This 2020 greeted us with a bit worrying news: in one of the most populous cities in China, a disease caused by a virus with high possibilities of contagion had appeared. The little amount of information we had was that it was related to the family of viruses called coronavirus. They are derived from animals and can cause conditions ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases.
The World Health Organization has given the name "COVID-19" to the disease (declared as pandemic) that was caused by this new type of coronavirus and, although health authorities have been in charge of expanding a lot of data about it, many of us still have some doubts.
For that reason, in order to help you better understand what this is all about, we bring you this article. In it, you will find everything we know about COVID-19 and what you can do to stop it. Pay attention!
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What are coronaviruses?
Before delving further into the definition of the disease, it is prudent that we understand one of the most commonly used terms concerning it; coronavirus. The word "coronavirus" does not refer directly to the disease. Coronaviruses encompass a broad group of viruses that can spread by zoonotic transmission, that is, from animals to people, and cause respiratory problems as mild as a common cold or as severe as pneumonia. Actually, it is not very common for a person to get an animal virus of this type, but we can highlight some occasions when an event like this was world news. One of them is the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS (also known as Asian pneumonia) that emerged in 2002, or the Middle East respiratory syndrome (SROM) that appeared in 2012.
The virus that has been spread this year is named SARS-CoV-2 and is a strain of coronavirus that has not been found in humans before. It can cause mild or serious respiratory problems and is responsible for COVID-19 disease.
COVID-19: How did this disease originate?
All scientific studies indicate that this disease was detected for the first time in China, specifically in an exotic animal market in Wuhan, a city located in the province of Hubei that has 11 million inhabitants.
The virus was released during the first months of this year, but the first case was detected in November 2019. Due to the number of people living in the territory and the fact that no one had identified the outbreak, the cases began to multiply. At first, it seemed to be happening slowly, but once they were properly noticed, the numbers of the infected people grew at high speed.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough.
- Feeling of shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
However, there are also other symptoms that appear gradually and according to the severity of the disease. They are:
- Muscle pains
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
Besides, it can happen that this virus affects vulnerable people, that is, with previous health conditions or a depressed immune system, older adults, people with underlying medical conditions. In these cases, other symptoms may occur, including:
- Respiratory failure.
- Bilateral pneumonia.
- Acute respiratory infections.
How deadly is COVID-19?
Symptoms are mild in 80% of cases. However, it can generate slightly more complicated symptoms that lead the patient to a fatal outcome. At the beginning of the pandemic, the WHO indicated that its mortality rate was 2%, but it is difficult to calculate this accurately. In countries like Italy and Spain, the number is considerably higher, being 8% and 4% respectively.
How is it spread?
- Person-to-person spread:
This is the primary means of spreading the virus. A person can infect others through:
- Close contact, specifically less than a meter away.
- Respiratory droplets when coughing or sneezing near someone. These drops can enter people's mouth or nose and enter their body.
- Propagation through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects:
It could be possible for a person to get this disease by touching an infected surface or object (that has the virus) and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
When and how does the infection occur?
One of the most worrying factors regarding this type of coronavirus is that it turns out to be highly contagious. It has an incubation period of 14 days with an asymptomatic cover in which it can also be spread.
What can we do to stop this coronavirus?
Stopping the spread of this coronavirus is something that world authorities, international governments, and the general population have worked hard on. And, based on this, they disseminated the following preventive measures:
- Avoid exposure to the virus. This is the best way to prevent infection. Do not leave the house unless it is strictly necessary.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Always use soap and water, especially after being in a public place or having contact with other people, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If you don't have enough soap and water, use hand sanitizers that contain 60% alcohol or more. To do this, you must cover all your hands and rub them until you feel that the skin has absorbed all the content or has completely dried.
- Avoid touching your face, particularly the areas of the nose, mouth, and eyes.
- If there are already cases of COVID-19 in your community, keep a distance of at least one (1) meter from other people.
- Avoid close contact with people who seem sick or whose health status you do not know.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Wear face masks if you are sick or if you have to deal with someone who has any of the symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Remember, this may include using plastic plates, bowls, and cups over real dishes. Click this linkfor Oasis Creations' website.
Prevention is the key to prevent COVID-19 from continuing to infect more people in the world (including you). You just have to comply with hygiene habits and follow the recommendations of health personnel to protect you and your family.