Almost with the rise of New Year 2020 the entire world had started to wake up to the threat of a new deadly infectious disease named later as Novel Corona Virus disease, abbreviated as Covid 19 (19 added as it was discovered in 2019). The transmission speed of the disease worldwide has been unprecedented. Today, almost the entire world stands threatened by the Covid 19 disease. The virus is linked to the same family of SARS viruses (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) but is a new kind of virus. The outbreak of the infectious disease started in December 2019 in Wuhan city in China through a food market. Soon it spread to America, Italy, France, India and other countries through human to human contacts. The global confirmed cases of the affected people are consistently rising. As I am putting down these words, the worldwide count stands at 16,114,449 which include 646,641 deaths as per World Health Organization’s (WHO) update. The United States of America, Brazil, India and Russia are some of the major countries which are worst affected. The disease has given even a bigger blow to world economy due to prolonged lockdown of all economic activities which is suffering losses to the tunes of trillions of Dollars. Job losses and migration of workers is a bigger social problem with masses facing consequent physical and emotional uphill. The situation is not likely to be brought under control very soon till the ongoing clinical trials of vaccine in few countries achieve a breakthrough and is launched worldwide. There is no corner of the world left today which has not heard about the deadly disease. Few countries including US are alleging that China has delayed to alert the world about the deadly infectious disease deliberately and are demanding thorough investigation of the neglect. Some are even demanding compensations for the loss. Whatever could be the real picture, the entire world is paying a heavy price with loss of precious lives and collapsing of economies today, while China seems to have already recovered the situation. Now, the world has started realizing that the year 2020 is to just save lives leaving aside all other priorities. To save the life, proper knowledge of the infectious disease is necessary. With this view in focus, here is a piece of article “All You Wanted to Know About Covid 19”.
What is Covid 19
Covid 19 is a dead, non living poisonous virus which affects throat and lungs of the patient. It is basically respiratory tract infection affecting upper tracts like sinuses, nose and throat and lower tracts like windpipe and lungs. It is covered by a layer of fat and when it is inside the body it multiplies itself by millions infecting the host cells to which they bind to leading to pneumonia type of disease. In late December 2019 and early January 2020, news had started pouring through statements from Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in Hubei province of China about cluster of cases of Viral Pneumonia. China had sent an alert to WHO on 31st December 2019 of incidents of several flu like cases in Wuhan. It was in early March 2020 that WHO declared the Covid 19 as a global pandemic as the cases continued to rapidly spread globally. It was also advised that the spread is caused mainly from “human to human” transmission. The spread is primarily through droplets of human saliva which comes out in air when the infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets are observed to be relatively heavier and therefore cannot travel long distances. They quickly sink to the ground or to the surrounding surfaces of the objects. If any healthy person comes into contact of these droplets, he can catch the infection. Eyes, nose, and mouth of a healthy person can catch this infection and make him sick. It is also found that the Covid 19 affects different people in different ways.
What are the Symptoms of Covid 19
The infected person shows similar symptoms as that of influenza; flu or common cold. The most common symptoms are;
- Moderate to high fever
- Dry cough
- Body aches and pains
- Sore throat
- Los of taste or smell
- Skin rashes or discoloration of fingers and toes
There are other serious symptoms like;
- Breathlessness or shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Loss of speech or movement
Normally, it takes five to seven days for a normal person affected by Covid 19 to manifest the symptoms. However, in some cases, it takes up to two weeks or fourteen days to get the symptoms.
Older people, children, pregnant women and people with severe medical conditions like diabetes, lung disease, heart problems, cancer etc. and people with lower immunity level are considered to be at the high risk of serious complications. However, people of any age can get infected by the virus and therefore need to be careful. Avoid going to the crowded places is prescribed as the best course to follow to avoid getting infection.
At present, there are no vaccines available for prevention and treatment of Covid 19. But as the clinical trials are under ways in few countries, it is most likely that a vaccine should be available till this year end. Till that, one has to keep fingers crossed and take all precautions.
How to Protect Oneself from Covid 19?
It has been found that around 75% – 80% people recover from the Covid 19 disease without needing any treatment at hospitals. Infected people with serious complications like breathlessness need to be hospitalized. As soon as a person feels any symptoms, he is advised to call on a physician or health care provider so that he can get proper advice and directed to proper tests and clinical advice. In case of mild symptoms, home care and self isolation is considered safe and enough.
As the disease transmission is from human to human contact through the droplets of saliva, the best protection is to avoid human contacts, keep safe distance of around two meters; typically called today as social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently with soap and sanitizing hands frequently with alcohol based sanitizer and avoid touching the face by hands. By washing hands and sanitizing with alcohol based sanitizers, the thin layer of fat around the virus is broken and the virus gets disintegrated and washed away. Doctors advise use of clinical masks to protect others. If one does not have any symptoms, then there is no need to wear mask but when one is moving out, it is essential to use proper masks to avoid getting infected through human contacts outside.
Why Self Isolation?
If a person has mild symptoms, he/she is generally advised to stay at home under self isolation. He/she is not expected to go outside to work or mix with other people as other people coming in contact can get infected. Serious symptoms need clinical advice and the person needs to be hospitalized. The person with mild symptoms is advised to remain isolated in his/her room with bathroom and toilet facility for 14 days or till the test report does not show absence of the virus. The person is also required to keep at least 2 meter distance from his/her family members as they too are likely to be infected if they come in close contact. His health parameters like temperature and oxygen level in blood are required to be monitored regularly. Pulse-oximeters are cheaply available in the market today. If oxygen level is above 95%, it is normal but below it, could be a cause of concern. If one develops breathing troubles, the person is required to contact the health care provider immediately.
The disease also takes a greater toll on the mental and physical health and wellness of the affected person and he/she needs to take all precautions for a longer time after recovery. The infected person as well as the family members and loved ones need to stay energized with positivity and offer closer support and care to each other.
Why Lockdown was necessary?
As the disease spread from human to human contacts, the best way to stay away from getting infected is to avoid physical contacts and mass gatherings. In order to protect rapid spread of the disease, many countries worldwide had ordered prolonged lockdown quarantining the people at their homes. India, France, China, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and United Kingdom are the few major countries which imposed lockdown of varying periods. Now, many countries have started the unlocking process to save the economic costs and also keeping in view the fact of increasing awareness of the disease among masses. The lockdown process has certainly delayed the rapid spread of the disease and saved millions of lives too from deaths.
What are remedies?
At present, there is no well proven medicine to fight the pandemic. There are numerous traditional medicines including home remedies which may offer comfort and alleviate health. Only course of action required by all is to protect yourself and others from getting infected or spreading the infectious disease and staying physically active and fit.
And let us wait for the vaccine to be available for complete cure and prevention.
Stay Healthy, Stay Safe.