What is Coronavirus (Covid-19)?
Coronavirus (CoV) is a large group of viruses that are found in mammals and birds and can be transmitted to humans as well. It is a zoonotic virus i.e, it first develops in animals and then transfers to humans.
Coronaviruses are divided into four main sub-groups; alpha, beta, gamma and delta.
Doctors have discovered 7 types of coronaviruses that infect humans. People commonly get affected by these coronaviruses:
- HCoV-229E (Alpha virus)
- HCoV-NL63 (Alpha virus)
- HCoV-OC43 (Beta virus)
- HCoV-HKU1 (Beta virus)
Other three severe coronaviruses are:
- MERS-CoV (Beta Virus; causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS)
- SARS-CoV (Beta Virus; causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS)
- SARS-CoV-2 (the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19)
What is Novel Coronavirus?
Novel Coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2, is a virus that is spreading fast throughout the world. This virus causes a disease called Covid-19 which infects the respiratory tract.
Since Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, therefore, our lungs are generally affected first, but in severe cases, other parts of the body can also be affected.
An ideal temperature at which SARS-CoV-2 spreads easily is 48°F (8.89°C).
In severe cases Covid-19 can cause
- SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
- Kidney failure and even death.
Myths about Corona virus
We can find numerous myths about coronavirus on social media. Some are discussed below:
- It is man-made
There is no evidence that the virus has developed in a laboratory. What we know is that this virus can be transmitted from animals to humans.
- It does not survive in hot climate
SARS-Cov-2 can be found in ALL AREAS, it doesn’t follow weather patterns.
- Holding your breath for more than 10secs, without cough, will reveal that you are not infected by SARS-CoV-2
This is wrong as most young patients can hold their breath for more than 10secs and most elderly cannot hold their breath for 10sec without Covid-19.
- Mosquito bite can be a source of transmission
There is no information yet, whether or not the Covid-19 can be transmitted through a mosquito bite. But it is believed that the infection is transmitted by droplets and not blood.
- Blood bank will check whether we have Covid-19 or not, if we donate blood.
This attempt could fail as no blood bank is testing for Covid-19.
- Spraying alcohol and chlorine on your body can kill coronavirus
It is useless to spray alcohol or chlorine on your body once the virus has entered your body. They can be used to disinfect surfaces but can be harmful as well, so one must use it under proper recommendations.
- Vaccines against pneumonia protects you from coronavirus
Vaccines against pneumonia cannot prevent coronavirus as it is a new virus and needs its own vaccine.
- Coronavirus affects people above 65 years
SARS-CoV-2 can affect people of ANY AGE.
- Virus cannot enter face mask
Standard Surgical masks are not designed to stop the viral particles, so they can’t save you from getting coronavirus. However, it can prevent droplets of an infected person from coming out.
- Getting Coronavirus means death
Coronavirus can cause death but in severe conditions. 80% cases of Covid-19 are mild and can be cured.
- Pets can spread Covid-19
There is no information whether the pets can transfer Covid-19, while humans can transfer the virus to their pets. Therefore, it is better if someone else takes care of the pet of the infected person.
- It’s not safe to get anything from China
According to some researches, this virus does not stay long on other surfaces. Still, to reduce the chances of being affected by Covid-19, wash your hands after receiving the package.
How serious is COVID-19?
|Seriousness of disease||Percentage of people infected|
|Mild disease||More than 80%|
|Severe disease||Around 14%|
|Critical disease||About 5%|
|Fatal disease (death causing)||2%|
How was Coronavirus Originated?
It is believed that Coronavirus originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China, where both live and dead animals are sold. As it is difficult to maintain hygiene standards in such markets, because of live animals and having them butchered there, transmission of viruses from animals to humans become easy.
The actual source of this virus has not yet been identified completely, but it is believed that it has come from bats, as bats contain many zoonotic viruses. Bats were not sold at the market but it is assumed that they might have infected other animals sold at the market.
How is Coronavirus transmitted?
Covid-19 is a devastating disease spreading rapidly throughout the world. The virus SARS-Cov-2 is transmitted from person to person via droplets, when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales.
These droplets may get on the hands of the infected person and spread whenever he touches something else, or they may fall on other surfaces near the infected person and picked up on the hands of others when touched and spread further.
Germs on the surfaces can live for hours or days, depending on the nature of the surface.
WHO suggests that catching coronavirus from the person showing no symptoms is rare, however, few cases have been suspected that show no symptoms yet still transmitted the virus.
How many people are infected so far?
Coronavirus has spread to 143 countries up till now. According to WHO, 173,344 people are affected globally by Coronavirus out of which 7,019 died.
No. of confirmed cases: 81116
No. of deaths: 3231
OUTSIDE OF CHINA:
No. of confirmed cases: 92228
No. of deaths: 3788
No. of confirmed cases: 760
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
Like common flu, Covid-19 has similar symptoms. Here are day to day symptoms of COVID-19:
- Day 1-3:
- Mild throat pain or no throat pain
- Diarrhea or Nausea (in people with weakest immunity)
People will be able to eat and drink normally.
- Day 4:
- Increased throat pain
- Sore voice
- Body Temperature around 36.5°C
- Disturbance while eating or drinking
- Mild headache
- Mild diarrhea
- Day 5:
- Intense throat pain
- Pain while eating or drinking
- Increased soreness of voice
- Feeling pain on movement and in joints
- Day 6:
- Mild fever upto 37°C
- Dry cough with painful throat
- Throat pain while eating, swallowing or talking
- Severe nausea
- Feeling exhausted
- Sometimes breathing becomes difficult
- Joint pain extend to fingers
- Increased vomiting and diarrhea
- Day 7:
- Fever upto 38°C
- Excessive coughing with sputum
- Extreme headache, diarrhea and vomiting
- Day 8:
- Severe breathing difficulty
- Heavy chest
- Coughing, headache and joint pains increases more
- Fever above 38°C
- Day 9:
All the symptoms get worsen.
