With about 0.4 million people infected worldwide, economies crumbling under the pressure of isolations and curfews trying to limit the destruction, the entire mankind is definitely experiencing one of the worst phases of their lives, only because of having no immediate ability to control a germ – the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
The article aims to investigate in detail the advent and transmission of the coronavirus or COVID-19 and its attack on the human body. Also, guiding its reader about the possible preventive and sustainable measures that they can take, alongside warning them of the health tips myths that are circulating on or beyond the internet related to the virus and trying to remove any misconception.
What is coronavirus – the 2020 pandemic?
Corona is a Latin word which means crown. The name given to the COVID-19 virus is corona because of its structure; when observed under a microscope the shape of the virus is seen to be spherical with spikes on its surface which resemble a crown.
On the show of Jeremy Vine, virologist Dr. Chris Smith talked a great deal about the new virus. He even educated people about the size of the virus by saying “If you took a ruler and you took the first one millimeter of the ruler, you could pack 10,000 of these coronaviruses side-by-side into the first millimeter of the ruler, they’re really tiny”.
Coronaviruses are viruses of several types that can take a leap from animals to humans meaning they’re zoonotic in nature. This can be said because as per research the genetic makeup of COVID-19 resembles that of a bat. But how did the virus jump from a bat (probably) to humans?
Because the virus broke out in Wuhan, it has been estimated the pandemic’s source could be the seafood and wildlife under-the-counter trade market in Wuhan, China. Since then, the novel coronavirus has embarked on a journey to infect humans of all ages, strata, and creeds; trespassing all boundaries, it has traveled to 192 countries as of the date and is still in a state of unrest.
How coronavirus (COVID-19) Spread:
It is important to understand why this virus could travel 192 countries in a matter of just four months (counting from December 2019 to March 2020). This virus, like any other kind of virus, is transmitted via droplets. To make it simpler for you to understand, I will use alphabetical letters to explain the chain of transmission.
When Mr. A in Wuhan got infected with the virus by consuming something or coming in contact with something that was infected, he developed symptoms. The symptoms were (intensity and order of the symptoms may vary from person to person):
- Extreme headaches
- Fever above 37.8 degrees Celsius
- Cold and flu
- Sore and aching throat with dry cough
- Difficulty in eating or drinking because of the soreness in the throat
- Muscle pain or joint pain
- Growing difficulty in breathing
- Heaviness in chest
Since this virus travels in the form of droplets, whenever and wherever Mr. A coughed or sneezed that place became infected. When Mr. A used his hand to cover his mouth to prevent the droplets from escaping, his hands also became infected. If Mr. A coughed or sneezed on Mr. B by mistake, Mr. B also became infected.
Now when Mr. C came in contact with the surface that Mr. A had sneezed or coughed on or had touched with his hands, he became infected too. In this manner, these three people then created a multiplier effect, unintentionally transmitting the virus at an exponential rate to thousands of other people.
How COVID-19 Attacks the Human Body:
The virus aims to settle at the backside of the throat of the human body. When a person comes in contact with a person or surface that was infected, the virus finds ways through his hands or other parts of the body to reach his face, from where it can easily reach the throat via the mouth, nose or eyes.
Once it has reached its destination – the throat – it starts multiplying. This multiplication causes a human to feel soreness in the throat and eventually the difficulty in breathing.
As Dr. Chris describes it “they go into your cells, hijack your cells in your nose and throat and then turn them into virus factories”. The human may then start to feel some or all of the symptoms mentioned above.
When we look at the rate of death and recovery from COVID-19 we find that roughly there is a 5% chance of death and a 95% chance of recovery from this virus. It does not mean that out of all the people infected randomly 5% will have worsening conditions and will die out.
It is because some coronaviruses are more dangerous than others and only the more cruel ones pose the greatest threat. Nevertheless, there are other factors that come into play too.
Our immune system is the soldier that nature has implanted within us to combat diseases. However, some people may have a better immune response than others. The age of the patient is a very important factor in identifying his chances of survival during the infection.
Young people have a higher chance of fighting off the disease as their immunity is tougher than that of the older generation, therefore, the grandparents are the most vulnerable.
Moreover, people who have their immunes weakened by malnutrition, immunosuppressive drugs or other illnesses are also prone to being critically ill on catching the COVID-19.
The war between the virus and the immune system takes roughly 7 to 14 days, after which the human body begins to realize who is winning, if the immune is winning they begin to see signs of betterment and the virus just quits and in a case where the virus is winning, their situation gets worse and they may need to be provided with intensive care as their lungs become incapable of taking in the air because the virus spreads in them.
Preventive Measures for Coronavirus (COVID-19):
The travel history of the virus and its brutality on humans may seem disturbing, but the disastrous effects of the contagion can be contained if everyone acts responsibly and adopts all possible cautions to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The following are some basic preventive measures that need to be followed to curb the spread of the virus.
1. Clean your hands often
Using an alcohol sanitizer or lathering hands for 20 seconds with a soap is essential. As for the latter, rub every nook and corner of your hands and then wash properly. In case your hands have caught the virus by coming in contact with infected humans or surfaces, the act of washing your hands frequently will rid them of all germs.
It is particularly important to clean our hands because humans voluntarily and involuntarily touch their faces a lot. According to a study conducted at the University of North-South Wales, Australia, students were observed to touch their faces some 23 times in the span of an hour!
Moreover, random people were selected from public places in Brazil and America and it was observed that they touched surfaces and then with the same hand touched their mouths or noses more than three times in an hour.
