What we need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) ?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The outbreak of COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) virus has been linked to bats and pangolins, but there is no conclusive evidence yet to prove that the virus jumped from bats to humans via an intermediary species.
- How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also 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 mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
- Who is more prone to it?
The risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, for example, healthcare workers, or household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with an ongoing spread of COVID-19.
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
•Dry cough or sore throat
•Difficulty in breathing
•In some cases, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
- What are severe complications from this virus?
Some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases death.
- How can I help protect myself?
People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.
•Practice Social distancing. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet).
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
•Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
•Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the closed trash immediately.
•Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
•Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
•Wear a face mask while stepping out of your home.
•Stay home, stay safe.
•Follow instructions from the concerned authority.
- How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces?
It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.
- Is there a vaccine?
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.Right now, the best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
- Is there a treatment?
To date, there is NO specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the coronavirus. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
- Do we have any medicine to cure COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a viral infection so DO NOT take antibiotics that only work against bacteria. Further, taking antibiotics for viral infections can lead to antimicrobial resistance. WHO recommends using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as self-medication.