What Is Coronavirus, The Widespread Outbreak & Who Is At Risk

2 min read

Coronavirus
Ananya Bhattacharjee
Writer. Musician. Mother. Reading, music and travelling are all time favourites. Been into ‘writing’ from the last 10 years and have become an everlasting love since I started.

2020 saw the outbreak of the ‘Coronavirus’ or Sars- Cov-2, the virus which originated in China and spread rapidly across the globe affecting many people. The virus belongs to the ‘Coronavirus’ family of viruses, is crown-shaped with spikes on the surface, and affects predominantly bats, pigs, and othxer small mammals. However, it is seen that the virus mutated rapidly and affected humans, too, then from one person to the other. It is one of the global infectious disease outbreaks the world has seen recently.

Widespread Outbreak

Health authorities from across the world are already on high alert as cases of Coronavirus surpassed 100,000. The virus reached this count after outbreaks in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Started from Wuhan in China, the virus spread to 89 countries and affected every continent except Antarctica continent in a month. The health officials have also warned that the outbreak is getting closer to meeting the WHO’s definition of being a ‘global pandemic.’

The majority of Coronavirus cases and deaths have been reported in China. However, there have been around 415 deaths and 20,670 cases, which have been reported in other countries, including Italy, Iran, and South Korea.

Around 70+ governments across the world have taken measures to prevent and contain the Coronavirus outbreak. Many of them banned entry for travelers from affected regions, as well as prohibited flights to certain countries. The Coronavirus has predominantly hit the airline industry, with many trips banned, multiple routes suspended, and many employees being laid off.

The world is now making efforts to prepare for the Coronavirus outbreak, where shortages of face masks, hand sanitizer as well as cleaning supplies reported in many countries.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

The Coronavirus affects the respiratory tract, with symptoms like fever, dry cough, and body ache occurring at first. This condition may progress to breathlessness and complications like pneumonia in the advanced stage. There are also reported symptoms of fatigue, sore throat, headache, and nausea, with vomiting and diarrhea in some patients.

How deadly is the Coronavirus?

Covid-19 or Coronavirus is less harmful than its related pathogen—SARS, which occurred in the year 2002 in China. SARS, in its outbreak, killed around 10% of the people it infected. Coronavirus is much less deadly than the MERS or Ebola eruption.

Who is at risk?

The risk of Coronavirus is highest for older people and the people who have health conditions like heart disease, chronic lung disease, cancer, or diabetes. Majority of deaths from Coronavirus that are reported from China, with the people aged 60 or older, and were affected by other illnesses.

The majority of Coronavirus cases in China, at 87%, the majority of them were in the age group 30 to 79. Teens, and people in the 20s, also contract the illness due to contact with other people, at school or work, and on public transits. The World Health Organization in China found that around 78% of the Coronavirus cases as of February end, were in the age group 30 to 69. Also, approximately half of the 109 patients treated in the Central Hospital of Wuhan had acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), where the body fluids build up in the smaller air sacs of the lungs. 

There have also been reports of children contracting the Coronavirus, though the count has been low.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus Transmission

Coronavirus transmits through “respiratory droplets,” when the infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. These droplets travel through the air and can land on the face, mouth, and nose of another person, thus being inhaled and affecting their lungs. Droplets can also settle on surfaces like desks, counter, or doorknobs, where they can thrive for a specified period. A person then can become infected by touching that surface and then touching their nose, mouth, and eyes. As the droplets are heavy and don’t travel too far, the Coronavirus is transmitted through close contact.

How is Coronavirus detected?

There are diagnostic tests, which confirm the occurrence of Coronavirus. As the symptoms are similar to flu, tests for Coronavirus are prescribed to only those people who the doctors or public health officials believe might have the disease.

Protection from Coronavirus

Face masks ate the best prevention tool for the Coronavirus at present. Health experts stated that a reusable N95 respirator mask that is certified by an independent agency could accurately guard people against the virus. Any paper or polyurethane foam masks would fail to filter out the smaller particles.

WHO directed that it is essential to regularly and frequently wash hands to prevent Coronavirus. One should wash them often in the office, when they come home, before eating, and times when they touch surfaces.

  • It is essential to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  
  • Refrain from touching the eyes, nose, or mouth, as the virus can enter that way.
  • One should wipe down objects as well as surfaces frequently with household cleaners, which will destroy the virus.

Drugs for Coronavirus

No drugs or vaccines yet have been approved for Coronavirus, though scientists are studying and trying to develop a cure.