Nowadays, a new virus called the Coronavirus or COVID-19 is making headlines throughout the world. It has spread to almost 199 countries and territories in the world since it first emerged in China in December 2019. Till now, it has infected more than 850,000 people and killed more than 45,000. After an instant spike in COVID-19 cases, many countries including Italy, USA, and India has applied strict restrictions on inbound travel.
The outbreak began in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and quickly spread internationally. World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic in March 2020. Soon after that, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and various Public health groups around the globe monitor the spread of this new virus. Moreover, they are informing people about its symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.
COVID-19 is a large family of viruses that causes respiratory illness in people and animals. This is very common however the current virus is a new strain that was not identified before. People infected with this virus will experience mild to severe respiratory illness such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Older people with medical problems are more likely to develop a critical illness.
Besides, it is closely related to two previously identified viruses: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). SARS is a contagious and fatal respiratory illness that quickly spread around the world in 2003. It infected around 8,000 people and killed almost 800. On the other hand, MERS first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, there are around 2500 cases and nearly 900 deaths.
There is a lot of speculation about the origin of the COVID-19. The first person to get coronavirus was a 55-year-old individual from Hubei province in China. He was a seller in a wet market in Wuhan where people sell both dead and live animals. According to the Chinese media, the coronavirus start date might be around November 17, 2019.
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Since live animals are butchered on-site, maintaining hygiene standards is quite difficult at such wet markets. Hence, there is always a high risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans. Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, Wuhan, Hubei, China was shut down from January 1, 2020, after it was identified as a point of origin of COVID-19.
Scientists have suspected that this virus is originated in a bat and somehow moved to another animal, might be a pangolin, which then passed it on to humans. Bats are host to a wide range of zoonotic viruses including Ebola, HIV, and rabies. Hence, there is a high chance that COVID-19 was originated from the same. Many scientists and doctors are trying to trace back the earliest cases, to identify the animal host where the virus lurks.
The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Dry Cough
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms occur 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for Coronavirus COVID-19 currently. But don’t panic, as, with good hygiene habits, you can easily prevent the virus. Follow these simple rules to prevent the virus from spreading:
- Stay at home and avoid going to events.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
The government develops a new Coronavirus tracker app, especially for Android and Apple users. This Corona Kavach app allows users to self-report symptoms using a questionnaire. It consists of six questions where you can answer either yes or no. Some of these questions, “Are you facing any difficulty in breathing?”, “how much is your body temperature?”
As soon as you complete the questions, it will reflect on the COVID-19 map. Since the data is dependent on the location, it is completely accurate. This way you can easily avoid areas that have the most infected people. Most important, it does not disclose the name or any personal details of the user.
Aarogya Setu (Android)
COVID-19 Tracker (Apple)