A newly identified virus known as Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is spreading across the globe at the speed of light.
It is a family of viruses that have been seen to cause issues as minor as cold and cough, to issues as major as respiratory disorders.
Coronavirus has never been identified by humans ever before, which has resulted in the human race having no cure for it. The virus originated in China but has now spread in many countries, including India.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a group of respiratory viruses that have the potential to cause a wide range of illnesses, from cold to respiratory syndromes.
It has small spikes protruding all around it, which makes it resemble a sun’s corona, hence it is called Coronavirus.
Covid 19 is a new strain of this family of viruses, and that is why there is no absolute cure for this virus.
Coronavirus’s first case was reported in Wuhan, China, on 31st December 2019, and it has been rapidly spreading since.
As per the data released by Bing, 1,06,94,288 people have been infected with COVID19 Coronavirus, out of which 516,210 deaths have been reported. The outbreak has been enormous, considering the time of the first case being detected.
As a result, Coronavirus has been labeled as pandemic (a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region around the world) by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Coronavirus in India: Updated as on July 3rd, 2020 – 627,063 cases (18,232 deaths)
As per the latest data available as on July 3, India has 627,063 confirmed cases of Coronavirus so far.
The death toll in India is 18,232 as of now.
Types of Coronavirus
229E Alpha Coronavirus
The human coronavirus 229E or HCoV-229E is a species of coronavirus that infects humans and bats.
The infecting virus is a single-stranded RNA virus which enters its host cell and is known to cause common cold once it manifests. This virus transmits via respiratory droplets.
It may also, in some cases, lead to more severe issues like pneumonia and bronchitis.
NL63 Alpha Coronavirus
This human coronavirus was discovered in 2004, in a child suffering from bronchitis.
Being infected with the virus has been confirmed globally, and has been further associated with many common cold symptoms.
Associated diseases include mild upper respiratory tract infections and severe lower respiratory tract infections.
OC43 Beta Coronavirus
This virus, also popularly known as HCov-OC43, is a species of coronavirus that affects humans and cattle. It is responsible for causing 10-15% common cold cases around the world.
This virus has been seen to manifest itself mostly in the winter months.
HKU1 Beta Coronavirus
This is a type of coronavirus which originated by infected mice. This specie of coronavirus was first identified in the year 2005 in a 71-year-old man who showed symptoms of respiratory distress. This is associated with both upper and lower respiratory tract diseases.
First reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a type of coronavirus that infects humans, bats, and camels.
MARS-CoV does not easily spread amongst humans unless there is close contact between them. Sufficient hygiene measures need to be taken to control the transmission of this virus.
Evidence suggests that people may become infected if they come in contact with an infected camel. It could result in organ failure in extreme cases.
SARS coronavirus was discovered in 2003. The first person to ever be infected by it belonged to southern China. He got infected in 2002. SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It has been said to spread by bats to other animals like civet cats.
Some evidence shows that it transmits from person-to-person, and this happens around the 2nd week of one’s illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhoea, and shivering.
This species is the newest emerged virus. This virus, which earlier seems to be far away from mankind, has approached in full swing. A lot of us have associated this virus with the zoonotic transmission, but much research still needs to be carried out for us to comment upon it. More about this virus has been discussed below.
Bats can be seen as one of the possible sources of spread of this virus since they were found to be the starting point for SARS.
It is also possible that bats may have transmitted the virus to pangolins, which are consumed in many regions of China, and may have passed on the virus to humans, leading to the massive spread.
Further, the outbreak grew because of human-to-human contact. People infected with this virus produce tiny respiratory droplets while they cough, sneeze, talk, or even while breathing.
This facilitates the virus to get transmitted to other humans via air. These droplets containing virus may stay alive for around 6-8 hours.
People who are in close contact with those infected become more prone to catching the virus.
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COVID-19 ranges from being mild to severe. It may take the symptoms from about 2 to 14 days to show up properly. The symptoms for the same are-
- Sore Throat
- Runny Nose
- Shortness of breath
It is quite possible that one may never develop symptoms after being exposed to COVID-19.
Older adults and those who are already suffering from an existing medical condition, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of severe COVID-19. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis.
