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Everything you need to know about Corona Virus - Covid 19 - A Quick Overview 12 March, 2020   

The world attention has been captured by the virus outbreak known as Corona(Covid 19) that commenced from the central city of Wuhan, China. The Virus has eventually found its place in human history by ravaging 3000 of human lives in 3 months. Let us discuss the atoms and elements of Coronavirus in detail. The Virus was identified in Dec 2019 and started transmission and was declared as a national public health emergency on Jan 7.

What is Corona?

As per the World Health Organisation(WHO), Corona is a family of viruses that can cause respiratory diseases affecting the lungs including inflammation in respiratory pathways which can even become fatal at severe cases. The world witnessed contagious outbreaks caused by same virus family in the last couple of decades known as SARS(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and MERS(Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Both the viral outbreak took almost 850 lives following 2000-2500 infections all around the world. Pneumonia is the severe stage at which the affected is fatal.

About the Covid 19 Virus

The Virus Covid 19 is the peculiar virus that became the cause of spreading disease corona. Corona is a family of virus and Covid 19 is the reason for the current outbreak. The virus has a unique structure with a crown-like shape on the surface of the body which titled it as corona(Latin word for crown). The current virus strain is known as SARS-CoV-2 which is recognised as Covid 19 after identifying it in 2019.

The virus is originally found in animals like livestock, wild ones like a bat and even in household pets. The virus stimulates mild fever in animals which when transmitted to humans transform into severe symptoms like respiratory blockage, inflammation, pneumonia etc resulting in death.

The SARS and MERS viruses from the same family were jumped to human from Civet Cats and dromedary camels respectively.

Where all corona has spread?

Since the outbreak initiated from China, most virus cases are reported in China with infected cases 80,796 at present. Italy is the second country in the corona infected cases with 12,462 active cases.

The detailed study and most present statistics of infected, recovered, severe cases etc are provided in the worldometer corona website.

Origin of Virus

The virus started spreading in Wuhan city of China where the population is around 11 million. The population density of the city resulted in the high rate of corona transmission. As discussed above, the virus is expected to be found in animals. The uncertainty in the origin of the virus outbreak has left the health organisations in disarray. Still, there are 3 possibilities put forth based on several investigations under WHO.

  1. Public health authorities suggest that the outbreak has started from the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan which is a meat market. The International Journal of Infectious Diseases mentioned in their paper that first 41 hospitalised with corona was somehow associated with the market.

  2. A group of researchers in China said that pangolins can be the reason for corona based on the ecological link between ant-eating pangolins and human.

  3. As per the journal published by Lancet, not all 41 of the primary people identified with corona had a direct link with the meat market. They claim that the virus must have started before reaching the market.

Characteristics of the Corona Virus

The coronavirus is highly transmitted with mild touch as well as droplets. This is because of certain characteristics of the virus. The health authorities have been studying the physical and existential capability of the virus to determine how to suppress the transmission by eradicating the virus itself. Certain characteristics concerning the corona are mentioned here.

  1. The virus has a higher transmission rate.

  2. It can survive on surfaces for up to 9 days and can persist on clothes, steel, hands etc for more than 4 hours enhancing the chance and count of transmission to someone else.

  3. Covid 19 cannot survive at a temperature greater than 86 degree Fahrenheit above which it will be inactivated. So the hot weather can abstain the virus from entering the active lifecycle. Penn State University's Center of Infectious Disease Dynamics Director, Elizabeth McGraw said that the hot weather might reduce the consequence of the transmission.

Statistics regarding Corona

The virus has spread so fast in a short period that it has affected more than 1 lakh people around the world and declared about 4000 deaths. The mortality rate of Covid 19 was estimated to be 2%, unlike SARS and MERS. The SARS resulted in 9% mortality while MERS had one-third of the total infected dead. 

According to WHO, the mortality rate of Covid 19 is less compared to previous epidemic outbreaks faced my humanity. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University issued statistics regarding the recovery rate of affected. 53,000 people have recovered from the virus infection.

Public health authorities discovered that out of 45,000 people infected in china at the early stage of the outbreak, there was not even 1 child under the age of 15. So the researchers and scientist ended up in the assumption that children under 15 must be carrying certain immunity to resist the virus.

How is it transmitted?

  1. Covid 19 is transmitted via the droplets ejected from the body of infected while coughing or sneezing. 

  2. It will spread if an infected person gets in close touch with another person within a distance of 6 feet.

  3. You may also get infected if a person touches the contaminated surface that has a virus on it and by somehow touching nose, mouth, eyes etc with the same hand.

The possibility of the virus becoming active once entered into your body is high compared to other viruses. The WHO highly recommend people from constraining their visits outside the home to contain the emergency outbreak.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms displayed by Covid 19 are symptoms of common cold and flu since the virus affects the respiratory system. The symptoms include,

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Short of breath

  • Extreme cases result in Pneumonia, organ failure and death.

The most crucial fact about the corona is that the virus takes 14 days to display symptoms even though the person has been affected for a long time. But the infected can spread the virus to another person even in this incubation period. People with major infection can show symptoms within 2-6 days. The crucial point to consider while identifying the virus is that unlike common cold or fever, Covid 19 doesn't have a running nose as a symptom.

Is there any vaccine found for Corona?

At the present situation, there are no medicine or vaccine invented to resist the Covid 19 virus which intensifies the cruciality of the global health emergency. Hospitals and medical cells are rendering the best medicine they can contribute to reducing the impact of the virus in the body with existing medicines. The government of each country is isolating the affected area and taking infected ones into quarantine which lasts for 2 weeks.

How to prevent it and Precautions

The transmission rate and possibility of the cover 19 viruses are extreme and this result in exponential growth in the count of corona infected. Since there are no proper medicine or vaccine found against the virus, it is recommended to take precaution to not spread the virus to severe extend of humanity. WHO recommends certain precautionary measures to fight and save yourself from the disease. Some of them are discussed in detail below. 

1. Avoid contact with infected people and abstain yourself from large gathering that includes a huge crowd which pays the way for transmission to many numbers of people from a single source.

2. Avoid touching your face, eyes etc while you are in public.

3. Cover your nose and mouth with a mask to avoid inhaling the contaminated air.

4. Use towels or tissue while sneezing or coughing to avoid spreading the droplets to surroundings.

5. Wash your hand and face recurrently to prevent the viruses from reaching inside your body.

6. Do not touch public surfaces unnecessarily.

7. Abstain yourself from going in public until it is necessary and do not engage in crowds or huge gatherings.

8. Use alcohol-based(60% alcohol) hand sanitizer to clean your hands in the absence of water and soap. 

8. Consume food rich in vitamin C to enhance immunity to resist the virus.

9. Cook meat and egg thoroughly.

The entire world and health organisations are striving their best to contain the virus outbreak with all the technologies and radical measures they could adopt. China had to execute certain extreme methods in limiting the virus from spreading to more people. Even though a lot of people had to remain in quarantine for many days, China has controlled the velocity of transmission. The aptest thing humanity can do at this crucial pandemic emergency time is to stay indoors and stay clean outside and inside.


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