Coronavirus is the name of a family of viruses that has many different members and all of which are not harmful to health. The word “Corona” means “Crown” because that is how the virus looks under the microscope. Some of them, around four or five different members of this virus family, cause common diseases among human beings such as breathing problems, the common cold, and fever and there are few other that affect only the animal kingdom. But rarely it is found that the coronavirus is migrating from animal species to humankind.
But one type, COVID-19 has recently got a lot of focus because it is a new kind of coronavirus and has never been seen among the human population before. Hence, it is assumed by scientists that the virus has been transferred from animal to man. It has created an exponential outbreak of respiratory illness, starting from China, and is now spreading panic and terror across the whole world because this illness has even proved to be lethal in some cases, causing death in a short span of time and has quickly spread among thousands.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs doctors have against flu will not work. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.
Well, prevention is always better than cure! Hence, if you have recently travelled from areas which are known to be affected by Coronavirus, you must stay inside your house all day and avoid socializing as much as you can. This is because there are chances you are carrying the flu with yourself. Run to the nearest doctor to get diagnosed but then, unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this virus yet. Also, just a physical examination of the patient will not be enough to detect the virus because the symptoms are always like a common cold. Patients with COVID-19 are usually treated with supportive measures to give relief from the symptoms.
How does it spread?
Almost all respiratory diseases are spread by the droplets that get emitted when people cough or sneeze and those droplets usually stay suspended in the air for quite a period for an area of six or seven feet in front of them. Sometimes, those suspended droplets land on surfaces, on handles of chair, doorknobs and any other place which when touched by a healthy person can induce the virus in him.
Since the Novel 2019 Coronavirus is a wholly new member of the Corona family, how far it can spread and how dangerous it can get has not been estimated or known with certainty. This virus was spread from China, and now it has got transmitted across the whole world. Also, since winter is majorly the time of respiratory illnesses, Coronavirus has got a boost in spreading quickly through borders and people of all races and clans. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has raised an alert not to go to China, unless necessary.
According to Worldmeters.info, there have been a total 129,854 cases of Coronavirus recorded as of March 12th, 2020. Among those cases, 4,751 have died of this disease, and fortunately, the recovery number is a hopeful 68,672 cases. There are currently, 56,431 infected patients among whom, 50,720 cases (90%) are mild conditions, whereas the remaining 5,711(10%) cases are serious conditions. Affected countries in ascending order of the highest number of affected people are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, France, USA, Switzerland, Norway etc. In India, the total number of cases recorded are 74.
How to shield yourself from Corona attack?
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after coming back from any public gathering. If soap and water is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you sneeze or whenever anybody near you sneezes. Then throw away the tissue in a dustbin.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid public gatherings as much as possible. Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Disinfect the areas that are frequently touched upon by public by using antiseptics and disinfectants such as Dettol. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter-tops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes.
- W.H.O, although has not pointed out any particular meat or food item to avoid during this Coronavirus outbreak, but has list down some necessary measures to avoid contacting this virus:
- Washing hands is very important before handling raw meat and cooking food.
- Use separate chopping board and knives for raw food items and cooked food.
- Sick animals and animals that have died due to diseases should not have be eaten.
- Food items should be properly cleaned and cooked for safer consumption. Use hot water to wash raw food items for added safety.
a vaccine or drug is not available for COVID-19. Community-based interventions such as school dismissals, event cancellations, social distancing, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Some experts believe that since Coronavirus is a “flu-type” virus and since people stop aggregating during summer time, hence the coming heat waves may wane out this epidemic. But other experts believe otherwise. According to them, heat wave or humidity does not seem to have much effect on the Coronavirus and this epidemic might actually spread since there is no apt vaccine for the epidemic. So, where coronavirus is headed, only time can tell.