What To Know About Coronaviruses?
The number of detected cases of COVID-19 in the world is approaching 90 thousand, and deaths are already more than 3 thousand. Should you be afraid of the virus if you have not been to China or Italy, and how to protect yourself from it? This article will tell you everything you need to know about coronavirus in detail.
At the end of February, WHO experts increased their assessment of the risk of spread and exposure risk of COVID-19 to Very High.
According to the data on Monday, March 2, 89197 cases of COVID-19 were detected in the world, 3048 people died, 45150 recovered. Most cases in Europe were detected in Italy — 1694 people, 34 people died. Over the weekend, the number of patients with COVID-19 in Germany and France increased significantly – now there are 130 infected, 84 people fell ill in Spain, 27 in Switzerland, there are cases in Estonia, Lithuania and Russia, COVID-19 was reported in Poland but this case is not officially confirmed yet.
In connection with the spread of numerous rumors and panic, WHO has published answers to the most common questions related to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
Recommendations for the population regarding the spread of coronavirus
- Wash your hands with soap regularly and use an alcohol-based product. If a virus is present on the surface of the hands, treating the hands with an alcohol-containing product or washing them with soap will kill it;
- Follow the rules of respiratory hygiene. When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bend of your elbow; immediately throw the napkin into the garbage container with a lid and treat your hands with an alcohol-containing antiseptic or wash them with soap and water. Why is this needed? Covering the mouth and nose with coughing and sneezing helps prevent the spread of viruses and other pathogens. If you cover your nose and mouth with your hand when coughing or sneezing, germs can fall on your hands, and then on objects or people you touch;
- Keep your distance in public places. Stay at least 1 meter away from people, especially if they have a cough, runny nose, or fever. While coughing or sneezing, a person with a respiratory infection spreads tiny drops containing the virus around him or her. If you are too close to such a person, you can get the virus by inhaling air;
- If possible, do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces on which the virus may be present. Touching the hands containing the infection to the eyes, nose, or mouth can transfer the virus from the skin of the hands to the body;
- If you have a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you have visited areas of China where 2019-nCoV is being registered, or have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms of respiratory illness after a trip from China, notify your healthcare provider. Fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing require immediate medical attention, as they can be caused by a respiratory infection or other serious illness. Symptoms of respiratory damage combined with fever can have a variety of reasons.
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and you haven’t traveled to China
- If you have mild respiratory symptoms and have not visited China, you should carefully observe basic respiratory and hand hygiene and, if possible, stay home until you recover;
- As a general precaution, follow normal hygiene practices when visiting food markets selling live animals, meat, poultry, or other animal products;
- After touching animals or animal products, wash your hands regularly with soap and water;
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands;
- Avoid contact with sick animals and do not touch spoiled animal products;
- Strictly avoid any contact with other animals in the market (stray cats or dogs, rodents, birds, bats);
- Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or liquids on floors or other surfaces in stores or market pavilions;
- Do not eat raw or non-heat-treated animal products. In accordance with food safety regulations, special care should be taken when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs in order to avoid cross-contamination of food products that have not undergone heat treatment.
Important questions about coronavirus
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family that includes 39 types of viruses combined into 2 subfamilies that infect humans, cats, birds, dogs, cattle, pigs and hares (data valid on January 2020).
The virus was first isolated in 1965 in a patient with acute rhinitis. Coronavirus is able to provoke damage to the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, nervous system. One type of coronavirus has become the causative agent of SARS.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID ‑ 19) include fever, fatigue, and dry cough. Some patients may experience various pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, pharyngitis, or diarrhea. As a rule, these symptoms develop gradually and are mild. Some infected individuals do not experience any symptoms. In most people (about 80%), the disease ends in recovery, with no specific therapeutic measures required. In about one in six cases of COVID-19, severe symptoms cause respiratory failure. In older people, as well as people with existing somatic diseases, such as arterial hypertension, heart disease or diabetes, the likelihood of a severe course of the disease is higher. The fatal outcome of the disease was noted in approximately 2% of cases. If you have fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
Where did it come from?
In China, they believe that the fish market in Wuhan, where wildlife was illegally sold, became the source of infection. It is assumed that the carrier of the virus was an animal, then it passed on to humans. Snakes are among the main “suspects”. At least that’s what Chinese scientists from four cities say.
The closest genetic code to the virus turned out to be two species of snakes: the South Chinese multi banded krait and Chinese cobra.
There is another hypothesis. According to it, the new 2019-nCoV coronavirus appeared as a result of a genetic combination of bat coronavirus and coronavirus of unknown origin.
How does the virus spread?
You can get 2019 nCoV from other people if they are infected with the virus. The disease can be transmitted from person to person through small drops released from the nose or mouth of a COVID-19 patient by coughing or sneezing. These drops fall on objects and surfaces surrounding a person. Other people may become infected by touching such objects or surfaces first and then with their eyes, nose, or mouth. In addition, an infection can occur by inhalation of the small drops that are released when a person coughs or sneezes with COVID ‑ 19. For this reason, it is important to stay away from a sick person at a distance of more than 1 meter.
Can I get the virus from someone who has no symptoms?
The virus mainly spreads through droplets secreted from the human respiratory tract by coughing or sneezing. The risk of infection from a person who does not have any symptoms is extremely low. On the other hand, in many people, the symptoms of COVID-19 are very mild. This is especially true in the early stages of the disease. Thus, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 from a person who does not feel sick and has only a mild cough exists. WHO is monitoring ongoing research on the time interval during which a sick person remains contagious and will publish information as it updates.
Can I get the virus through the feces of a sick person?
The risk of contracting 2019-nCoV through the feces of an infected person appears to be small. According to preliminary studies, the virus can in some cases be detected in feces, however, such a transmission mechanism does not play a leading role in the current outbreak. WHO is examining the results of ongoing studies regarding the transfer of COVID-19 and will publish information as it is updated. This risk cannot be completely discounted, and this once again confirms the importance of regular hand washing after using the toilet and before eating.
Is COVID-19 the same as SARS?
No, the viral pathogen COVID-19 and the causative agent of a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) are genetically related but they are different viruses. TORS-KoV has a high mortality rate, but it is less contagious than COVID-19. Since 2003, no SARS outbreaks have been recorded in the world.
What is the likelihood that I will become infected with coronavirus?
The degree of risk is determined not by the region of your residence, but by the geography of the places you have visited recently. The risk of infection is higher in regions with a large number of diagnosed cases of COVID ‑ 19. Currently, 95% of all COVID ‑ 19 cases occur in China, mainly in Hubei. In most other regions, the risk of becoming infected with COVID ‑ 19 remains low, but it’s important to keep track of the current situation and preparedness for infection in your area.
Can people get 2019-nCoV from animals?
Coronaviruses make up a vast family of viruses and are widespread in animals. Infection of people with these viruses, followed by transmission to other people, occurs in rare cases. Studies have shown that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats (civet or wyverns, a family of carnivorous mammals) to people in China in 2002, and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels (one-humped camels) to people in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Several coronaviruses circulating in animals are known, but there is no data on their infection in humans. More coronaviruses are likely to be identified as surveillance of this phenomenon improves worldwide.
As a precaution, observe general hygiene measures when visiting live animal markets, “wet” markets (the market for fish, other seafood, fresh meat. The term comes from wet floors due to melting ice and frequent spraying of shelves with water), food markets animal origin. Avoid direct contact with animals. Wash your hands regularly with soap and drinkable water after touching animals and animal products. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands.
Strictly avoid any contact with other animals (e.g. stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats). Avoid contact with potentially contaminated waste or animal fluids in the soil, structures and equipment of shops and market facilities.
Take precautions when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination of other products that have not undergone heat treatment. Refrain from eating raw or half-baked foods of animal origin.
Can I get COVID ‑ 19 from a pet?
No, to date there is no evidence of 2019-nCoV infections among pets (cats, dogs) or their spread of the virus.
Is the virus resistant?
