The Corona Pandemic
More than 276,472 established cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide so far. The spread of the coronavirus—now legitimately named SARS-CoV-2— has been almost parallel to the spread of misinformation, hindering efforts to educate and protect the global community. First let us get the terms straight: SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that’s spreading; COVID-19 is the name of the disease it causes. Most media reports use the term ‘Corona Virus’ to describe the SARS-CoV-2. However, Coronaviruses are an entire family of viruses which are accountable for causing illness such as the common cold and in severe cases diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
How did COVID-19 get it’s name?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced in February that the disease, previously known as novel coronavirus would officially be named Covid-19. Initially it was named the Wuhan Coronavirus and China Coronavirus, because of it’s origin in a wet market in Wuhan, China. More precisely, Covid-19 refers to the disease. “Co” refers to corona, “vi” to virus, and “d” to disease. Recently US politicians including President Donald Trump have insisted on using terms like Chinese Virus, and a White House official called it kung-flu in front of a Chinese-American journalist. In this context, what the WHO—as a neutral, international agency—calls the virus suddenly carries a lot of weight.
How did the virus spread ?
The source of the coronavirus is believed to be a “wet market” in Wuhan, China which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds. The animal source of SARS-CoV-2 has yet to be discovered definitively. Given the history, bats remain a feasible criminal, with some researchers suspecting the pangolin—an rare mammal prized on the black market for its scales, to be the source.
Why are bats always the probable criminals ?
Often bats are the likely reservoirs of a number of high-impact viral zoonoses. What are Viral Zoonoses? Viral zoonoses cause silent infections in animals and overt disease in unnatural hosts such as humans. Often the virus and its animal host evolve together. Upon research, the total number of zoonotic viruses in bats has been found to be 61. Multiple species of bats have been detected with highly virulent zoonotic pathogens such as the Nipah, Hendra, SARS and Ebola viruses.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 ?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the main symptoms of the coronavirus usually include:
- A dry cough
- A temperature
- Shortness of breath (in more severe cases)
Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 10 days after contracting the virus, but this period might be up to 24 days. Most people (about 80 per cent) recover without needing special treatment. However, around one out of every six people (16 per cent) become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems, lung complaints or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.
How can we protect ourselves from COVID-19 ?
According to the World Health Organisation, following are the steps by which we can control the spread of Covid-19:
- Wash your hands frequently: Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain social distancing: When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Practice respiratory hygiene: Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Myth-Busters about COVID-19
- COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates: From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.
- Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus: There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases.
- Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease: Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower.
- The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites: The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?
No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.
Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Note : Utmost care has been taken to credit the original authors/sources and to make these as apt as possible.