In December 2019, a contagious respiratory disease was first detected in China, which is now spreading worldwide. The virus is named as SARS-CoV-2, and the disease caused by it is called coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. There is a widespread disease across the country, even after the officials are taking preventive measures here and abroad.
The extent of this outbreak is rapidly evolving, and the risk assessment is changing with the outbreak. Hence it is high time to keep yourself educated about the COVID-19.
What is coronavirus?
The new form of virus called the "novel coronavirus" is spreading across the countries in high intensity. An extensive set of illnesses, including the common cold and respiratory infections, is called the coronavirus.
On New Year's eve 2019 in Wuhan, which is in the Hubei Province of China, a cluster of severe Pneumonia cases were reported. On Jan 9, virologists and other public health researchers identified the virus causing the critical situation and named it as a novel coronavirus. It was believed to be spread from the "wet market" in the city of Wuhan, known for selling fish and other live animals. This market place is already known for its virus transmissions as the people want to see the meat cut in before them to ensure the quality of meat, but are unaware that they are spreading the viruses.
The first patients in India contracted the virus while traveling in other countries or after the exposure with an infected patient. Now the disease is starting to spread across the communities, for which the source of infection is not clearly known. We need to understand how severe this will be, as it may cause a significant disruption in our daily life.
HOW DOES COVID-19 SPREAD?
The virus can quickly spread from person to person and is fast transmissible even before the person develops symptoms. It is carried through the respiratory droplets when the person talks, sneezes, and coughs, and they get settled down on the surface or in someone's mouth or nose. The respiratory droplet can travel 6 feet, as it is tiny, and being within 6 feet of the infected person can get you contaminated with COVID-19.
The hand hygiene is essential as the droplets can be picked up from the surfaces. Good hand hygiene means, washing your hands regularly after using the restrooms, after coming from outside, before eating and before touching our face. The droplets get transferred to our eyes, mouth, and nose from our hands after picking them from the surfaces. Covering your coughs and sneezes using a disposable tissue is also required as the infection may spread through the respiratory secretions like snot and sputum. Keep your workplaces, study area, and mobile phones clean to avoid the contractions.
SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19
The virus causes common flu-like symptoms. Some patients, mainly older people and people suffering from chronic health conditions, may suffer from severe pneumonia.
People develop symptoms like fever, muscle and body pain, cough, and sore throat for 5-6 days after infection. Most people will feel miserable for a week and may get better on their own. Some people may not get infected, but it is crucial to stay inside and make sure we are not causing the spread. A minor range of people get their condition worsened, and this happens after 5-7 days of illness. These patients will suffer from shortness of breath and worsening cough conditions if it happens. Then it is time to get yourself screened for the virus infection.
The number of people who have been diagnosed and the death rate due to the infection are changing day by day. As of early March, there have been over 125,000 confirmed cases with a death toll of about 5000 people. These numbers are just estimates and may change with the virus outspread. Most of the death cases reported are older adults over 60 years.
ARE YOU IN THE RISK FOR CONTRACTING COVID-19?
Yes, everyone is in the situation of contracting the virus as there is no natural immunity for this particular virus. However, it is seen that children appear to be among the least likely persons to get infected by this virus.
The lack of prior experience in facing this kind of virus is making it difficult for public health officials and other health officials to treat the disease. The virus is new, and with fast outspread is making the situation dangerous for humans.
From the study provided, it is noted that only 20% of people with the infection have to be hospitalized where the remaining 80% will have bad colds but can recover at home. But it all depends on the individual's medical history, but the risk factor is higher for aged people and patients with chronic health conditions.
The most vulnerable population having the infection of COVID-19 having to be hospitalized or put on a ventilator are people over 60. This list also includes smokers, hypertension, and diabetes patients, people with low immune systems, patients having lung disease, or individuals taking medicines to suppress their immune system due to medical conditions.
We strongly recommend the individuals to curtail their outdoor activities to stop the outspread. People should stop traveling and prevent themselves from the crowd. The individuals must stay indoors as far as possible and can venture outside only in case of an emergency. If you are instructed to stay home, it is better to stay indoors rather than taking risks with your life and others' life.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF?
Do follow the necessary precautions you support for the cold and flu. This includes avoiding close contact with the sick people, not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, and cleaning the objects, and disinfecting the surfaces you are in frequent contact with.
The individuals showing the symptoms of the infection should wear masks to keep yourself and others safe. The health officials are not recommending everybody to wear a mask, to get yourself safe from COVDD-19. Clean your hands with alcohol-based sanitizers regularly if you are in a crowded region.
WHEN CAN I GET TESTED FOR COVID-19?
If you think you are having the symptoms, then reach out to the doctor at the earliest time possible. Keep yourself at a distance from the family members and cover using a mask. Don't share your stuff with the family and clean the bathrooms with disinfectants regularly after your use. Keep your hands clean and be in an air circulated room and never forget to close while coughing and sneezing.
Never panic unless and until you are very sure with the symptoms as sometimes the common flu may also have the same symptoms. Unless you are sick, please do not go for testing as there are only limited diagnostic materials available in the country. Be open with the doctor and tell the truth about your travel history and health conditions.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE IN MY PROXIMITY GET INFECTED
If a person in your family gets infected and tested positive for COVID-19 and is being quarantined, you have to stay at a distance from the person as much as possible. Additionally, be sure to maintain your hygiene by washing hands regularly and cleaning surfaces like doorknobs and countertops. If the situation calls for you to stay with the infected individual, make sure to wear a mask.
Help to prevent the spread
Prevention starts with awareness- be informed about the virus outspread.
To protect your family and community from this critical situation stay indoors and be a responsible citizen.
Avoid chilling out and taking risks with your lives.