Now the virus stability in the external environment is being studied, which today is considered approximately identical to the SARS virus, which was actively studied in 2003. The virus can remain viable for about 2-3 days on plastic, glass, furniture. The most dangerous environmental objects are smartphones, keyboards, computer mice, and water taps. If the virus gets on some kind of water-absorbing surface, for example, paper or cotton cloth, it remains viable from 5 minutes to 1 hour. Experts say that the virus in most cases does not retain the ability to infect a person. This once again emphasizes that transmission of the virus in the premises is practically excluded. Do not deprive yourself of ways to enrich your life with numerous goods!
Is coronavirus treatable?
Now the Chinese are currently publishing updated protocols for doctors. This is done so that doctors do not guess and experiment on how to isolate and in what doses to prescribe corticosteroids. The prophylactic use of antibiotics is also unacceptable, the mode of ventilation of the lungs is described.
Conducting very intensive experiments with antiviral treatment, several combinations are supposed to work. It is, for example, a combination of two drugs that were used to treat HIV infection and classic oseltamivir. Since all these drugs have enough side effects, they are used only when there is nowhere to go. There are options when it helps, but all this is at the experiment stage. Therefore, it is impossible to recommend antiviral treatment or to claim that it even exists. The main thing is that you understand that the work is underway.
So, according to CDC estimates, today there is a low incidence of influenza. This season, 19 million cases of influenza were registered in the United States, while 180 thousand people were hospitalized and 10 thousand died, of which 68 were children. And the CDC emphasizes that this year the incidence and mortality are lower than usual. This is despite the fact that there are vaccines against influenza and there are antiviral drugs against influenza with proven effectiveness.
A coronavirus patient is doomed to death or can the body cope itself?
The probability of recovery exceeds 98%. Yes, the mortality rate is 2.1%, but now half of the cases are not detected. A huge number of mild cases are not diagnosed. When a person sniffs a little and feels rather well, he or she is very dangerous and can spread the infection. Now a huge number of mild cases are ignored, therefore, in fact, mortality is much lower than 2%. Therefore, the chances of recovery are almost maximum, especially if you are a young and healthy person.
Are the corpses of people who die from coronavirus dangerous?
Viruses do not live in dead bodies. These are silly rumors that have nothing to do with realities.
Is coronavirus afraid of bleach?
Coronavirus is afraid of high concentrations of chlorine, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, basic disinfectants, especially specialized for medical institutions. When used properly, they kill the virus.
Can coronavirus be called «the plague of the 21st century»?
No, it can’t. the mortality rate of the plague is above 95%, and here it is only 2%. For example, only 10 people will be infected with coronavirus on a ship with 3,711 people where one patient spreads the infection. If there were one plague patient instead, there would be 3,711 corpses.
Why did the WHO sound the alarm if more people die from ordinary flu than from coronavirus?
The unknown always scares – we do not know where the virus came from, we do not even fully understand the transmission route. This is a disease that can potentially kill people, but we have the ability to localize it with vigorous efforts, so the WHO has sounded the alarm. It is precisely organizational measures that require coordination of a huge number of countries and people. This is likely to lead us to success, we will win.
Now there are numerous rumors and talk about the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. People say: “Imagine, in July-August this year, thousands of athletes and millions of fans will come from China to Tokyo. Maybe it’s time to cancel it or move it somewhere? ” You might think that if you move it to New Zealand, then Chinese athletes will not come there. When the Zika virus appeared in 2016, everyone panicked, but then everything went away, even the Brazilian economy grew.
Will quartz lamps help?
Quartz lamps can really kill viruses in a room, but as soon as a sick person enters this room, the air will instantly fill with a virus. Therefore, quartz lamps do not make sense where people constantly go. They make sense only in medical institutions, where a quartz lamp is turned on at the end of work a quartz lamp is turned on and it turned off at the beginning of the working day.
How many people have recovered?
There are hundreds of them. We are sure that every day the number of recovered people will grow rapidly.
Pay attention to real statistics. The chances that this virus will bypass you are very high. The efforts of the international community and China are sincerely respected. Once again we ask you to remain optimistic, take a walk, demand from your authorities the protection of health workers and adequate statistics.
Category: Health and Wellness | Tags: coronavirus, diseases, Epidemiology, health problems, viruses