The novel CoronaVirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes COVID-19 has been declared a “Global Health Emergency” by WHO.
Corona Virus has surely hit the world at large, and it has hit MASSIVE. It has affected people from all walks of life, and almost everywhere in the world. From the political realm to religious practices, stock market, entertainment industry, health and fitness, food and travel, workplace dynamics, and so on, every sector is affecting.
In a nutshell, we know by now the virus has reached more than 160 countries all over the world, affected more than 170,000 people, and killed more than 7,000 people worldwide.
Here is a good source where you can find all the information and statistics related to the total reported cases by country, total deaths, and the number of people recovered from the disease.
With passing times, we are learning that communities that have taken proactive steps for prevention and precaution are dealing with the pandemic far better than reactive communities and governments.
For example, South Korea, Japan, and China dealt with the virus aggressively, with South Korea testing more per capita people in the entire world. Proactive and aggressive tactics, especially in China, even though question by some human rights groups, were effective in containing the virus.
On the other hand, Europe was reactive and slow in responsiveness. As a result, Europe is now the epicenter of the coronavirus, with the highest number of new cases being reported in European countries.
Governments who are still trying to prevent the spread of panic and chaos amongst its people are taking the hit by COVID-19 much harder.
So what really is coronavirus? And why is it something new for humans? Let’s look into the answers in detail.
Coronavirus (CoV) comes from a large family of viruses that can lead to illnesses ranging from mild to severe. For instance, from a mild common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and/or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), according to WHO.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain from the coronavirus family. It is an encounter in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, in 2019, and has never been detecting in humans before.
Next question, where does it come from? The virus is believing to be zoonotic, which means they are transferring from animals to people.
The highly human-pathogenic coronaviruses belong to the subfamily Coronavirinae from the family Coronaviridae.
History: The Origin
The family of coronavirus causes infection of the intestine and respiratory tract in humans and animals alike. This strain of viruses was first thought to be highly pathogenic for humans back in 2002 and 2003 when the SARS epidemic in Guangdong, China, happened.
Ten years later, MERS-CoV broke out in the Middle East. SARS-CoV was transmitted to humans by commercial civets, whereas, MERS-CoV came from dromedary camels. Both animals are the intermediate carriers, according to this review article.
Primarily, the virus is transmitted via Chinese horseshoe bats, which was found out after extensive research and laboratory testing.
In November 2002, an epidemic began, and an unknown infectious agent caused an outbreak in Guangdong province of Southern China. The first case was reported on November 16, 2002, when a farmer in Foshan county reported the likely symptoms of SARS infection.
Many patients followed reporting initial symptoms like high fever and mild respiratory distress, which escalated to pneumonia within a few days.
In a few months by February 2003, the disease had spread to neighboring countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. The infectious disease was named and called SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
By March 13, 2003, WHO announced a global alert. The infection continued to spread to South-East Asia, Europe, Canada, and the US, as the first pandemic of the 21st century broke out.
The disease was thought to be highly contagious and resulted in a plethora of symptoms in the infected person.
By July 2003, WHO reported 8,437 cases of SARS. There were 813 reported deaths because of the novel virus. Most cases were reported in mainland China and then Hong Kong.
The origin of the disease remained unclear for nearly 15 years. Until late 2017, a group of scientists found a variety of horseshoe, cave bats in Yunnan, China that were the reservoir for carrying this strain of the virus.
The outbreak was contained by strict quarantine protocols for infected people. But it took years before no new cases were reported.
Scientists always feared another breakout. The fear emerged from the fact that not all strains of coronavirus were identified. Hence, it was impossible to formulate a vaccine that could be used if another strain broke out.
What are the Symptoms of the CoronaVirus?
So how do you distinguish between COVID-19 and other types of flu? Well, here is the list of symptoms that can raise the alarm.
WHO has tabulated a chart of symptoms from all the reported cases until February 20, 2020. All these cases are confirmed by laboratory testing of COVID-19 done in China.
- The foremost symptom is fever with a dry cough. 90% of the cases showed to have a fever, out of which two-thirds had an accompanying dry cough.
- In addition, 40% of the cases showed signs of fatigue.
- 6% appeared with shortness of breath, otherwise called dyspnea.
- Other symptoms include muscle pain or joint pain, sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion, and diarrhea.
Most symptoms are similar to a common cold or common flu. However, no patients appeared with a runny nose when infected with COVID-19.
It’s important to note that not everyone infected with the virus will show signs and symptoms of the disease. You could be infected but will remain symptomless and continue with your daily routine.
This is what makes the virus scary and exactly the reason why the virus is spreading so quickly all over the world. These people are calling the “carriers”. They have the contagious virus and can pass it on to others.
Hence, isolation in such a pandemic is paramount and can’t be stressed more. For example, New Zealand and Australia are putting new arrivals into mandatory quarantine, no matter if they show the symptoms or not. Taking matters to the next level, Saudi Arabia simply canceled all incoming flights. This is the way to go, at least for now!
Now being calling ‘COVID-19,’, the coronavirus has been tragically claiming more than 7,000 precious lives so far. In the absence of a vaccine, the fight against this new virus seems long and difficult.
So, how can you keep yourself safe from this virus? The answer is the age-old saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’.
There are several simple and easy preventions that we can all take to avoid coronavirus. Here are a few so that you can keep yourselves protected amidst these challenging times:
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with lukewarm water, especially before eating, after using the bathroom and after blowing your nose.
- Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at all times.
- Cover your faces with either surgical or N95 masks when stepping out.
- Avoid shaking hands and coming into close physical contact with people (Maintain a safe distance of a meter at all times).
- Do not touch doorknobs, elevator buttons, or other surfaces that are frequently held by multiple people.
- Remember to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Do not leave your houses unnecessarily and avoid public gatherings.
- If you start to feel sick, self-quarantine yourselves to prevent the virus from spreading and get your self checking at your nearest health center.
It takes up to 14 days for symptoms of the coronavirus to appear, at which point it might already be too late for treatment or recovery. Therefore we strongly advise you to take the above mentioned preventive measures seriously so that you may steer clear of harm’s way.
This is an unpopular term gaining a lot of heat since the advent of COVID -19. This is a precaution all authorities and governments have been stressing on from the start, which is asking people to distance themselves from one another.
According to guidelines provided by WHO, we all need to maintain a distance of one meter or three feet from each other.
This is necessary because when an infected person coughs or sneezes, they emit microscopic droplets of water, which also contain the virus. If you breathe in those droplets, you become infected.
Another social practice we need to change is hugging and kissing while greeting one another. Government officials in Europe and the US have already started “elbow-greetings”, even “shaking feet” on greeting.
All these methods are effective in containing the virus at large, provided each of us begins now.
More care should be taking. Avoid unnecessary visits to the malls, salons, and restaurants. Try to pay your bills online (this will also prevent you from waiting in the long lines). Postpone all social events and gatherings. We can contain the virus even now and flatten the curve of newly reported cases of infection.
What to Do if You Think You Are Infected?
If you think you have the virus, do not panic. The symptoms of the coronavirus will easily mistake for those of a common cough or flu. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
So, if you think that you might have gotten the virus, the first thing you should do is to visit your nearest health clinic or hospital.
Inform the staff of your symptoms and let the doctor examine you. If the doctor decides that you require taking the coronavirus test, then choose one immediately.
It would help if you tried self-quarantining yourselves either at home or in the hospital while you await the test results of your report. The results can take up to 6 hours in some instances. So, it is best in the view of public health that you avoid meeting other people.
In case you do test positive for COVID-19, remember that that fatality rate is only 3%. So, you can easily beat this disease if you remain calm and follow the doctor’s instructions.
Over the last few months, many people have successfully recovered from COVID-19. About 78,324 people from around the world have fought and won from the coronavirus. So, don’t lose hope.
CoronaVirus: The Global Impact
Corona Virus has a devastating impact on the world economy or at least economies of most of the world. The global economy was already struggling, with consumption slowing down all across the world, and corona just made things even worse.
Out of fear and uncertainty, investors are pulling out their money from stocks, resulting in a worldwide stock crash. As consumption is slowing down all over the world, in addition to the price war between Saudia Arabia and Russia, the oil prices are down to the level of the 90s.
In addition, the large-scale shutdown will have major long-term effects on many European and Asian economies who were already struggling to avoid recession.
Past history of the SARS epidemic and experience tells us that an outbreak like COVID-19 causes huge implications, especially on the economy and in the healthcare sector. Due to COVID-19 expansive spread, it believes to weigh heavily on economic growth and burden the healthcare system laboriously.
Its consequences can predict in the near future. But, the long-term effects are yet to determine.
CoronaVirus in Asia
Asia is where it all begins. Two of the worst affected countries, China and Iran are in Asia. However, even when the cases surged quickly, China and South Korea have successfully contained the virus, with a sharp decrease in the newly reported cases
On the other hand, coronavirus is still spreading in the rest of Asia, especially in Iran, Middle East, South East Asia, and South Asia.
As China is the manufacturing hub of the world, the shut down due to corona and the slowdown in consumption all over the world, has dire effects on the Chinese manufacturing sector. According to the recent data, Chinese industrial output is now the lowest in recent history.
Here is a list of some of the consequences the continent has to face.
- Asia-Pacific starts low this week.
- All major stock exchanges collapsed, including Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
- The Central Bank of Japan will introduce liquidity in an attempt to achieve financial stability.
- South Korea’s exports fall to the lowest point in six years.
CoronaVirus in Europe
Europe is the most affected region right now, with three of the worst affected countries in Europe (Italy, Spain, and France).
- According to the French finance minister, GDP will shrink by 0.1% or even more.
- Banks in Europe are preparing to function and trade online and/or by transporting their employees to off-site locations.
- However, Europe-wide Stoxx 600 opens at a 2% rise
CoronaVirus in North America
The number of deaths in the US is now hovering around 100. The country is also facing an economic slowdown, as several states are shutting down businesses.
- US stocks fall to their lowest since 2008
- CERAWeek, US largest conference on energy in Houston, has been canceling, due to continued bans on traveling.
Like many statisticians are predicting, the COVID-19 pandemic has broken. Consequences for such a large scale spread and impact of the virus on more than a hundred countries and so many industries will last a year or even more.
This is a new strain of the virus, which is also rapidly mutating, unlike any past virus. So, it is better to stop wishful thinking that it will die out itself in the upcoming summer season. It is wiser to prepare and remain cautious.
The attack by the virus has really put multiple country’s healthcare systems under a test. They need to be on top of their game to defeat the viral attack.