What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
What is a novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illnesses.
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1930s when an acute respiratory infection of domesticated chickens was shown to be caused by the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). In the 1940s, two more animal coronaviruses, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), were isolated.
Some frequently asked questions along with their answers are as follows:
Can humans become infected with a novel coronavirus of animal sources?
Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans in China in 2002 and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. As surveillance improves around the world, more coronaviruses are likely to be identified.
What are the symptoms of someone infected with a coronavirus?
It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Can coronaviruses be transmitted from person to person?
Yes, some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household workplace, or health care center.
Is there a vaccine for a novel coronavirus?
When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take several years for a new vaccine to be developed.
Is there a treatment for a novel coronavirus?
There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment based on the patient’s clinical condition. Moreover, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.
What can I do to protect myself?
Standard recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices and avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Are health workers at risk from a novel coronavirus?
Yes, they can be, as health care workers come into contact with patients more often than the general public WHO recommends that health care workers consistently apply appropriate discipline to deal with the disease.
What WHO recommendations for countries?
WHO encourages all countries to enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), to carefully review any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases and to notify WHO of any suspected or confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus.
Countries are encouraged to continue strengthening their preparedness for health emergencies in line with the International Health Regulations (2005).
To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:
*Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
*Avoid touching your face.
*Maintain at least 1-meter distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
*Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
*Stay home if you feel unwell.
*Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
*Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.
The COVID-19 virus affects different people in different ways. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical conditions and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
Common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
*shortness of breath
*aches and pains
*and very few people will report diarrhea, nausea or a runny nose.
People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should self-isolate and contact their medical provider or a COVID-19 information line for advice on testing and referral.
People with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should call their doctor and seek medical attention.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing, or physical distancing, is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other. It involves keeping a distance of six feet or two meters from others and avoiding gathering together in large groups.
Social distancing measures date back to at least the fifth century BCE. The biblical book of Leviticus contains one of the earliest known references to the practice, likely a response to leprosy. Further Jewish writings built upon this foundation. Rabbinic literature — as universally shared before the advent of germ theory — did not recognize the origin of contagious diseases, but did show that there was knowledge of the value of social isolation in preventing their transmission. During the Plague of Justinian, emperor Justinian enforced an ineffective quarantine on the Byzantine Empire, including dumping bodies into the sea, blaming the widespread outbreak predominately on “Jews, Samaritans, pagans, heretics, Arians, Montanists, and homosexuals. In modern times, social distancing measures have been successfully implemented in several previous epidemics. In St. Louis, shortly after the first cases of influenza were detected in the city during the 1918 flu pandemic, authorities implemented school closures, bans on public gatherings, and other social distancing interventions. The death rates in St. Louis were much less than in Philadelphia, which despite having cases of influenza, allowed a mass parade to continue and did not introduce social distancing until more than two weeks after its first cases. Social distancing has also been used during the 2019-20 coronavirus epidemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have described social distancing as a set of “methods for reducing frequency and closeness of contact between people to decrease the risk of transmission of disease”.During the 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic, the CDC revised the definition of social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately six feet or two meters) from others when possible.
Previously, in 2009, the WHO described social distancing as “keeping at least an arm’s length distance from others and minimizing gatherings”. It is combined with good respiratory hygiene and handwashing and is considered the most feasible way to reduce or delay a pandemic.
“Flatten the curve” redirects here.
Social distancing helps prevent a sharp peak of infections (“flattens the epidemic curve”) to keep healthcare services from being overwhelmed. Knowing that disease is circulating may trigger a change in behavior by people choosing to stay away from public places and other people. When implemented to control epidemics, such social distancing can result in benefits but with an economic cost. Research indicates that measures must be applied rigorously and immediately to be effective. Several social distancing measures are used to control the spread of contagious illnesses.
*Avoiding physical contact
*Canceling mass gatherings
*Quarantine of possible cases
why social distancing matter?
It’s important to keep in mind that even though you may feel fine, you can still be a carrier of the virus and transmit it to others.
If you’ve had COVID-19 and recovered, there’s not enough available information to determine how long you can still spread the virus.
Even though social distancing is slow to take off, this is something medical professionals expect and have prepared for.
“We don’t expect to see immediate results with social distancing,” said Dr. Vanessa Raabe, an infectious disease allergy and immunology specialist at NYU Langone Health in New York. “[Social distancing] won’t bring transmission down to zero. But it will lessen ongoing transmissions.”
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