By now, you’ve probably heard of COVID-19 or Coronavirus discovered in 2019 which is responsible for a global pandemic. In this article, I will discuss what COVID 19 is and the symptoms to look out for. I will also discuss prevention tips. 

What is COVID-19 

COVID 2019 is a type of Coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. In 2019, a novel coronavirus was identified as the cause of a cluster of pneumonia cases in China.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can infect humans or animals. Sometimes an animal coronavirus can change so that it can infect people and become a human coronavirus. 

There are seven known types of human coronaviruses. Four types (229E, NL63, OC43, and KHU1) are common and cause mild to moderate respiratory infections, like the common cold. 

Two types, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), can cause severe respiratory infections.

The seventh type (2019-nCoV) is a new coronavirus recently discovered in China. Public health officials are trying to learn more about this new virus and the infection it causes.

This virus spreads rapidly. As a result, it has caused an epidemic. Thus far the main country that is affected is China. However, it has spread to many other countries around the world.

History of COVEN 2019

The World Health Organization named it  COVID-19 because it doesn’t refer to a geographical location, an animal, a person, or a group of people, all of which can lead to stigma.

They also wanted to make it pronounceable and related to the disease, which is not an easy task.  

Coronaviruses that circulate among humans are typically benign and they cause about a quarter of all common cold illnesses. 

Transmission of COVID-19

Understanding transmission is not totally understood. Person to person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets, similar to how the flu is contracted. All Things Fadra has compiles a list of things good to know about the COVID-19 virus

However, since it is not known for certain how the virus is spread, airborne precautions are recommended routinely in some countries.

In Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province, an outbreak was associated with a seafood market where patients had worked or had visited. This seafood market also sells live rabbits, snakes, and other animals. 

On February 27, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identified a person who contracted the COVID-19, and they did not have any travel history or exposure to anyone with a history of COVID-19. 

Is this a case of community spread? If this is truly what happened, this would be the first time this has happened in the United States according to the CDC. 

Clinical Features of COVID-19 

Incubation Period

The incubation period is thought to be within 14 days following exposure. Most people are symptomatic after 5 days. The onset of fever and respiratory symptoms usually starts 3-6  days after exposure.

Symptoms of Corona Virus

People get sick because the body allows the virus to invade cells lining the respiratory tract and lungs.

 After invading the cells, the Coronavirus enters and takes over the cellular machinery to make more and more copies of itself so it can spread to the surrounding cells and get into the mucus in the lungs.

Pneumonia appears to be the most frequent presentation. These signs and symptoms are :

Most of these infections are not severe.

facts about COVID 10

The severe infection can cause septic shock, which happens when the blood pressure falls dramatically and the body’s organs are starved for oxygen.

 Acute respiratory syndrome and shock are the main cause of death for people with the infection and this is more likely to occur in those over the age of 60 smokers and people with previous medical conditions like hypertension and heart disease.

Severe lung damage can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome  which occurs when the lung inflammation is so severe that fluid builds up around and within the lungs. 

 The severe infection can cause septic shock, which happens when the blood pressure falls dramatically and the body’s organs are starved for oxygen.

Coronavirus or COVID 10: Facts You Need to Know

  • In addition to causing disease, Coronaviruses can spread quickly. Usually, the virus spreads when people cough or sneeze and tiny droplets containing the virus are released. 
  • These droplets can land on another person’s mouth, nose or eyes, and that allows the virus to enter a new person. The virus can also be found in a person’s stool and in rare situations, coronavirus has been transmitted from one apartment to another within a residential building. 
  • This was also seen in the 2002 SARS epidemic. At that time, faulty plumbing allowed virus-containing fecal matter originating from one person’s apartment to drift from drainage pipes back into fixtures like sinks and toilets within other apartments in the same building.
  • Not only did this create a terrible smell, but it also allowed the virus-containing droplets to deposit on bathroom surfaces, ultimately costing people in apartments to get ill. something similar may have happened with coven 19 and this is being actively investigated.
  • Once a person is infected, symptoms develop an average of five days later. This is called the incubation period. However, the incubation period varies from person to person and in some studies it’s lasted as long as 24 days. 
  • Now there’s debate about whether or not asymptomatic people can spread the disease because these people typically have low levels of circulating virus, but even if they do, asymptomatic transmission likely plays a minor role in the overall epidemic.
  • There is no vaccine currently available to protect against COVID-19. At best it looks like a vaccine will be many months away, so, for now, the goal is to avoid human to human transmission. 
  • Coronaviruses don’t usually spread over long distances in the air, but they can travel roughly three feet or one meter from one person to another on tiny droplets of saliva which are produced when someone’s coughing or sneezing.
  •  In addition, some strains of coronavirus can survive on surfaces for over a day. With that in mind, if you’re a healthy person living in a non-outbreak area, the recommendation is to avoid travel to disease outbreak areas generally stay away from crowded places and stay at least six feet or two meters away from anyone with symptoms.

Prevention of COVID-19

As always, careful hand washing is the key and it should be done with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizers and scrubbing.

Also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This area is known as your T-zone and it’s a common entry point for viruses into the body.

For healthcare workers who are around people with COVID -19,  the recommendation is to apply droplet and contact precautions. That includes wearing personal protective equipment like a clean, dry surgical mask, gloves, long-sleeved gowns, and eye protection like goggles or a face shield. 

When performing a procedure that generates aerosol, like tracheal intubation, bronchoscopy, CPR, or noninvasive ventilation, it’s important to wear an N- 95 respirator. This prevents 95% of the small particles like respiratory droplets from passing through. 

Conclusion

The virus travels in respiratory droplets and enters the body via the mouth, nose, or eyes. Once inside the body. It replicates in the respiratory system causing symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Some people might develop more dangerous complications like pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, and shock. Treatments are focused on supportive care, but certain medications are currently in clinical trials. 

In the meantime, the best strategy is prevention. This includes careful hand-washing, avoiding traveling to disease outbreak areas, and crowded places. When possible, avoid touching your T’s zone, and if you’re a healthcare worker using personal protective equipment. These are the Coronavirus or COVID 10: Facts You Need to Know.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID19-symptoms.pdf

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen