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Coronavirus: Outbreak, Symptoms, and Prevention

Coronavirus: Outbreak, Symptoms, and Prevention

Mar 26, 2020 - Ravara Products

What is Coronavirus?  


Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). 


What is COVID-19 


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. Because of the newness of the virus strain, “coronavirus” is often prefaced with the word “novel”, because that’s precisely what it is: a new strain in a family of viruses we’ve all seen before – and, in some form, had. 

COVID-19 is not the same as other coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people and can spread between people, which is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. 

MERS and SARS are two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to humans.  


Origins of Outbreak 


The World Health Organization's China office says it began receiving reports in late December of a mysterious virus behind a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in eastern China with a population of roughly 11 million people. 


What are the symptoms? 


Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.  

Current estimates of the incubation period - the time between infection and the onset of symptoms - range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days. 

However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems. 

There have been reports of people transmitting the virus before they show symptoms, but most experts think this is probably not a major driver of new infections. What is concerning, however, is that symptoms can be mild, and the disease can clearly spread before people realize they’re sick 


How to protect yourself 


Wash your hands: wet your hands with clean, running water. Apply soap. Lather your hands, including the backs, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash hands. If you don’t have a tissue to hand, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands. 

Face masks offer some protection as they block liquid droplets. However, they do not block smaller aerosol particles that can pass through the material of the mask. 

Seek early medical help by phone if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share your travel history with healthcare providers. 

If you have returned from an affected area in China, Iran, South Korea or Italy in the last two weeks, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people for 14 days. This means not going to work, school or public areas. 

If you have returned from an infected area and develop a high temperature, cough, runny nose, sore throat or difficulty breathing, do not leave your home until you have been given advice by a doctor. 


What should I do if I think I have COVID-19? 


If you’re in a high-risk group — over the age of 60 with an underlying health condition — seek medical treatment immediately, and let your hospital or health care provider know you suspect Covid-19 before showing up. 

Otherwise, stay at home and call a health professional, Vox’s Umair Irfan explained: “They will work with your local health department and figure out whether you need to get tested or get treatment. Doctors and health officials advise not to go to the emergency room if your symptoms do not appear to be life-threatening.” There’s a good chance you’ll recover with nothing more than rest and fluids. But you will need to self-isolate while sick to avoid spreading the disease to others, including any people in your home. 


Are there any places I shouldn’t go during this outbreak? 


The CDC has issued its highest-level travel alerts for Italy, Iran, South Korea, and China, advising Americans to avoid traveling in these places for the moment. These are the countries with the largest known coronavirus outbreaks. On March 11, President Donald Trump issued a ban on travel from most of Europe for 30 days. 


But just because a country you plan to visit isn’t on the list right now doesn’t mean it won’t be there tomorrow. The outbreak is evolving rapidly, and these advisories are likely to change in the coming days, so keep checking in with the CDC.


As Nuzzo told Vox: “I’m more concerned about the unpredictability of the [outbreak] response at this point. It would not be fun to go to China and get stuck there somehow. And coming back, you’ll be subject to additional screening” or quarantines. 


What if you decide to travel and you’re seated near someone who is coughing or sneezing? That’s not very reassuring, but it’s not time to panic, either. “The risk of acquiring a respiratory infection through air travel is still extraordinarily low,” Bogoch, who studies how air travel influences the dynamics of outbreaks — including the new coronavirus infection. 


The risk does go up if you happen to be seated within six feet of a person with a respiratory infection. But even there, simple proximity doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll catch anything. Instead, the more infectious the person is, and the longer you sit near them, the higher your risk. If you’re not near the person for very long or they’re not very infectious, the risk is lower. 


Also keep in mind: The travel warnings are not entirely driven by the risk of catching this new virus. Airlines have been canceling or scaling back flights, trains have been halted, and countries have been imposing quarantines on travelers and citizens. 

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