Coronavirus is not a particular kind of virus. According to WHO, Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Previously an epidemic of similar coronavirus SARS took place in 2002-2003 which affected 26 countries. MERS is another similar Corona Virus which spread in the Middle East during 2012-13.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered on 31st December 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. This has been named “Novel Coronavirus”. The literal meaning of ‘Novel’ is ‘New’, that means it’s brand new, so new that it actually doesn’t have a name.
The original source of most of the Corona Viruses is mostly some animal that affects a human and then later through human to human contact. In Case of SARS coronavirus, the original source was likely a bat, that spread to other animals (civet cats).
Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV was transmitted from dromedary camels to humans.
The Exact source of this Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet to be identified but according to some scientists, it can be a bat or a snake. Bats are more likely to be the source because there are 96% similarities in the new Coronavirus as compared to the bat Coronavirus.
Wuhan, one of the central cities of China is the origin of the outbreak of the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, or coronavirus, which has now spread throughout the world. The outbreak of disease started from seafood marked in Wuhan, which also sells flesh of wild animals such as Pangolin, Monkeys, Bats and many many more. So, in the beginning, all the cases had come out of Wuhan. Initially, some of the infected people were also found in places like Thailand and Japan but they haven’t picked it up there, they actually got it in Wuhan and then they traveled.
Symptoms for most of the coronavirus are very similar to each other. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms such as headache, fever, cough, chills, Sore throat, Shortness of breath and, Breathing difficulties.
Thus it can very easily be mistaken for seasonal flu. This, unfortunately, makes it very difficult to recognize when you have the normal flu and when you have affected by the New coronavirus.
In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. In this ongoing crisis, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor and get a laboratory test done to recognize whether it is a normal flu or New Coronavirus.
The Incubation period of this Novel Coronavirus is maximum up to 14 days, which means if you’re infected, it might take a maximum of 14 days for the symptoms to show up.
How dangerous is this virus actually? How fatal is it for you?
In order to know this, we would have to look at some facts and figures (As of 27th March 2020):
- Total number of confirmed cases of infected peoples: 465,915
- Total Deaths: 21,031
- Total number of people recovered: Around 100,000
- Total number of Countries or territories affected: 199
- Mortality Rate of coronavirus: 4.5%
It means 45 people out of 1000 infected peoples died due to Novel coronavirus.
(Mortality Rate (aka Death Rate or Fatality rate) is the ratio of the total number of death and the total number of infected people that is expressed in percentage)
This also means that if you are infected by this Coronavirus you have around 96% chance of getting recovered eventually and only around 4.5% chance of being killed.
In Fact, the studies have proved that most of the people that died due to the Novel Coronavirus are usually over 40 years of age. These older people already had a weak immune system due to some other reasons. They may have heart diseases or cancer already and so they’re vulnerable. Basically their immune system was not very robust and it was very hard for them to fight off the virus.
We only know about more severe cases, which is where people have gone on to develop viral pneumonia and those people obviously end up in the hospital and all the deaths have been amongst those people.
The mortality rate for kids and adults are even low and they are safer compared to older peoples.
An interesting thing about a virus is that the virus that spreads easier and is more contagious generally has a low mortality rate.
- MORE CONTAGIOUS = LOW MORTALITY RATE
- MORE MORTALITY RATE = LESS CONTAGIOUS
The mortality rate of Ebola: 70% which means if you’re in contact with the Ebola virus, then there is a 70% chance that you are going to die which is very scary. But Ebola was not contagious, only 3,000 confirmed cases were reported.
Flu is a super contagious virus. Flu, common cold, chickenpox, etc spread very easily but mortality rate is very low. The number of deaths from the common flu, common cold, etc is very less few. It is because the Fatality rate of flu is 0.01% but the present rate fatality rate of coronavirus is 4%. So it should be understood with full concern that the Novel Coronavirus is much more deadlier than the seasonal flu.
Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Mortality Rate of coronavirus: 4.5%
Number of confirmed cases: 465,915
Total number of Countries or territories affected: 199
Total Deaths: 21,031
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Mortality Rate of SARS: 10%
Number of confirmed cases of SARS: 8,098
Number of countries affected: 26
Total deaths: 774
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
Mortality Rate of MERS: 34%
Number of confirmed cases of MERS: 2,494
Number of countries affected: 27
Total deaths: 858
Thus it can be observed that coronavirus is not as deadly as Ebola, SARS, and MERS as its mortality rate is relatively very low compared to these. But the other fact is it is way more contagious than those. Within 2 months of its outbreak, it has consumed more than 190 countries globally infecting more than 4.6 lakh people and the numbers are still increasing. And even this small Mortality Rate of 4.5% counts to thousands of deaths in such a large number of infected victims.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. Some of the coronaviruses have the capability of transmitting between animals and humans which is called “Spillover event“.
This Naval coronavirus is actually transmitted from one person to another. You will be at higher risk of getting infected if you have travelled to places like China, Italy or any other destination where more coronavirus cases have been found. Or if you have made contact with the person who had recently visited these places. The new coronavirus spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
Droplets of Covid-19 can travel up to a few feet. So, if you are within 3 to 6 feet of an infected person, you are at risk of getting the virus. Covid-19 is more difficult to catch as compared to Measles or Chickenpox since their viral droplets can travel up to 100 feet. But it is easier to catch as compared to HIV and Hepatitis.
To Understand the relative contagiousness of coronavirus, first, we have to understand the meaning of R0. R0 indicates how contagious an infectious disease is. It’s also referred to as the Reproduction number. R0 of coronavirus means the average number of people who will catch a disease from one contagious person. Or in other words, if you are the infected person, what is the number of people to whom you would spread your infection.
The exact R0 of coronavirus is not calculated yet but it is expected to be 2.0-2.5
Here you can compare the Deadliness and reproduction number of most common viruses
There actually isn’t any vaccine or treatment available at the moment at all because this is a virus and antibiotics won’t work that they only work against bacteria, not viruses. Even the doctors are using flu drugs as antiviral treatment. We’ve got a couple of these will work on this. The only thing which helps in recovering from this disease is our own immune system. Ultimate goal of doctors is to help the patients in improving their immune system which will eventually help him to recover. Covid-19 patients are asked by doctors to rest, are given medicines to reduce pain, and are administered fluids to prevent dehydration.
Coronavirus is different from flu virus so there are no vaccines or treatments at the moment. It is expected that a vaccine for this Novel coronavirus could take up to 12 months for development. Till then, it highly recommended to follow the precaution guidelines issued by WHO.
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Take care of your health and protect yourself and others from getting sick by following these measures suggested by WHO.
The demand for handwash and sanitizers is very high due to the fear of coronavirus. And their supply is not enough for everyone. Here’s an alternative way of making hand sanitizers at home. Mix Doctor’s Spirit with an equal amount of freshwater and now it can be used as hand sanitizer alternative.
WHO guidelines clearly said that normal surgical masks cannot protect against the new Coronavirus when used without other protective measures. And persons Infected with coronavirus should wear N-95 face masks in order to avoid spreading the virus to others. And the persons taking care of a corona patient should also wear this mask.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend healthy people to wear a face mask to protect themselves coronavirus (COVID-19). A surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable device. It only creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. And it does not offer you complete protection. While an N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device that is designed to achieve a very close facial fit. And it is very efficient in the filtration of airborne particles, that’s why it is worn by persons who have been already infected with the virus.
WHO guidelines for Proper use and Disposal of mask:
However, if you still chose to wear a mask, you must know how to use and dispose it properly. Here are the instructions given by WHO regarding face masks.
Information about the virus and methods to protect yourself from it is available everywhere. Knowing the facts is key to being properly prepared and protecting yourself and your loved ones. Sadly, there’s a lot of information out there that is incorrect. Incorrect information during an ongoing health crisis such as corona leaves people unprotected and vulnerable to the disease and spreads fear and stigmatization. UNICEF and WHO continue to provide the latest updates, explainers for parents and teachers, and resources for media as new information becomes available, so it is advisable to stay informed of the best ways to protect yourself and your family and visit their site regularly and follow the guidelines prescribed by them.
You can help us fight misinformation about COVID-19. Share this article with your family, friends, and colleagues to help ensure people have correct facts about COVID-19 and can protect the health of their loved ones. We’ll meet you very soon in another informative blog about Coronavirus. Till then stay safe and keep visiting yognut!