Emergency warning signs of COVID-19 are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest Pain
- Blush Lips or face
How does Novel Coronavirus affect lungs?
Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, so chances of getting our lungs affected are very high. Condition with severe Covid-19 is called ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) which causes severe damage to the lungs where fluid leaks from small blood vessels into lungs. The fluid is collected in the lungs’ sacs or alveoli. Lungs then couldn’t transfer oxygen from the air to the blood easily.
Covid-19 is not the only reason for ARDS, there could be other reasons as well.
To provide more oxygen into the blood, supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation is used for the treatment of ARDS.
Who gets affected by Coronavirus easily?
SARS-CoV-2 can affect everyone from infants to elders, still following people are at a higher risk of getting infected:
- People above age 65
- People with underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic lung or heart disease)
- Medical staff
- People who recently travelled places where COVID-19 has spread.
- People with weakest immune system
- People who go out may become the cause of spread in their family
How can you distinguish between Covid-19 and influenza (flu)?
You can experience noticeable shortness of breath in Covid-19, while this does not happen in flu.
Prevention from Coronavirus:
- Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands thoroughly with hand soap for 20 seconds.
- Clean your hands with sanitizer
Clean your hands with sanitizer, having at least 60% alcohol in it, when water is not available.
- Cover your mouth
Cover your mouth with a flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue in the dustbin after using.
- Avoid crowded places
It’s good to stay at home and avoid crowded places such as supermarkets, theatres, parties etc.
- Maintain a distance of 1m
Maintain a distance of 1m from a person who’s sneezing or coughing, so you’ll be safe from getting the droplets.
- Drink lots of water
Drink a sip or two of water after every 10-15mins. Doing this will protect you from getting ill, in case the virus enters your mouth.
- Avoid touching your face
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with people who have cold like symptoms.
- Stay at home
If Covid-19 is spreading in your community, it’s better to stay at home as much as possible.
- Thorough cooking
Cook meat and eggs thoroughly.
- Use Disinfectants
Clean the things and surfaces frequently that you use again and again, like phones, utensils, doorknobs, etc, using a disinfectant.
- Eat Bananas
According to a research by scientists from University of Queensland in Australia, banana has been proven as a source of prevention from coronavirus as it improves your immune system because they are rich in B-6.
Test for Coronavirus
Test which is done to diagnose Coronavirus is PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction).
Treatment for Novel Coronavirus:
Since Covid-19 is a new disease, yet no specific vaccine has been developed. Throughout the world, vaccines and treatments are being investigated.
It is a viral disease, therefore no antibiotic is effective.
People suffering from severe Covid-19 are given these treatments:
- Fluids to reduce dehydration
- Medicines to treat fever
- Supplemental oxygen (in severe cases is given)
- Blood plasma transfusion
- Antiviral medicines
- Steroids to lessen lung swelling
- Mechanical ventilation
It is an experimental broad-spectrum antiviral drug that is effective in treating Covid-19.
It is commonly used to treat malaria or autoimmune diseases, however, it has been found effective to fight with SARS-CoV-2 studies done in test tubes.
LOPINAVIR AND RITONAVIR:
These two drugs are called Kaletra and treat HIV. According to WHO, these two can be mixed with other drugs to treat Covid-19.
APNO1 was developed in 2002 to treat SARS. It is being investigated if it can also work to treat Covid-19. Larger clinical trials will be done if we get positive results.
This antiviral drug was designed to treat inflammation in the nose and throat, however, China has approved it effective in treating Covid-19.
Remedies for Coronavirus:
- Drink lots of water
- Gargle with warm water having salt in it
- Inhale steam from chamomile tea
- Drink warm fluids (such as tea)
- Eat bananas
You can use these if you have sore throat or fever:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Aspirin (not for children if they have fever)
How to prepare yourself for Coronavirus?
Buy cleaning products:
Cleaning your hands frequently is the best prevention from the Novel Coronavirus. For this, you must have a good amount of soap and sanitizers at your home.
Germs can stay for days on surfaces, so you must have bleach and ethanol-based disinfectants to clean surfaces that you mostly use in your home.
Stock generally used items:
People are buying masks so there could be a possibility of shortage of masks in the market. Although, they can’t stop germs from entering your body but prevent droplets from getting out of the mask.
In case you get infected by SARS-CoV-2, you must have masks ready, so the disease won’t spread further.
Buy frozen items and medicines because of the lockdowns in the country.
The most important thing is to stay up to date about what is happening in your community. In case it starts spreading in your community you must take precautionary measures.
What should you do if you are affected by Corona virus?
- Determine how sick you are
First thing you must do is to see how sick you are; what possible symptoms you could see.
- Go to see a doctor
If you find major symptoms of Covid-19, call your doctor and discuss those symptoms with him, if he recommends you an emergency checkup, go for it.
Go for testing only if your doctor recommends, since there are a lot more patients of Covid-19, testing requires a longer process. You must not waste the time of others suffering from severe illness.
- Isolate yourself
If you have mild Covid-19, stay healthy at your home. Wear a mask to avoid further spreading of the virus and drink lots of water. Medicines (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) will help to reduce fever and pain.
If your symptoms worsen, call upon your doctor.
Corona virus is a contagious global outbreak but it is not as bad as everyone is making it to be. Corona virus is a new disease and we don’t know which way the outbreak would go, you still don’t need to panic till you are following all the precautionary measures.
A Psychology student from Jinnah University. She brings her knowledge of Human Psychology and Mental Health issues to help people cope-up with their psychological problems. She addresses important topics on mental health, child upbringing, and a healthy lifestyle with her articles.