What coronavirus does to you
WHAT IS IT
Coronavirus is a respiratory disease causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome. It is transmitted between animals and humans but also from human to human and causes fatal epidemics as was the case with SARS and MERS it is now Covid-19. It appeared in China on a local market in the city of Wuhan and would come from an animal origin which would be in this case a bat as in the previous cases, they are not contaminated but only carrying the virus which they will transmit to another animal which will transmit it to man. Here the animal responsible for the transmission is the pangolin, an endangered scaly mammal.
WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG
The first patients were hospitalized on 16 December but the Chinese authorities did not inform WHO until 31 December. Because of the illegal nature of markets such as the one in Wuhan where fresh animal flesh is sold such as rat, fox, snake, camel etc... Market which was closed by the authorities on 1 January. The first recorded cases in the world all had the same thing in common, having gone to the Wuhan market. Each sick person will infect between 2 to 3 new people, it seems that the rate of spread is increased compared to the first versions of the virus, however the good news is that it also seems that this virus is less virulent than the previous ones.
Fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but some infected individuals have remained symptom free - it is possible to have gastrointestinal symptoms as well.
It is currently based on the existence of signs of acute respiratory infection in a person exposed to the virus during the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. A specific diagnostic test has been developed to detect the new virus in respiratory specimens and is now available in many hospitals.
In severe cases this can lead to respiratory failure requiring ventilatory assistance and placement in an intensive care unit.
Some have also reported organ failure, kidney failure or septic shock.
People with a weakened immune system also have more serious consequences, for example the elderly, but also people with chronic illnesses, it seems that men are more exposed. The mortality rate is about 2.3%.
The virus is therefore transmitted from animal to human and from human to human, transmission between humans is done by sputtering when coughing or sneezing. Close and prolonged contact is therefore required to transmit it about less than 1 meter from the unprotected patient. Objects such as letters and cardboard boxes do not allow the virus to survive for a sufficient period of time.
There is currently no specific vaccine or treatment, treatment depends on the patient's condition and symptoms. Pneumonia vaccines or the Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine do not protect against coronavirus. A vaccine specific to Hib needs to be developed and researchers are working on its development, and it is not expected to be available until the fall of 2021.
Drugs that have been proven to treat other diseases are currently being tested against the coronavirus. Treatment for malaria could be a potential solution, according to Chinese researchers, but tests and clinical trials have yet to be carried out. For a specific drug, research is ongoing, but like the vaccine, it will take a long time to create.
There are an estimated 89,196 cases and more than 3,048 deaths, mostly in China, with tens of millions of people still in quarantine isolation. However, other regions of the world such as Italy, France and Germany are seeing a significant increase in the number of people affected. In total, more than 40 countries are now affected by the epidemic, including 705 cases on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.
Apart from China, Italy is beginning to quarantine cities as the number of people affected is 1694 cases and about 34 deaths. It would appear that the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded the number of new cases in China according to the WHO, so the virus appears to have slowed down in China. This outbreak has been listed by the WHO as an international public health emergency calling for preparedness for a possible pandemic.
A specific welcome for travellers for flights from China for those who stay as several airlines have suspended flights to these destinations have been set up at the airports. Some countries even take the temperature of all passengers as they leave the planes, which is not very efficient or representative.
All trips and journeys are advised to be postponed to China and the regions of Lombardy and Veneto in Italy, South Korea, Iran and Singapore.
Faced with this, schools all over the world remind their students on internships or university exchanges to return home to undergo a period of confinement to their homes for 2 weeks.
The viability of the virus on inert surfaces is not very important however it can still survive for 1 to 2 hours so it is necessary to wash your hands regularly especially when using public transport.
IS THERE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT?
If you are not prone to health problems such as chronic illnesses, you are not a senior citizen and you respect the safety and hygiene advice concerning epidemics, there is nothing to worry about.
Many people have already been cured and it seems that most victims are elderly people or those with a significant immune deficiency. If your loved ones are in this category we advise you to pay attention to them. Wash your hands whenever you can as often as possible and do not stay close to people who are coughing.
If you want to discuss the different emergency situations around the world while learning languages you can go to our Studenz website in the section language exchange.
Written by: Lisa Lambert, Staff Writer
- Health & Nutrition
- 2 Mar, 2020
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