On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO), declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a global pandemic. This basically means that it is now prevalent around the world.
According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom,
We have made this assessment for two main reasons: first, because of the speed and scale of transmission. Almost 125,000 cases have now been reported to WHO, from 118 countries and territories. Second, despite our frequent warnings, we are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it.
The situation is serious, and the incessant spread of misinformation doesn’t help. This is why we have collated all the information you need to know right here. Read on to know everything about COVID-19.
Please note: All information has been sourced from WHO and is relevant as of 13th March 2020.
What Is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. It’s an infectious disease and was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan in China, in December 2019.
What Are The Symptoms Of Covid-19?
According to the WHO, the symptoms of infection include fever, tiredness, dry cough, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.
Symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. The incubation period, that is, the amount of time between infection and onset of symptoms is between 1 and 14 days. However, sometimes infected people may not display any symptoms. Anyone experiencing cough, difficulty breathing and fever should seek immediate medical attention.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are at a higher risk.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
According to the WHO, it spreads when an infected person releases small droplets from the nose or mouth when coughing or exhaling. These droplets land on surfaces which when touched by others, who then touch their faces, can spread the infection. It can also be spread when they are inhaled by someone.
Here are the measures that have been taken in countries like India, China, Italy, USA, Iran and South Korea to prevent the virus from spreading.
Is There A Vaccine, Drug Or Treatment For COVID-19?
According to WHO, there is no vaccine or medicine to prevent or treat this coronavirus yet. Those affected should seek medical care to relieve the symptoms and be hospitalised. Most patients recover with supportive care.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?
Reduce your chances of being infected or spreading the disease by following these steps:
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with a hand sanitiser or soap and water, as this kills the viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Follow good respiratory hygiene, that is, covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
- Keep yourself updated on the cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely. If possible, avoid travel.
Protection measures for those who are in or have recently visited areas where COVID-19 is spreading:
- Follow the guidance outlined above.
- Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms, until you recover. If it is essential for you to go out, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people.
- Avoid contact with others.
- If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly by calling in advance. This will allow your health care provider to direct you to the right health facility and help prevent the possible spread of the virus.
Should You Wear A Mask?
Only those who are ill with COVID-19 symptoms or are looking after someone who may have COVID-19 should wear masks. And if you aren’t in this situation, please don’t buy or wear masks. Disposable face masks can only be used once and there is a worldwide shortage of masks for those who absolutely need it—patients, doctors, and medical caregivers.
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