Corona outbreak 2020

A  brief outline

Corona is a family of viruses. Till date,  7 types of coronaviruses have been recognised and the most recent one was identified in the December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, the 7th-largest city in China. Corona is a pandemic infection as it spreads quickly between the people with minimal contact,  in other words, it is a pandemic. The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic has been named COVID-19. COVID -19 is an ongoing global pandemic killed around 17,000 people roughly. COVID-19 is an infection caused by a family of SARS virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus -2 or SARS-CoV-2).  Corona is a virus affecting predominantly the pulmonary tree and a few other body systems. The word corona is turning out to be a scary tale across the world. There is not even one country living free from this virus. Though the word corona is not new to the world of science, people started expressing their concern as the mortality rate is on the rise.  As of 24th March 2020, the WHO statistics says that the total corona cases rose to 395,814 and 18,000 people died worldwide. However, the rate recovery is still looking good with a total of 103,748 cases. COVOD-19 resembles a typical pneumonia symptoms but this time, it is more serious and very quick and deadly. The first confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia patient was identified in Shenzhen (from Wuhan). He is a male aged 66 years. He visited relatives in Wuhan on 12/29/2019 and the symptoms started from 01/03/2020. COVID-19 has a very short incubation period with acute onset. The average time gap between the entries of COVID to the clinical symptoms is 5 days. COVID-19 is typically spread between people through respiratory droplets produced during coughing. However, the source of infection is just not the droplets but indirect contact of a person with any surface stuck with the virus is enough to provide an entry ticket into the healthy person. For instance, if someone sneezes, the virions enter the air and it settles on the surface of inanimate objects such as utensils, clothes, life buttons, office equipment etc.  If the virus-stringed objects come in contact with the normal person through breathing or by touching the surface, they gain access to the skin. Consequently, bringing the virus stuck hand near mouth, nose or mucus membrane will easily help the virus to enter the respiratory system of a normal person. The virus is believed to be originated through the seafood market in Wuhan.

 

History and Epidemiology of corona

Corona is a group of viruses.  7 Different types of human coronaviruses hav3e been identified since 1960. Out of the 7 types, 4 types are 229E, NL63, OC43, and KHU1 and they cause mild to moderate respiratory infections. The remaining 2 types are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The later 2 types strike a substantial damage on the mankind. Until the year 2002, the virus had no history of major pathology however, the outbreak caused in the year 2002–2003 has gained attention from the world. The outbreak started in Guangdong province in China, and slowly dispersed towards many other nations. Some of the affected countries are Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong Singapore, and the United States of America. During that time, a total of 8096 individuals were infected ended up killing 774 people.

 

COVID-19

The most recent-7th type of coronavirus is called covid-19 or 2019-nCoV. One of the deadly infection killed almost 18,000 people across the world with Italy and China being the main target. The virus was recently discovered in China in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China.  At first, a cluster of patients attended OPD with the symptoms similar to pneumonia on the 31 December 2019. Health department in Wuhan ordered some clinical investigations during the early January 2020. The occupational history revealed that most of them had links to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Hence the authorities concluded that the virus is from zoonotic origin.  On 14 March 2020, a report from the South China Morning Post said that a 55-year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person who contracted the disease, on 17 November. Eventually, On 26 February 2020, the WHO reported that the number of new cases has dropped in China but the virus started spreading across  Italy, Iran, and South Korea. From the 1st week of March until now, 423,142 cases have been noted causing 18,000 deaths. Government sources in Germany and the UK estimate that 60–70% of the population will need to become infected before effective herd immunity can be achieved.

 

Why is Corona deadly?

