Coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that is spreading from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) and it was first identified in Wuhan China in December 2019. WHO has declared it a pandemic on 11Mar20.
As per WHO Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain in humans. The disease spreads through human to human transmission via respiratory droplets, when someone sneezes or coughs. The incubation period between exposure and symptom onset is typically 2 to 14 days. CDC factsheet about nCoV
- The nCoV that causes COVID-19 presumably emerged from animal source but now it is spreading from person to person.
- When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets produced in the airway carry the virus to another person.
- It can also transfer from other routes like feces.
- The virus shows significant similarity with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus(SARS-CoV).
- It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
COVID-19 Patients have a respiratory illness with the following common symptoms:-
- Complications may include pneumonia and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
- Shortness of Breath, breathing difficulties fatigue and myalgia & in advanced stages it leads to severe pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, sepsis, septic shock, organ failure, and death.
- Upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, running nose, and sore throat and chest. Some of those infected may be asymptomatic with the positive test results.
- Patients should avoid close contact with others and rule out infections.
The incubation period ranges from 1 to 14 days. Most commonly COVID-19 has had the following effects:-
- The outbreak has been declared as a Public Health emergency of international concern by the WHO on 30th January.
- Preventive measures are being taken in China and around the world to sustain the spreading of nCoV.
- Most of the countries have issued travel advisories and imposed travel restrictions to visit China. Russia has sealed the entire common border with China.
- Complete lockdown and forced confinement have been ordered in various towns. Most of the airports and train stations in China have put medical teams to check body temperatures to identify potential carriers of the nCoV.
- The outbreak of the virus has been larger than SARS-CoV identified in 2003.
- Some countries require people to report flu-like symptoms to their doctor especially if they have visited mainland China.
Health Organisations have issued the following advisories to reduce the chance of becoming infected:-
- Avoid close contact with an infected person & avoid sharing personal household items.
- Regularly wash hands with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds), especially after going to the toilet before eating and after blowing your nose/ coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Use soap and water to clean soiled hands.
- No touching the eyes nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Those who are infected are advised to stay at home to get medical care.
- Those who suspect that they are infected should wear a surgical mask, especially when in public thus limiting the volume and travel distance of contagious droplets while talking, sneezing, and coughing. In public places wear face masks & medical teams should wear N95 masks.
- Maintain good respiratory hygiene to minimize transmission, individuals should cover the mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing and sneezing. Tissues once used, should be disposed of immediately.
- A number of countries have advised their citizens traveling outside not to touch animals or to eat game meat they have been told to avoid visiting wet markets, poultry markets, and farms.
- Coronavirus can survive and remain contagious on inanimate surfaces like metal glass or plastic for 29 days. Methods to remove the virus from the surface include chlorine-based disinfecting 75% ethanol where acetic acid and chloroform.
- There are no specific vaccines for antiviral treatment, efforts typically aim at managing symptoms and supportive therapy.
- On 18 February 2020 Chinese National Medical Products Administration approved the antiviral drug Favipiravir for treatment of COVID-19
- W H O has stated that Remdesivir drug may have real efficacy against the virus.
- Fastrack research is on around the world for developing a vaccine as of now there are no specific medications for COVID-19, development efforts are underway.
- Regular flu medications, drinking fluids and resting, relieve the symptoms.
- Depending on the severity of patient oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids and breathing support may be required.
Important Links & Numbers
On March 25, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the people of Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, on Day I of the 21-day countrywide lockdown to tackle the deadly coronavirus.
Prime Minister issued the helpline number to get authenticated news.WhatsApp ‘Namaste’ to 9013151515, get COVID-19 facts instantly: PM
Write ‘Namaste’ in Hindi or English to helpline number 9013151515, get instant reply on authenticated news and updates related to COVID-19 aka coronavirus pandemic
Indian Gov Site Helpline Number for corona-virus : +91-11-23978046 or 1075