Coronavirus: The deadly pandemic holding the world hostage

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The name coronavirus originated from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. The new virus has wreaked havoc and caused fear in the entire globe sweeping both poor and rich countries, irrespective of race, gender, religion, social status or geographical location.

What is coronavirus?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines coronavirus as a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Covid-2019, another name of coronavirus, has a close connection to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).  SARS erupted in China in 2002 and 2003 and spread in 26 countries. It killed about 800 people and infected more than 8,000. It was initially transmitted to human by civet cats, but later, human to human transmission was confirmed.

MERS, on the other hand, was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 before spreading to other countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control  (CDC), those infected with the disease exhibited severe respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Above 2,000 cases were reported and nearly 900 deaths.

Origin of coronavirus

The new strain of coronavirus originated from a “wet market” in the Chinese city of Wuhan in the Hubei province. The market deals in the sale of both dead and live animals. With the first case reported in December 2019, it remains unclear how the deadly virus first spread to humans, but some health experts have noted that it came from bats, whereas others suggest pangolins.

How Covid-19 spreads

Human to human transmission has been confirmed. The coronavirus spread commonly through close contact with those infected. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, he or she produces droplets that can enter the mouth, eye or nose of someone sitting next to him or her causing infection.

Besides, when droplets expelled by the infected person land on surfaces and objects and an uninfected person touches those objects and surfaces they are likely to pick the virus.

Symptoms of Covid-19

The WHO has listed the following as the symptoms of the contagious virus: fever, dry coughs, fatigue and breathing difficulties. Some people may exhibit sore throat, running nose, diarrhoea, aches and pains. Others have been reported losing their smell or taste, according to a report published in The Guardian.

The symptoms appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, but some people may have it and fail to display any symptom.

How coronavirus can be prevented

There is still no treatment for the Covid-19 but health experts are urging people to avoid close contacts and practice a high level of hygiene to combat its spread.

Public gatherings like churches, markets, sports events, political rallies have been banned as the world grapple to contain the killer virus. Some countries have declared total or partial lockdown to make their people stay at home.   

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health agencies, the basic protective measures against the coronavirus are the following:

1. Regular washing of hands

It is advisable to wash your hands either with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with soap and (hot) water. Hand washing kills the virus that may be in your hands.

2. Keeping social distance

Keeping at least one and a half metres distance from an infected person will save you from breathing droplets the person expels when he or she coughs or sneezes. Practice self-isolation by staying at home, do not go to work and other public areas, avoid using public transport and taxis and let food be delivered to you instead of going to shop.

3.  Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Research has found that a human being touches his eye, nose and mouth over 15 times within an hour. Since hands can easily pick virus from the infected surfaces or objects, keep away from touching these parts of the body to avoid being infected.

4. Wear face mask

Face mask applies only to those who are sick. A person who is ill should wear a face mask when he or she is interacting with other people. For those not infected, you are urged to wear masks only when you are caring for a sick person. It is important to say that not every facemask is effective. If possible, use government approved facemask.

5. Clean and disinfect

Frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home should be cleaned and disinfected daily. The surfaces and objects include doorknobs, desks, phones, keyboards, light switches, toilets, sinks, tables, handles, countertops and faucets.

6. Drink frequently

Numerous research works have shown that coronavirus stays in the throat about 3 days before it goes to the lung. Frequent drinking of water could help avoid the virus reaching the lung and causing severe health problems. Constant drinking of water, about every 15 minutes, could help wash the virus from the throat down to the stomach, where it can be killed by the gastric acid of the stomach. After the virus has stayed in the throat for three days, it goes to the lung. In most cases, the virus destroys the lung cells and causes lung infections. At the stage, it causes serious breathing difficulties on the patients, which in most cases, can only be remedied using the breathing machine.

7. Use of medicinal ginger, sage, lemon

At the early stage, use of ginger, lemon, salt, pepper could help minimize the risk of coronavirus while in the throat before it goes to the lung, however, this is by no means a cure to the virus. So far, coronavirus has no cure and the best way to avoid the virus is a virtual self-quarantine.

How far the virus has spread?

As of March 30, 2020, 199 countries have confirmed cases of coronavirus. The report compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicates that over 769,826 people have been infected and above 35,000 have died of the disease.

The United States leads with the number of infections at over 156, 352. Other countries with a high number of infections are Italy 101,739, Spain 85,195 and China 81,470.

Likewise, Italy has recorded the highest number of deaths with a death toll standing at 11,591 followed by Spain 7,340. With +812 deaths Italy has the highest number of deaths per day, followed by Spain with 537 deaths. With only about 4 deaths today, China, where the virus originated from, seems to have effectively reduced the spread of the virus –  for now.

For the daily / latest statistics on coronavirus, click on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

We at Kata Kata cartoon Magazine, implore you to observe all the protective measures instituted by the health experts and authorities to minimize the spread of the deadly disease. Avoid necessary travels and visits, stay at home and maintain hygiene. We value your life.