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What is Coronavirus and what you need to know about it

March 5, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team

At present, you've most likely heard about a new dangerous virus formerly known as Novel Coronavirus and now named COVID-19. Countries all over the world are trying to deal with this deadly virus that founded in China's Wuhan city in December 2019 and everywhere now. Everyone is talking about it - Health organizations, governments, media, social media, your loved ones.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26 countries reported cases of coronavirus. Almost all of those with confirmed cases either exist in China or had moved from China to other countries.

What is Coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2 and why did the name change from Coronavirus to COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a class of viruses that generate illnesses varying from the common cold to more critical illnesses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). These viruses were first spread between animals. SARS, for example, was transferred from civet cats to humans while MERS migrated to humans from a kind of camel. The title coronavirus originates from the Latin word corona, indicating crown or halo. By microscope, the picture of the virus seems like a solar corona. At initial, we called the virus 'novel coronavirus', which indicates a new strain of coronavirus. Once scientists understood correctly what this strain of coronavirus was and how to recognize it in tests, they gave it a title: SARS-CoV-2. If someone becomes sick by this virus the sickness is called COVID-19. For ease, a lot of people are calling the virus and the disease it causes with the same name, COVID-19.

What are the symtoms of coronavirus?

While you have a virus, it's not the virus that causes you sick, but your immune system's attempts to get rid of it. For example, your immune system can increase your body temperature and supply you a fever, to make it warm enough to destroy a virus. All the tough work your immune system is doing can also utilize all your energy and make you feel weak. Everyone's body is different, and because symptoms are produced by your immune system and not the virus itself, different people can have somewhat different symptoms even if they hold the same virus, even a few people's symptoms will be worse than others. Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory sickness, which indicates that it hits the parts of your body you use to breathe: your nose, throat, and lungs.

If you have the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), your symptoms might include:

  • Fever
  • A cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia
  • In worst cases, this includes organ failures and in some cases even death

How is Coronavirus different from SARS

  • Mortality Rate - We still don't know how serious the new coronavirus is, and we won't know till further data appears. While SARS had a mortality rate of higher than 10%, coronavirus's mortality rate is approximately 2%. Seasonal influenza typically has a mortality rate under 1% and is estimated to generate about 400,000 deaths every year globally. So, in essence, coronavirus is closer to seasonal influenza, in terms of mortality rate.
  • Infectiousness - Compared to SARS, Coronavirus is highly infectious.

What you can do to protect yourself?

A critical distinction is that unlike flu, there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, which implies it is extra challenging for exposed members of the population - aged people or these with subsisting respiratory or immune problems - to protect themselves. Hand-washing and bypassing other people if you feel unwell are necessary.

Symptoms can develop anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure. Doctors answer the most significant route of passage and are likely to close connection (six feet or less) with sick patients. The chance of spread from asymptomatic people, and of touching surfaces and objects infected with the virus is very lower than droplets spread from infected patients.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to take care of yourself the same way you would protect yourself from getting the flu. Since you know you can get the flu when someone sneezes or coughs on you, or when you touch any doorknob.

Following are the preventive actions you can take to protect yourself:-

  • Stay at home, if you're feeling ill.
  • Avoid contact with the nose, eyes, and mouth.
  • Always use a tissue to cover a cough or sneeze, then dispose of it in the trash.
  • Apply a household wipe or spray to sanitize doorknobs, light switches, cables, keyboards, sinks, furniture and other objects and exteriors that are frequently touched.
  • Clean hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap isn't possible, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Is coronavirus a global emergency?

The WHO said on January 30, this outbreak creates a global health emergency. The conclusion to sound the high-level alert was created after the first cases of human-to-human transmission outside China were confirmed.

The global health warning is a signal to nations around the world to regulate their response below the supervision of the United Nations health agency.

Swine flu in 2009, polio in 2014, Ebola in 2014, Zika in 2016 and Ebola again in 2019 - these are five global health emergencies.

What is being done to prevent it from expanding?

Specialists throughout the globe are rushing to invent a vaccine but have advised that one is questionable to be ready for mass delivery before 2021. Meantime, Chinese officials have completely sealed off Wuhan and put restrictions on flying to and from several different cities, affecting some 60 million people. Many global airlines have canceled flights to China. Some countries have prevented Chinese nationals from entering their regions and many more have relocated their citizens from Wuhan. When so many people are speaking, it can be complicated to decide what you need to pay attention to, and sometimes it is hard to get the information you're being told. We've collected all the facts you should understand about novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As this is a new virus and we are discovering things on it all the time, we will make sure we keep this information updated. The most important thing we want you to know is that you should be informed of and be aware of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but not alarmed. The information in this article will encourage you to be prepared as well. Like so many earlier outbreaks such as SARS, H1-N1 swine FLU, etc., together we can tackle novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

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