What is the 2019 coronavirus?
Just as 2020 arrived, a new virus emerged and spread all over the world. What made all heads turn was the speed at which the virus was transmitted.
The virus originated from a food market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and by March 2020, it had spread to over 180 countries of the world including the Philippines and the United States. the official name of the virus is SARS-CoV-2. Hundreds of thousands have been affected, and more than 17,000 people have died from the disease.
When a person is infected by SARS-CoV-2, he or she suffers from a disease called COVID-19. COVID-19 is short for coronavirus disease 2019.
The news about COVID-19 has created a global panic, but then, you’re not likely to contract SARS-CoV-2 unless you’ve had contact with someone who is already infected.
Let’s bust a few myths. This article will enlighten you about the spread of the 2019 coronavirus, its similarities, and differences from other coronaviruses, and the best way to stop its spread.
What are the symptoms of the 2019 coronavirus?
Clinicians and medical researchers are still studying the SARS-CoV-2. New things are being learned about it daily. Presently, we understand that the COVID-19 may not cause any symptoms initially.
A person who has the virus may carry it for at least two days, and up to two weeks before symptoms manifest.
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- Dyspnea or shortness of breath
- Fever (low-grade), but with a gradual increase in temperature
- A cough whose severity increases over time
The symptoms of coronavirus may increase in severity in some patients. If you have any of these symptoms, or you know someone who does, please call emergency services. Symptoms you should watch out for include:
- Blue face or lips
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent pressure or pain in the chest
Investigations are still ongoing on the full list of symptoms.
COVID-19 vs the flu
A lot of research is being carried out on the SARS-CoV-2. Scientists are still learning about whether this disease is more deadly than the seasonal flu or less.
It is hard to find out considering that the total number of cases is not known. But then, evidence from early research shows that the 2019 coronavirus is deadlier than the seasonal flu.
Symptoms common to the flu include:
What is the cause of coronavirus?
The coronavirus is zoonotic. What does this mean? Well, it means that they develop in animals first, before developing in humans.
The virus only crosses from an animal to a human when a person has come into close contact with the infected animal.
Once it starts developing, the coronavirus can then spread. Its medium of spread is respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets are the wet fluid that comes out from your nose or mouth when you sneeze or cough.
The virus is housed in these droplets. A bystander can breathe in these droplets, thus standing a high of infection.
It is worth noting that the 2019 coronavirus has not been linked to any specific animal.
It is believed that the virus may have been transmitted from bats to pangolins or snakes – and then to humans.
Who is at risk of 2019 coronavirus?
Humans are at high risk for contracting 2019 coronavirus if they come in contact with a carrier. The risk is higher if you’ve stood close to them when they sneezed or coughed.
If you don’t take the right preventive measures, you are also at risk especially if you:
- Stay with an infected person
- Work as a home carer for an infected person.
- Have a spouse or an intimate partner who has the virus.
The elderly and people with underlying health conditions have a higher risk of COVID-19 complications. Health conditions that can aggravate COVID-19 include:
- Asthma, COPD, and other lung conditions
- Some heart conditions
- HIV and other immune conditions
- Severe obesity
- Chronic health conditions are not properly managed, such as liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
The risk of complications is also high in pregnant women.
Diagnosis of coronavirus
The diagnosis of COID-19 is similar to other diseases caused by viral infections. Materials required include a tissue sample, saliva, or blood. It is worth noting that most coronavirus tests use a cotton swab to collect fluids from your nostrils.
COVID-19 tests are carried out by the CDC, commercial companies, and state health departments. Check the website of your state’s health department to know whether there is a test center near you.
Consult your doctor without delay if you notice symptoms of COVID-19 or you know someone who does. Your doctor will guide you appropriately on whether you should go to the hospital for treatment, or stay at home.
Is there any treatment for COVID-19?
There is no approved treatment for COVID-19. The infection also has no cure. Research on vaccines and treatments are still ongoing. Current treatment for COVID-19 focuses on symptom management as the virus runs its course.
Seek medical help if you suspect that you’re infected. Your doctor will recommend the right treatments for any symptoms or complications that you have.
MERS, SARS, and other coronaviruses are also being treated by symptom management. In some instances, experimental treatments may be tested to verify their efficacy. Some of the therapies used for these diseases include:
- Retroviral or antiviral medications
- Blood plasma transfusions
- Steroids – help to reduce lung swelling
- Mechanical ventilation to support breathing
Complications of 2019 coronavirus
The 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia (NCIP) is the major complication of COVID-19.
A 2020 study involving 138 patients admitted into treatment facilities at Wuhan found that 26% of people admitted had very severe cases and had to be treated in the intensive care unit.
4.3% of the patients died from pneumonia. It is worth noting that those who were admitted into the ICU were older and had underlying health conditions compared to those who were not admitted into the intensive care unit.
NCIP is the most specific COVID-19 complication. Other complications include:
- Irregular heart rate
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Severe muscle pain
- Cardiovascular shock
- Heart attack or heart damage
What’s the best way to prevent coronaviruses?
The best way to prevent getting infected is by limiting or avoiding contact with people who show symptoms of infection with COVID-19 or any other respiratory disease.
It is also important that you practice social distancing and good hygiene. This will limit the spread of the virus and other pathogens.
Do I have to wear a mask to prevent coronavirus?
Masks are not recommended for the general public. If you are in a public setting, the CDC recommends that you put on a cloth facemask. Ensure that it covers your nose and your mouth. If you wear it rightly, it can slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Cloth facemasks act as a barrier to the respiratory droplets from asymptomatic people.
You can make your facemask at home using very simple materials like a T-shirt, cotton fabric, or a bandana. The CDC has provided a guide for making a facemask at home with a sewing machine or with scissors.
Members of the general public are advised to use the cloth masks while reserving other types of masks for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.
You must keep your mask clean. Wash it after every use. Do not touch the front of the mask with your hands. Try as much as possible to not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when you remove the mask. This will prevent the virus from transferring from the mask to your face.
Note that wearing a mask isn’t the only preventive measure. You should also practice social distancing and frequent handwashing. They’re all important.
Children below the age of 2, people with facial hair, and people who have breathing problems should not wear masks.
Outlook for 2019 coronavirus
You mustn’t panic. You won’t be quarantined unless you are infected.
Practice good hygiene (handwashing), and social distancing to protect yourself from contracting the virus.
The news about travel bans, quarantines, and deaths seem pretty scary.
You must remain calm and adhere to your doctor’s instructions if you’ve been diagnosed. Doing so will help you recover fast and also prevents its spread.