The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency over a new coronavirus that claimed more than 3,300 lives worldwide. The world is under attack after an outbreak took place in Wuhan, a central city in China.
More than 98,000 cases of coronavirus were reported worldwide where most of them were found in mainland China.
Sadly, these numbers are likely to increase in the coming days. The Coronavirus now being called Covid-19 is spreading like a wildfire. Even the people who are infected could possibly spread infection before even knowing that they are sick. This is why it’s important to get reliable information about what is happening and what you can do to protect yourself.
Here’s what you should know about coronavirus:
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a newly detected family of viruses that had not been previously found in humans. The symptoms are identical to various diseases from the common cold to quite extreme diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Originally these viruses were transmitted between animals and humans. For example, SARS was spread from the civet cats to mankind as MERS passed from a kind of camels to humans.
The name coronavirus derives from a Latin word corona which represents crown or halo. When tested under a microscope, the virus appeared like a solar corona, hence the name Coronavirus was given to this deadly virus. Several other forms of known viruses of corona family are circulating among animals that have not infected humans yet.
What are the Common Symptoms of Coronavirus?
According to WHO, the common symptoms of coronavirus infections include fever, respiratory symptoms, cough, breathing difficulties. In severe cases of infection, the virus can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, severe respiratory syndrome and even death.
The current duration of the incubation period of coronavirus ranges from 1 to 14 days. In most cases, people show signs within 4 to 6 days. However, infected people can sometimes also be asymptomatic. In this case, the virus usually does not show any signs while living inside the human system.
Normal guidelines for preventing the spread of infection involve nose and mouth covering while sneezing and coughing, regular hand washing, thorough cooking of meat and eggs. Avoid handshakes and close contact with anyone showing signs of respiratory diseases such as sneezing and coughing.
How Deadly Coronavirus is?
The coronavirus has claimed more than 3,300 lives till now. The number of deaths has surpassed the 2002-03 SARS outbreak, originally took place in China. About 9 per cent of those infected worldwide, nearly 800 people were killed by SARS wherein more than 300 people lost their lives in China alone. MERS, which didn't spread as widely, was more dangerous, killing one-third of everybody who had been infected.
As stated by WHO, the mortality rate in new coronavirus remains considerably lower than SARS at 2 per cent approx, which in fact is more widespread in China than SARS in terms of infected people.
How Many Countries are Affected by Coronavirus?
Most of the coronavirus cases and death were reported in China. The widespread reach to many countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, France, South Korea, Iran, Italy along with many countries in Europe, the Middle East, America and Africa. However, the majority of infected people outside China are among those who recently travelled or resided in the country.
Coronavirus: Measures to Cure it,
Scientists all over the world are working 24x7 to produce a vaccine but have cautioned that the same is expected to be ready before 2021 for mass distribution. In the meantime, Chinese authorities have completely sealed off Wuhan and restricted travels to and from many other cities in China, affecting around 60 million individuals.
Many international airlines had flights to China cancelled. Many countries have prohibited the entry of Chinese nationals into their territories, and several others have evacuated their people from Wuhan.
Where did the Coronavirus Originate?
Chinese health officials are still attempting to determine the source of the virus, which they believe has probably come from a fish market in Wuhan, China where animals were also unlawfully traded.
On February 7, China indicated that the virus might have spread from an infected species of animals to humans via illegally trafficked pangolins, that are also highly prized for food and medical practices in Asia. As pointed out by the scientists, bats or snakes could be the source of the virus.
Misinformation About Coronavirus
Just as the number of affected people is increasing day by day, misinformation about coronavirus is also spreading. A few unfounded claims and conspiracy theories are rampant around the world. Various social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok are experiencing several misleading and false claims about Covid-19, such as:
Facebook and other social media platforms are trying to keep a check over such hoaxes and taking steps to contain them, but despite huge efforts, it’s impossible to contain every misleading statement made on the social media.
Authentic Online Sources for Information on Coronavirus
Though there is no perfect source of information, while others are undeniably better than others! Look for information regarding coronavirus on sites that:
Although gathering information online might be your initial option. If you have signs of an infection, like fever, cough or shortness of breath, consult with your doctor.
The Bottom Line is
It’s important to look for a reliable source of information to prevent yourself from a disease that has no cure yet. Be wary of implausible conspiracy theories or "fake news" which dismiss public health officials' recommendations. Addressing the issues surrounding 2019-nCoV needs knowledge that is accessible, accurate and regularly updated; the best we can try and look up to the experts whose job is to maintain public health.