When half of the world is ailing from the major outbreak of coronavirus - now a world pandemic, it is extremely important to understand what is a coronavirus and what are the associated symptoms of this deadly virus. Currently, we know it causes pneumonia and the human body doesn’t respond to the antibiotic treatment. We also know it shows close resemblance to the SARS virus family but in terms of mortality, SARS kills 10% of the infected individuals, as said by a virologist at the School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong. The novel Coronavirus strain(nCOV) is found in the Coronavirus family, when we say novel it means this strain has not been identified on humans previously hence complicating the entire diagnosis and treatment process.
So, we really need to know and understand What is Coronavirus?
The name Coronavirus comes from the Latin language where "corona" means crown or halo. When looked under an electron microscope, this virus looks like a solar corona. According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness like common cold which then turns into more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS). The known strains of coronaviruses have been seen infecting animals and not humans yet. The novel coronavirus as identified by Chinese scientists on January 7 is a new strain that had not been identified to infect humans previously. This new strain is named COVID-19 and this virus confirms its transmission from human-to-human.
What are the symptoms?
Shortness of breath
Difficulty in breathing
In more severe cases it can lead to multiple organ failure and even death. The onset of symptoms ranges from one to 14 days as per the latest observations. There are chances that the infected patient may not show these symptoms at all and yet have the virus in their systems. However, the severity differs from patient to patient with few patients reporting diarrhea, nausea and muscle pain.
How deadly is the virus?
The recorded deaths with now reaching a number of 2666, the fatalities associated with nCOV has surpassed the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak which also originated in China.
Countries Reporting the Cases
Most cases and death have been reported in the epicenter of this virus, i.e., in mainland China with the Hubei province being majorly affected. Deaths have also been confirmed in South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, France, Taiwan, Italy, and Iran. The virus has started to spread in many countries in the APAC region as well as in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa. The majority of cases have been reported among people who recently traveled to China however there have been cases where no apparent link could be established to China.
Yellow depicts: Other Infected Countries
Red depicts: China
Measures being taken
Scientists all around the world are constantly stepping up to develop a vaccine but warnings have been issues allowing. mass distribution and consumption of the vaccine only by and before 2021. Other measures such as sealing off Wuhan and effectively restricting travel to and from other cities, canceling flights to China are rounding up. Several countries along with India have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan.
Necessary precautionary measures and safety tips according to the WHO
Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
Avoid unprotected contact with live animals
WHO has declared the Coronavirus Outbreak as a Global Health Emergency on January 30. The top-level alarm was made after the first confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission outside China were confirmed.