Coronavirus Precaution and Prevention
So far, there is no vaccine for Covid-19. This has resulted in its massive, unstoppable spread globally.
There are a few guidelines and preventive measures provided by various health organizations to ensure you are as less likely to get exposed to the virus.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or are showing symptoms.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Do not move out when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue, and do not reuse the tissue.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
- Make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you are someone who is suffering from COVID-19, or even regular cold, then it is advised to wear a face mask at all times.
- Travel Less and stay indoors. Crowded places, airports, cinema halls, shopping malls are the most dangerous places.
- Spread awareness among people but refrain from spreading wrong information.
Coronavirus Diagnosis (Testing Strategy) Being Followed in India
So far, there is no community transmission of COVID19. The disease is primarily reported in those individuals who had a travel history to the affected countries or close contacts of positive cases. Hence all individuals need not be tested.
Amid the rising coronavirus cases, all those people who came in contact with the infected people are being advised for a 14-day home quarantine to be sure that they don’t develop any symptoms.
Steps to Take Under Home Quarantine amid Coronavirus
- A person under home quarantine should stay away from older people, pregnant women, and children within the household.
- Items such as utensils, towels, and bedding shouldn’t be shared.
- Only an assigned family member should be tasked with taking care of the person.
- Frequently touched surfaces in the quarantined person’s room should be cleaned daily with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite Solution.
Currently, there is no specific targeted antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 must receive supportive care to help them in relieving symptoms. It may include:
- Pain killers
- Cough syrup or medication
- Fluid intake
Whereas, for severe cases, treatment should include extensive care to support vital organ functions. If you feel you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should contact a healthcare specialist immediately.
Health organizations also suggest that there should be frequent and sufficient fluid intake by the person infected.
Coronavirus Myth Busters
With so much about Coronavirus being unveiled, it is natural for humans to develop false notions about the virus. In addition to this, social media reach has made it so much more convenient for the fake news to spread, that it is vital for us to know the facts behind this virus. Some of the widely spread myths, along with their facts are listed below.
Regularly rinsing your nose with saline water helps prevent coronavirus
There is no proven evidence that regularly and frequently rinsing your nose with saline water will help prevent the disease. It is a fact for sure that it will help in making recovery faster, but in no case will it act as a preventive measure.
Eating garlic can help prevent coronavirus
Garlic is said to be very good for health and has antimicrobial properties as well, which makes it all the more beneficial. But, there is no research that indicates that eating garlic in food, or having in raw (garlic cloves) will help prevent infection.
Vaccines against pneumonia protect from Coronavirus
Vaccines that are there for pneumonia do not work against the Coronavirus. This virus is so unique that it needs its own vaccine, which targets the specific areas that this virus infects. Any vaccination against respiratory illnesses may still help for once.
Only older people are prone to Coronavirus
Anybody can easily be infected by Coronavirus. However, indeed, older people or those who already have existing medical conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes are more susceptible to it. It has been thus advised by health organizations that everyone must take necessary steps to ensure their protection from this virus.
Will wearing a mask prevent me from catching coronavirus?
No, wearing a facemask may reduce the chances of virus infection but certainly can’t guarantee 100% protection. This is because the virus not only transmits through the nose but also via eyes and the mere act of touching someone who is infected with the virus.
Furthermore, it is advised that if you are infected already, then you must wear a mask to ensure that you’re not causing the virus to spread by your respiratory droplets.
Will eating non-vegetarian food make me more prone to the virus?
Though the virus is said to have originated via bats, there is no such evidence that eating any form of non-vegetarian food or red meat will cause you to catch the virus. It is a human virus now and can only be transmitted via human to human.
Will a rise in temperature help in controlling the spread of this virus?
The warm weather may slow down the transmission of this virus, but it cannot “stop” the infection from spreading in any way. A lot of people believe that the virus will completely be eradicated by April with the rise in temperature, but it is certainly not so, it will only decrease the rate of spreading.
Are pets increasing the spread of coronavirus?
According to the reports, it is highly unlikely that the virus can be spread by pets such as dogs, cats and thus, owners should not abandon their pets, because they are not the reason or a contributor to the spread of this virus.
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