COVID-19: Basic Information to Keep You Safe
There is nothing that has threatened the global economy today more than the COVID-19 pandemic. This disease is spreading rapidly across the globe bringing even the strongest economies to a halt. More worrying is the fact that there is no cure yet. You are therefore safer if you are well informed about the corona virus disease.
Here is the basic information on corona virus and COVID-19 that you must know:
What is Corona Virus?
It may surprise you to learn that actually corona virus is not a single virus. There are many strains of corona virus that cause upper respiratory diseases. So what is corona? Corona is a Latin word for “crown.” But corona is also the outermost surrounding of the sun; only visible during the total solar eclipse.
Corona viruses are so named because of their structure. Their surfaces have protruding spikes just like a crown or the sun’s corona.
Corona virus disease (shortened as Covid) is not entirely new. In 2003, a certain corona virus caused SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in China. In 2012, another strain of corona virus caused the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in Saudi Arabia. In all these cases, the diseases spread from person to person across many countries.
The current covid is caused a novel (new) corona virus with symptoms very similar to those of SARS. The virus is known as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Initially it was called 2019 novel Corona Virus (2019-nCoV). The respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 is officially called Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 2019 is added to denote the year that the disease first broke out.
History of Corona Virus
COVID-19 started from a seafood market in Wuhan; the capital city of China’s Hubei province. In Chinese food culture, live animals are believed to be more nutritious.
At the said market, traders sell live animals such as bats, marmots, snakes and pangolins among others. It’s believed that corona virus may have infected humans from some of these animals particularly bats and pangolins.
Current COVID-19 Situation
From Wuhan, the new covid has spread across the globe like a bushfire. Many countries are regularly feeding their citizens with the corona virus news. Information about the COVID-19 symptoms, testing and preventive measures is flowing daily.
COVID-19 is highly contagious and its spread has shaken even countries with the best healthcare systems. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared covid as a pandemic.
As of April 1, 2020 global cases of corona virus were 950,713 with 48,313 deaths. Those who recovered from COVID-19 were 202, 826. The top 3 countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are USA (215,352), Italy (110,574) and Spain (110,238). Today there is virtually no country that is 100% free from corona virus.
In order to stem the spread of COVID-19, many countries have encouraged their citizens to stay at home. People who are exposed to the corona virus are encouraged to take self-quarantine. Those who are infected are isolated from the healthy populations.
A number of countries have put badly affected cities under lockdown. Others have enforced complete curfews.
Symptoms of COVID-19
So how do you know if you’ve caught the dreaded COVID-19? Here are the three major common symptoms:
- Very high fever
- Severe Cough
- Shortness of breath/difficulties in breathing
- Constant pressure or pain in the chest
Therefore if you have a very high fever, a severe persistent cough and difficulties in breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.
These symptoms may be worse if you have underlying health issues like diabetes, asthma, heart and kidney diseases among others.
Testing for COVID-19
If you exhibit the above symptoms, it is important that you take a test. Testing for COVID-19 is done by doctors and it involves swabbing the inside of the nose.
The samples can then be examined for the presence of corona virus using COVID-19 diagnostic kits. But since many hospitals don’t have the test kits, the test may be done at another facility. This means that you may have to wait for a couple hours before knowing your results.
Medication for COVID-19
Currently there is no known cure or vaccine for COVID-19. However, medication includes specialized management of its symptoms. You should therefore exercise care to avoid corona virus infection.
The following tips may help you avoid or reduce the risk of infection:
Observe social distancing – avoid unnecessary social gatherings. If you can’t, then keep a distance of at least 1 meter from anyone with symptoms of corona virus infection.
Take respiratory hygiene seriously – when coughing or sneezing, you should cover your mouth with a tissue. You can also cover it with a bent elbow. This will prevent viruses carried in droplets from infecting other people around you.
Regular hand wash
Your hands often touch many surfaces. Some of the surfaces could have the virus. Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water to avoid infection. You can also use any alcohol-based sanitizer or hand rub.
Resist the urge to touch your face – before washing your hands; don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose. That is a sure way of getting the corona virus into your body.
Current Research on COVID-19 Treatment
Although there is no cure for COVID-19 pandemic, the medical community is in a race to find one. There is hope for a cure to be found soon. In France, for example, Professor Didier Raoult established that hydroxychloroquine together with azithromycin can reduce coronavirus load in patients.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are among the four most promising treatments for the COVID-19 launched by WHO. Others are remdesivir, ritonavir/lopinavir and a combination of ritonavir/lopinavir with interferon-beta.
Research and clinical trials on these drugs are ongoing to establish their effectiveness to combat corona virus.
Additional: Reference Websites