As one of the most rapidly-spreading diseases ever encountered, COVID-19 is now responsible for 75,760 infections and 2,129 deaths. The disease which originated from Wuhan province, China, is no respecter of borders or seas. Within 3 months, it has crossed continental lines to regions as far as North America and Africa, proving to be a true pandemic. The virus is so infective that the numbers of infected people are said to double every 7 days.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2019-20 CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
The recent outbreak is caused by the SARS-CoV-2, a virus that is suspected to originate in animals but also has been associated with human-to-human transmission via respiratory droplets spread within a range of 6 feet. It is suspected to also be infectious during the incubation period (2-14 days) before symptoms develop. The virus is also able to survive on inanimate surfaces for up to 9 days. The first infection ever detected was in Wuhan, China in early December 2019. The disease has since spread to all other provinces of China and almost 30 other countries including Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, USA, UK, Canada, Italy, India, Spain, Iran, Nepal, etc. On January 30, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the infection a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Risk factors for contracting the infection include travel to Wuhan, contact with person(s) who have traveled to Wuhan or been in direct contact with someone who has. Although some infected people remain asymptomatic, some symptoms to watch out for include sneezing, sore throat, fatigue, catarrh, cough, fever, shortness of breath and diarrhea. In severe cases, infected persons can develop pneumonia, organ failure and this may lead to death. Cases are seen to be more severe in children and elderly people.
Presently, there is no declared treatment or vaccination for the disease. Institutes across the world are working on different vaccines while some drugs including Chloroquine and Remdesivir are being tested for efficacy against the virus.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT GETTING INFECTED
The following measures are advocated for preventing the disease:
- Regular handwashing
- Regular use of hand sanitizers
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Wash hands before touching other body parts
- Used tissue paper when sneezing and discard properly after use
- Clean and disinfect objects around you
- Stay at home if sick.