Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus): According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent reports, the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has claimed 106* lives and infected 4537* people in China. The virus whose spread began in the city of Wuhan (China) has not only expanded to other cities across China but has also spread worldwide.
With 56* cases reported from at least 14* countries, the World Health Organization has advised people to follow precautionary measures to prevent falling prey to this virus. Before we share the tips to prevent Novel Coronavirus, over here are some of the established facts about the lethal virus you need to know.
What Is Meant By 2019 Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus)?
The 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is an unknown virus that causes respiratory illnesses, ranging from common cold to acute respiratory syndrome.
It can spread from person-to-person and was first identified in the 1st week of January 2020 during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. It belongs to the family of viruses such as SARS and MERS.
Origination Of Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are an enormous family of viruses which can cause illnesses in animals such as camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Similar to MERS and SARS, these coronaviruses can rarely affect people and then spread between people.
Numerous studies in China report a link to an animal market in the city of Wuhan where the virus is suspected to have emerged from an animal source in this market.
Are people outside China at risk of 2019-nCoV Coronavirus?
Although the virus originated in a small city in China, it is now rapidly spreading across the entire country. Moreover, several cases have been reported in 14 countries outside China such as the US, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Nepal, France, and Sri Lanka.
According to data from the WHO as on 28th Jan 2020*, 56 cases have been confirmed in 14 countries outside China which conducts the global count to 4593. WHO has assessed 2019-nCoV as high risk across the globe with China is at an exceptionally elevated risk.
Transmission Of Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus)?
According to WHO and CDC, the other coronavirus Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), spread through the respiratory route via droplets which can be transmitted through a sneeze or cough.
This suggests that the mode of transmission of the Coronavirus might be similar. Hence, transmission between people can occur through droplets, by getting in close contact with the patient or by sharing objects of personal use.
However, the exact mode of transmission of the 2019 Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus) is not identified. Initially, it was suggested that the virus might have spread from animal to person. But, with the increasing number of cases in people who were not exposed to an animal market, it is believed that person-to-person transmission is equally possible.
As the data are limited, there is no explicit picture on how easily the virus spreads between people. Also, the fact that this recent strain of the coronavirus is novel to humans, the information related to its signs, modes of transmission and the source of infection is very limited.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of The Coronavirus?
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the patients suffering from 2019-nCoV have reported symptoms of mild to severe respiratory illnesses such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Diarrhea and vomiting, in some cases
In severe cases, pneumonia in both the lungs is equally seen (the WHO was alerted following severe cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, which lead to the identification of the 2019 n-CoV), which can eventually prove fatal. The symptoms are typically similar to the flu and flu-like diseases caused by other respiratory viruses.
Do People Without Any Symptoms Of Coronavirus Need To Be Worried?
CDC estimates that the incubation period of 2019-nCoV Coronavirus might range from 2-14 days. Incubation period represents the time between the exposure to the virus and the appearance of the symptoms.
Lamentably, there is no information if the infection can spread during an incubation period. But, to be on the more protected side, WHO has advised people who are ill or are suffering from respiratory illnesses to:
- Stay at home and receive sufficient rest.
- While you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with tissue papers.
- Sneeze into your elbow if you don’t receive access to tissue/handkerchief.
- Discard used tissues in a bin.
- Cleanse your hands after sneezing/coughing.
- Disinfect objects/surfaces you touch.
- Seek medical attention in case of fever, cough or difficulty in breathing.
How Do You Differentiate Between Normal Flu And Coronavirus Symptoms?
If someone comes with a respiratory disease, it is extremely challenging to distinguish between the flu and coronavirus by just looking at the symptoms. This is the reason that makes diagnosis important.
Your doctor may recommend lab tests (such as sputum and/or throat swab) to detect the virus and know if the symptoms are due to influenza virus, coronavirus or other respiratory viruses.
How Is The Treatment Of Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus) Done?
As of 28th Jan 2020, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the virus. The treatment in people infected with the coronavirus is aimed at relieving the symptoms and providing supportive care to the patient.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the 2019-nCoV?
No, antibiotics work only against bacteria and not against viruses. As 2019-nCoV is a viral infection, antibiotics should not be used as a means to prevent Coronavirus or treatment.
Does Coronavirus Affect Only Older People?
There are reports of teenagers, young adults and more elderly people falling prey to the new coronavirus in China. Consequently, it goes without saying that people of all ages can be infected by the Coronavirus virus.
However, more elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions might be more vulnerable to suffer from an infection and become severely ill.
Can Pets At Home Spread The 2019-nCoV Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus)?
At present, there is no evidence that pets such as dogs and cats can get infected with the virus and lead to transmit to humans.
However, it is always sensible to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets to lower the risk of infection.
Is There A Vaccine For The Coronavirus?
Unfortunately, there’s still no 2019-nCoV* vaccine presently available to prevent Coronavirus. The best way to stay protected and prevent coronavirus infection are to follow proper hygiene and stay away from people suffering from the condition.
Has Anyone In India Been Affected With Coronavirus?
According to the Union Health Minister of India, no confirmed case of Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus) has been reported in India till 28th Jan 2020. There were a number of suspected cases reported across the country, and the samples were requested for testing. However, the results turned out negative.
Should I Be Worried About 2019-nCoV Being In India?
The Indian Government has released an advisory for people traveling from China and has set up thermal screening counters at all International airports across the country.
However, we should follow everyday prevention tips to prevent Coronavirus and to be on a more cautious side to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses as the virus can spread from a sick person via respiratory droplets and close contact.
Prevention Of Yourself From The Coronavirus?
These few simple habitual preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including the 2019-nCoV.
- Try and prevent direct contact with ill patients.
- Do not touch your lips, your nose and your mouth with unwashed hands.
- Washing your hands mostly for at least 20 seconds with lukewarm soapy water.
- If there is no soap and water convenient, use an alcohol-concentrated hand sanitizer instead.
- Stay home when you are ill, but consult a doctor if you suffer from fever, cough or breathing difficulty.
- Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If you wear a mask, make sure it covers your mouth and nose and avoid fondling it once it’s on.
- Always discard a single use mask after each use and wash your hands after eradicating it.
If you have traveled to China since January 1, 2020, and you suffer from fever, cough, or breathing difficulties, seek urgent medical attention and do inform your doctor about the travel history.
What Is The Indian Government Undertaking To Prevent Coronavirus?
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India has issued a helpline number (+91-11-23978046) to prevent Coronavirus and seek any help or solve any query related to Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus).
The Government has also appealed to passengers who have traveled to China since 1st January, 2020, to please come forward for self-reporting to the call center and visit the nearest health facility if experiencing fever, cough or breathing difficulties, and also inform their doctor about the travel history.