2. Wear a facemask if you are sick
Wear a mask so that your nose and mouth aren’t exposed to your own or any foreign touch. Hiding the bottom half of your face protects your own cough or sneeze droplets from escaping and infecting others and it can also protect your face from receiving droplets from a foreign body too.
3. Clean and disinfect
The virus can stay on surfaces for a long time and can spread the disease rapidly, which is why it is extremely necessary to clean the surfaces with a proper disinfectant.
Additionally, it is advised to take this matter seriously and maintain strict social distancing. Most of the corporations worldwide have encouraged employees to “work from home”. The idle population is also instructed to remain indoors and avoid gatherings of any kind.
4. Avoid close contact
Protective gear is a must for those who are in direct contact with the coronavirus patients. Doctors, nurses and all medical staff must wear protective gear as advised by the World Health Organization.
Alongside covering the whole body, the costume aims to cover the remaining exposed body parts too by suggesting that the medical team wears gloves, goggles, masks and whatever is needed to save them from the virus.
Airports are the entrance gateways for coronaviruses. The virus didn’t buy a ticket and boarded a plane to enter a new country, instead, it settled on a man who bought a ticket and boarded a plane. In this manner, the virus was able to move from country to country and city to city. The best way to break the chain of spread is to properly screen passengers at airports before letting them inside a country.
Coronavirus: Some Persistent Myths set Straight:
A myth is a by-product of social responses to a new situation, and unfortunately, it has the tendency to spread like wildfire. However, it is essential to watch out for any such disinformation and clarify things to as many people as we can. Few myths related to the coronavirus are clarified below based on the World Health Organization.
1. High temperatures will kill the virus altogether
Some people are of the view that the novel virus can be killed by summer temperatures. First of all, any virus will die when temperatures reach around 50 degrees Celcius or more. But that will not mark an end to the pandemic as the virus will be traveling in humans and they can still act as its spreading agents.
2. Chloroquine will help
Another popular belief among people is that Chloroquine might be a possible cure for this killer disease. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The vaccine for coronavirus has not been invented up till now, even though the research centers around the world are working tirelessly to produce it.
Do not take any medicine just because you got to know about its benefits through the grapevine; consult a physician when needed. Also, antibiotics only cure bacterial infections and they are not an antidote for viruses.
3. The mosquitoes are the culprit
The virus is transmitted via contact or droplets and not by mosquitoes. The internet is full of people believing that mosquitoes will harm them but that is not the case, mosquitoes do not carry the virus from person to person only sneeze or cough droplets and human-to-human contact promotes the spread.
4. Bathing in alcohol
Since the use of alcohol-based sanitizers is recommended in this scenario, people have begun thinking that the application of alcohol on the entire body will save them completely. That is not true. Bathing in alcohol is not the solution, you have to take care of yourself and others around you by following the correct preventive directions.
5. Fight corona with cow urine
Cow urine is considered to be extremely holy in the Hindu tradition. However, there have been no proven benefits of drinking cow urine in the case of the corona. According to the latest news surfacing regarding this matter, cow urine had no anti-viral characteristics and therefore it cannot treat the corona patients.
6. The virus was made in a lab
The internet is quick in blaming and gives instant verdicts. Like the verdict given by the internet that the virus was created in a lab and then got out of control. No that’s not true. Like I said earlier, the virus took a jump from animals to humans and that only happened when some kind of contact was established between the two. According to a study the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin, as scientists say.
7. Testing by suffocating
Some so-called experts are of the view that you can check if you have corona or not by holding your breath for 10 seconds. If can make it till the 10th second without coughing then you’re perfectly fine.
A disease that slowly discloses itself by releasing one symptom after the other cannot be simply identified by doing the 10-seconds-breath-challenge! Immunes vary and hence some people may be positive for corona and still be able to hold their breath for 10 seconds or more.
8. Garlic is the savior
Eating garlic can save the world right now is yet another false claim. Garlic is surely beneficial for health but is not a cure of COVID-19. And no combination of garlic, that is, garlic-with-water or garlic-with-bleach can help the sick, instead, this can be harmful so do not even try doing experiments like these.
The Way Forward with Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19):
The South Korean citizen, now identified as Patient 31 was responsible for spreading the virus to thousands of fellow Koreans because of his/her neglect. This is a severely irresponsible attitude during a time when the world is caught up in such a strange crisis. The only way to move forward at this time is by being safe for yourself and others.
Nobody knows when the scientific brains will reach a conclusion regarding the vaccination of COVID-19, but what we do know is that the virus is highly contagious and needs to be inhibited by humans themselves.
The concepts of quarantine, social distancing and isolation have hence been introduced on a large scale. When Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for coronavirus, they went in self-isolation. As that is the only way we can limit the damage.
In the wake of COVID-19, the economies, healthcare systems, and populations are seen collapsing; the only way we can beat this is by being careful and by being there for each other in monetary terms. We can learn from the recent charitable inspirational activities of celebrities and stars. Jimmy Fallon is donating huge amounts to Feeding America alongside praising their efforts.
Uncommon times call for uncommon measures; it is an ideal time for the redistribution of our incomes. The problem of income disparity prevails in almost all countries across the world and in the present times it can literally kill the underprivileged; it is binding on those with more resources to share with those who have less.
The panic buying behavior seen across the planet is therefore heart-breaking; it is not the time to hoard and be selfish, the right way is to buy only as per need so that the shelves of the grocery stores can ensure the survival of all human beings.