Despite the fact that people are recovering quickly, the mortality rate is also very high and quick when compared to any of the pandemic infections that the world has witnessed so far.   The horrific picture that we all are witnessing around the world is closely linked with the virulence of the coronavirus. Virulence is the ability to produce symptoms; it is very high in COVID-19. The disease is most contagious when someone comes in contact with another person in the asymptomatic state. However, the pandemic can also spread as early as the first day of the incubation period. Though it is not as chronic as cancer or HIV but the fact is that the victim has not much time to act. In just a day or 2, viral load can rise rapidly resulting in the damage of lungs and other vital organs. The condition is even more serious if the victim is aged 60 years or more with the current comorbidity. Comorbidity is when the person has one or more of the preexisting illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, TB, cancer and other systemic illnesses. Another worry is that the virus can survive for more than 12 hours even in the extreme conditions. This is making easy for the virus to sustain for long until they gain entry into the next victim.  Another concern is that the virus is new and human`s immune system takes some time to develop resistance against the infection. None of us expected this is going to be as worst as we see it today. Hence the people and the global health care weren’t prepared. One of the examples the corona related mortality and morbidity in Italy. It has nearly killed the nation. As of now, there are no specific vaccines however people in their younger ages are spontaneously recovering. Antimalarial antibiotics seems to suppress the virus but so far there is no scientific evidence for this.

 

When to suspect COVID-19

The worst part of the illness is that the person is asymptomatic in the initial stage of illness. Many people might misinterpret the disease as a flu or common cold. Some of the common symptoms are Fever, Coughing, Body pain, Itchy Throat, tiredness (fatigue ), breathing difficulties, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia . If the condition is untreated, it can be very fatal and highly contagious. By the 2nd week, the patient might experience severe hypoxemia as a result of lung injury, severe breathing issues septic shock, cardiac complaints such as chest pain and uneasiness, acute renal failure due to kidney injury, cardiac injury, lose motion, loss of appetite. Based on the first 72,314 cases of COVID-19 confirmed cases, about 80.9% of infections are mild with flu-like symptoms and feel like one can recover at home. In about 13.8% of the flu, they are severe and only 4.7% of the patients are critical in nature characterized by respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure. The overall death rate is in about 3.8% worldwide, however, it varies between the countries. The risk of death is 3 times more in the elderly.  For the detailed statistical evidence about the corona, click this link https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.

 

Course of illness

The outbreak starts with a fever, followed by an intense dry cough. During the second week, the person can experience shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment. What is important is, notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely result in the runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat. If the sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose remain for more than 7 days, it is good to consult the nearest, health care centre for the confirmation.

 

Prevention is better than cure

We are in the introductory phase of the corona. Our bodies are due to understand and sense the virus as potent and harmful. Our immune systems might take few more months to detect the corona antigens ad develop an innate immune chain reaction.  Experts say “You need to identify and stop discrete outbreaks, and then do rigorous contact tracing.” In fact, it is not easy to break the chain as the person takes some time to manifest; by the time he is marked positive, it might be too late for others to act. Ironically, many new cases start hitting within a completely isolated community. Then what best a common men could do? Simple, just stay where you are. Do not panic instead be the first to understand clearly, are you sick? Are you sure you have opened doors for the virus? For this to confirm, the following checklist might help you a bit.

1.  Have you ever come in contact with anyone who is already admitted with a known case of COVID-19?

2. Are you suffering from cold, dry cough and flu-like symptoms? If yes, be the first to visit your nearest health care centre or contact emergency helpline number 1075 for 24X7 assistance.

3. Have you or any of your family members travelled abroad recently? If yes, it is better to be screened, though you feel you are alright.

 

Stop transmission

COVID transmit quickly, it is better to stay informed of how you could break the chain. Remember, at this stage we all can rely upon only  3 things, stay safe and live isolated, detect early and quick isolation. Understanding the chain of transmission is important for everyone. So stop transmission between lungs to hands, from your hands to others, place to place or city to city transmission, and the transmission from one country to another. For this to happen, follow the tips mentioned under. Follow this link for more information on how to stop transmission. https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/updated-who-recommendations-for-international-traffic-in-relation-to-covid-19-outbreak.

 

Dos and don’ts 

1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue in the trash.

3. Avoid close contact (such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils) with people who are sick.

4. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands especially after coughing and sneezing, before and after caring for an ill person, and before preparing foods and before eating.

5. Clean and disinfect those surfaces you frequently come in contact with. Some of them could be objects, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

6. Stay home when you are sick, except when you need to get medical care.

7. Wash your hands if you have come in contact with animals or/and keep your pets clean.

8. Wash hands after visiting farms, gardens, play rounds,  markets, barns, petting zoos, and agricultural fairs. OR the best is to avoid these.

9. Avoid contact with suspected sick animals.

 

Additional links

Learn more about Coronavirus: Guidance for Better Mental Health by clicking here

 



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