The coronavirus disease2019 (COVID-19) is the name given to the disease caused by the virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-2). The outbreak started in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, in December 2019, and was declared pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11th March, 2020.
As at 5th April, there have been 1,213,927 confirmed cases worldwide, with over 65,652 deaths and 252,391 recoveries according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. A total of 182 countries have recorded cases since December 2019 when the outbreak first started.
Mode of Transmission:
The mode of transmission between people is primarily through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. The virus is most contagious when people are symptomatic, however, asymptomatic people are still considered contagious. The incubation period, (the time between exposure to when symptoms begin to manifest) is between 2-14 days.
Common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome are complications associated with this infection.
Nasopharyngeal and/or oropharyngeal swab specimens are taken from infected individuals to the laboratory. Real-time PCR is performed on the specimens to detect the presence of COVID-19 virus.
Currently, there is no antiviral drugs available for treating COVID-19 infection. Infected individuals are placed in isolation centers and receive supportive care until symptoms improve.
Preventive and pre-cautionary measures:
The World Health Organization has outlined some preventive measures while a lot of measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Preventive measures include:
Washing of hands (with soap under running water)
Use of alcohol-base hand sanitizers,
Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with flexed elbows or tissue and dispose of the tissue immediately and safely.
Maintaining distance from other people (social distancing)
Monitoring and isolation for people with suspected infections.
Some of the measures put in place to prevent further spread of the virus are travel restrictions, quarantines, curfews and postponement and cancellation of events and closure of facilities. In Hubei China, there has been a total shutdown of the entire Province and major border closure throughout the entire country, a nationwide quarantine in Italy and some other parts of Europe. Across the globe, many countries like South Korea have imposed curfews while many have restricted incoming people through their various borders, screening at airports, travel advisories as well as closure of schools, universities and business.
The world seems to have come to a halt because of this widespread virus. While it looks like we are at war with an invisible enemy, one thing is evident and eminent, that we all stay safe, observe precautionary measures outlined and ensure we are all alive when this ends.