contrary to many beliefs, up will now, no evidence ties the engineering of the deadly coronavirus to the Wuhan Institute of virology laboratory.
Due to its rapid spread across different countries and its potentially fatal rate, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus as a matter of global emergency in public health requiring rapid global attention.
Cause of the Coronavirus Infection
The primary cause of coronavirus is contact between animals that have the virus in them and other uninfected animals or humans. New scientific evidence has revealed that there might be some considerable similarities between the coronavirus in bats and the coronavirus infection that affect humans. These findings have led to speculations that humans contracted the virus from contact with bats or other animals that have been earlier infected by a bat.
At the same time, there have been reports that suggested that the earliest cases of coronavirus in the Wuhan market, China province, originated from seafood and animals.
Though no conclusive proof, the closest to the truth is that the spread of the coronavirus infection broke out and started from the Wuhan Market in China where humans then began spreading across local and international borders.
The Spread of the Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease. The transmission of the virus is between animals, between humans, and from animals to humans. But you should know that the phylogenetic analysis reveals that the SARS‐CoV‐2, first transmitted between animals, and then from animals to humans.
The coronavirus continues to spread due to physical human contact. Person-to-person contact between infected persons and non-infected persons further spread the virus. Today, coronavirus continues to spread aggressively, extending 30 million cases worldwide.
Droplets containing coronavirus can stay on physical surfaces or objects for hours. So, non-infected persons can get infected through direct contact with these surfaces.
If such a person touches their eyes, nose, or mouth without disinfecting, the probability is that they will get infected. So, this is why experts advise that people wear face or nose masks to avoid viral droplets or contact.
Also, you should maintain good hygiene and dispose of your masks after use to avoid other contamination.
Symptoms of the Coronavirus Infection
Like every infection and disease that has broken out, there have been ways to identify them. The coronavirus is no exception.
You can know if someone has developed the coronavirus by identifying some common symptoms of the virus.
Although some of these symptoms have similarities with other diseases, it is still important to watch out for those showing any of the symptoms and help them by calling for an ambulance or signalling the centre for disease control before they spread or go beyond control.
Coronavirus symptoms include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Skin rashes
- Sore throat
Others include nausea and loss of taste or smell. You should know that the coronavirus can also cause infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.
As you can observe, the symptoms of the coronavirus infection can be mild, and it can be severe.
The best practice when you see someone who exhibits these symptoms is to maintain some reasonable distance. If you notice you’re exhibiting these symptoms, kindly avoid contact with other people. Preferably, you can isolate yourself.
For others, you can then help then get to a hospital or advise them to self-isolate for a while. You can also call the COVID-19 hotlines made available by the government for emergency and professional responses.
Sadly, there have been more than 960 thousand deaths worldwide. But if it is any solace, more than 22 million people have recovered from the deadly coronavirus.
The coronavirus has deadlier implications in persons who have pre-existing health and nervous complications and old people.
Since there are no vaccines, antibiotics, or antiviral drugs for coronavirus, best practices suggested by recognised health institutions now are to maintain physical and social distancing.
Note, this is why countries across the globe are imposing lockdown measures and restrictions. Some have even imposed travel bans and restrictions on social gatherings and events. There are isolation centres and medical response units available to handle coronavirus cases for persons who have already infected.
Drug trials and vaccine tests are ongoing to find a cure for the coronavirus. Till then, please, maintain physical and social distancing and adhere to safety measures imposed by the health authorities.