On 31 December 2019, a series of consecutive patients with pneumonia-like symptoms were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Later on, Chinese scientists identified a new member of the coronavirus family as the cause of the disease.
Surprisingly, many patients were those who worked or shopped frequently in local seafood stores.
This suggests that the novel coronavirus transmitted from animals to humans, like other coronaviruses.
Accordingly, WHO declared the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”, on 30 January 2020.
Most people recover from the virus without any medical care, though unfortunately, some patients died, most of them with pre-existing medical conditions.
|Disease name:||Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)|
|Virus official name:||Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)|
|Virus other names:||nCoV, 2019-nCoV, 2019 novel coronavirus, and Coronavirus 2020|
As you can see from the graph above, the number of deaths are still rising, which emphasizes that we should know more about the virus and its means of transmission.
For more detailed information please refer to the COVID-19 statistics page.
What is the Novel Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of RNA viruses that have crown-like spikes on their surface.
These viruses are found mainly in animals such as bats, cats, cattle.
They can, however, rarely transfer from animals to humans and then spread between people.
In brief, coronaviruses cause a variety of diseases, ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases.
The Incubation Period of Coronavirus:
The incubation period is the duration of time that someone is exposed to the virus until the appearance of the first symptoms.
Estimates show that the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 is between 2-14 days.
So, if a person is healthy 14 days after exposure to the virus, it is unlikely that he has been infected.
Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19:
In general, signs and symptoms of coronavirus disease include tiredness, fever, cough, and respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
But, some people may have symptoms such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea.
In advanced stages, even so, the infection can cause kidney failure, severe acute respiratory syndrome, pneumonia, and even death.
Though, lots of the above-mentioned symptoms are similar to other diseases such as common cold and flu.
So, if you have these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you are infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Conversely, some patients are asymptomatic, though they may be able to spread the virus.
High-Risk Group of Coronavirus Infection:
Everyone is at risk of infection with novel coronavirus, therefore all people should take protective measures.
Though, people with weak immune system, old people, people with long term health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart and lung disease), and high blood pressure, are at higher risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and show more severe symptoms.
Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease, though scientists are trying to develop such a treatment.
Nevertheless, patients should receive medical care in order to alleviate symptoms.
So, at the present time, the best way to protect against the virus is to prevent exposure to it.
Can Antibiotics Treat COVID-19?
Antibiotics don’t work against SARS-CoV-2 infections, because they can kill bacteria but not viruses.
Consequently, they are not an effective treatment for coronavirus disease.
However, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for the virus, due to bacterial co-infection.
So, COVID-19 patients should use antibiotics, if it is recommended by their doctor.
Modes of Coronavirus Transmission:
In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, most patients worked in the animal market or regularly shopped there, which suggests the transmission of disease from animals to humans.
But now, nCoV is mainly spread through human to human transmission.
In this way, viruses spread particularly through respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze.
These droplets can travel up to 6 feet (two meters).
So, those who are less than 6 feet away from patients can inhale the droplets into their lungs or get the virus into their bodies through eyes, mouth, and nose.
Also, the virus can transmit when people touch infected objects and then touch their eyes, mouth, and nose with their infected hands.
That is why shaking hands and kissing are the main ways of coronavirus transmission.
Can People without Symptoms Transfer COVID-19?
Although the virus spread mainly through symptomatic patients, asymptomatic and presymptomatic patients (those in the incubation period of the virus) can transfer the coronavirus 2020, too.
For this reason, experts recommend not to attend crowded places.
People around you can transmit the virus to you, even if they seem quite healthy.
Prevention of Coronavirus Infection:
Surely, the best way to prevent disease caused by 2019-nCoV is to avoid virus exposure.
With this in mind, the best ways to reduce the spread of disease include:
- wear face mask in public
- wash your hands regularly
- avoid shaking hands, hugging and also kissing
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, as well as your mouth with unwashed hands
- clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces
- stay at home if you are sick and do not attend public places
- keep away animals (including pets) from yourself
- avoid direct contact with raw animal products such as meat, milk, and eggs
- eat properly cooked foods
- stay away from those who have symptoms of disease OR if inevitable, keep at least 6 feet (2 meters) distance from those who are coughing or sneezing
- do not go to crowded places and keep up social distancing from others (at least 6 feet)
- cough or sneeze into your bent elbow or a tissue and then throw the tissue in a trash bin
- seek medical help as soon as possible if you have symptoms of coronavirus disease
- finally, stay informed with the latest news about COVID-19
Chemicals that Kill Coronavirus (Disinfecting Chemicals):
Some chemicals can kill SARS-CoV-2 on the objects and you can use them in order to disinfect surfaces.
Though, spraying these disinfection chemicals on your body or clothes, not only does not kill viruses inside your body but also will harm your skin and clothes.
These disinfectant chemicals include:
chlorine-based bleaches, either solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid, and chloroform.