Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses that may be as mild as the common cold or as severe as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). There’s a new strain called Novel coronavirus (nCoV) that is previously unidentified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic ( transmittable between animals and humans). There are several other coronaviruses currently circulating in animals that have not yet affected humans.
How did the outbreak start?
The source of the coronavirus has been identified as the "wet market" in Wuhan which sells both live and dead animals including many types of fish and birds.
These markets increase the risk of viruses transmitted from animals to humans because hygiene standards tend to be low in places where live animals are kept and butchered. They also tend to be densely crowded, increasing the chances of a virus spread.
Could the outbreak grow bigger?
No one can reliably predict which way the disease will go but, based on its current trajectory, it will end up spreading to more countries, that affects many more people.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, tiredness and trouble breathing. The main list of acute symptoms at this time is a short one and can appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus,
How many people have died from the disease so far?
There have been a total of 276,479 Coronavirus cases. Of these, there have been 11,417 deaths. Out of which 3,262 deaths have been from China. the total number of people who’ve successfully recovered from the disease is 91,954.
Is the coronavirus in India?
Yes. There have been thousands of suspected cases with 271 confirmed coronavirus cases. The latest cases in India have been in Maharashtra (Pune and Nagpur), Punjab, Karnataka (Bangalore), Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. 3 cases have been from Ladakh and Tamil Nadu. Recently, a woman with no foreign tour history has tested positive for coronavirus. She is currently in quarantine.
Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
As of now, there is no exact treatment for COVID-19. Currently, doctors are trialling existing treatments for similar viruses such as H1N1 and HIV.
How is Coronavirus spread?
The Coronavirus is spread via droplets when a person sneezes or coughs. When these droplets land on surfaces, they get picked on people’s hands and spread further. When people touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes, they risk getting infected.
Where is the disease now?
Other than affecting a huge part of the population in China, the disease is now spread to 30 countries around the world, including Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. A large number of cases have also been reported in Italy, leading the authorities to impose a lockdown in some parts of the country. Iran and Australia are other countries that have been particularly affected.
Is there anything I should be doing to prepare?
Yes – there are plenty of basic precautions that can be taken to protect against Coronavirus. The following is the official precautionary measure issued by WHO:
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread viruses. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
What do I do, if I or someone I know gets ill?
If you or someone you know has a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately. Stay home if you feel unwell. Seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
How can I help?
The best thing for you to do as a citizen is listen to the orders issued by the govt. , stay in as much as possible and not panic. What you can do instead is be safe and use Coronavirus as a reminder to cherish and care for your lives always and not just when you’re afraid.