The world is in a dire condition with the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. The uncontrollable spread of the disease and the increasing number of cases and deaths have left the Government officials all over the world perturbed. Though many steps have been taken in order to control this pandemic, the results are not yet successful. The world has till now witnessed more than 11 million cases in more than 188 countries andmore than5lakhs deaths. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January, 2020 and a pandemic on 11th March by World Health Organization.
Covid-19 is caused by novel corona virus or SARS- CoV-2. The first case of Covid-19 was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has spread to the other parts of the world.
What is the source of the disease?
The virus is believed to be originated from China with the first confirmed case in Wuhan. The source of the disease is believed to be bats but there are no confirmation of the fact.
How does the virus spread?
Being a contagious disease, the virus easily spreads from one person to another through close contact. The droplets released by the infected person during coughing, sneezing, talkingsettles on any surfaces rather than travelling through air and when touched sticks to the person and can infect him when he touches his face. The active virus decreases over time from the surfaces and gradually becomes weak and can no longer cause infection. The surfaces can be easily decontaminated using household disinfectants. It would kill the virus before it reaches human body. Corona virus canremain active for about 10 minutes in the open air and can be transmitted.
The virus is highly contagious during the first three days of the infections.
Symptoms of the virus
The most common symptom of the virus is high fever. The other common symptoms include:
- Dry cough,
- Shortness of breath,
- Loss of sense of smell,
- Loss of taste,
- Muscle and joint pain,
- Sore throat.
Some of the infected persons may suffer from pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. The other common symptoms are diarrhea, headaches, chills and coughing out of blood. There are many reported cases in which the patients did not show any symptoms but was infected. The virus can be spread from such asymptomatic person.It takes typically around five days for the patients to show symptoms after his exposure to the virus. The incubation period may range from two to fourteen days.
Treatment of the disease
Scientists from all over the world are working hard towards developing a vaccine for the cure of the novel coronavirus diseases. But there is still no known vaccine or any specific treatments for the cure or spread of the disease. The patients are treated using symptomatic and supportive therapy.
Tips to keep yourself safe
With no developed vaccine of the disease, there are few tips which needs to be followed to keep yourself safe.
- Stay at your house. Step out only when the work can not be done at home.
- Do not touch your face, eyes and nose.
- Wash your hands repeatedly for 20 seconds. If you are stepping out of the house make sure that you wash your hands after returning.
- Always wear masks and gloves while going out in public. Once used throw the mask into a covered bin.
- Do not come in close contact with any person.
- If you are suffering from high fever or cold consult your nearby doctors.
- Cover your mouth while coughing.
- When suspected of infections go into self- isolation.
- Disinfecting or bleaching the surfaces to kill the virus.
Washing hands repeatedly is highly recommended as it can prevent you from infection. Wash hands after using toilets, after returning from outside and after sneezing or coughing. The virus settled on your hands after you touch any infected surface can be killed using household soaps. Alcohol based sanitizers are highly recommended.
Following social distancing norms is essential. Governments have introduced methods like quarantine, travel restrictions, closing of workplaces, schools, restaurants, malls etc. Individuals should follow guidelines and stay at home, limit their travelling, avoid going out in crowds or in crowded space and physical distancing themselves from the others. Non- cooperation of such measures have led to the increase in the number of cases.
Steps taken by the authorities
Authorities from all over the world have taken preventive steps for the outbreak of the virus. They implemented lockdowns, travel restrictions, etc. There are many countries which have built new hospitals and testing centers to increase their testing capacity and tracing large number of infected persons. Many medical camps were set up for testing of the locals.
The pandemic has disrupted the global economic and social sector and has cause a global recession. Many sporting, religious, cultural events have been cancelled or postponed after it’s outbreak. Schools, universities, and colleges have been closed Nationwide.
Background of the pandemic
The World Health Organization got reports on 31st December 2019 from Chinese authorities of an outbreak of viral pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei. An investigation was launched in January, 2020. With 7818 confirmed cases globally affecting 19 countries on 30th January, the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Many of the early infected persons were reported to have visited Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market and so the virus was thought to be of zoonotic origin. The earliest known patient did not have any direct connection with the wet market clusterand many such cases followed, so the probability of zoonotic origin was dropped. The probability of bat- to- human infection came into light as many infected person were processing bat carcasses for the production of Chinese medicines.
WHO declared the outbreak as a pandemic on 11th March, 2020 with many countries like Italy, Iran, South Korea, America had surging cases. The total number of infected patients outside China increased tremendously and quickly passed the reported cases in China.
An analysis has indicated that the confirmed Covid-19 cases are relatively in low proportion in individuals under the age of 20. The reason is not yet confirmed. It may be because of the strong immunity among such individuals which makes them less likely to be infected.
Many patients infected from Covid-19 have recovered and are living a normal life. The period between the onset of symptoms and death usually range between 6 to 41 days. Most of the patients who could not recover were aged over 60 or had pre- existing health complications like cardio vascular diseases or diabetes.
Many countries which are badly affected have reported deaths far larger than the average level. Authorities have taken many measures to quantify mortality. The measures taken vary from country to country based on their healthcare system quality, testing volume, treatment options, population, etc.
On 11th March, 2020 WHO announced that the virus can be controlled. The peak of the outbreak of the virus and it’s duration are uncertain and may vary from one geographical location to another.
Many scientists have concluded that physical distance would be required along with other measures till the vaccine is made. Covid-19 is readily transmissible which makes it a possibility of becoming a seasonal disease which would return every year.
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