Covid-19 Coronavirus: symptoms, safety tips, and updated numbers

March 3, 2020 | Environment
Covid-19 Coronavirus: wash your hands and wear a mask | Photo: Creative Commons

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses, consisting of a core of genetic material surrounded by an envelope of proteins spikes, which gives it the appearance of a crown.

In Latin, the word crown is called "corona" - that's how these viruses get their name.

There are different types of coronaviruses that cause respiratory and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms.

Respiratory symptoms can range from the common cold to pneumonia, but, in most people, the symptoms tend to be mild.

However, some types of coronaviruses can cause severe disease. These include SARS-Coronavirus (China 2003) and MERS-Coronavirus (Saudi Arabia, 2012).

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) was first identified in 2019, in China, with a group of people with pneumonia, who'd been associated with seafood and animal markets in Wuhan.

The disease has since spread from the sick to others, including family members and healthcare staff.

There are many cases at present and has spread within China and other countries.

The Origin of Covid-19 Coronavirus

It's known that the coronaviruses circulate in a range of animals and, sometimes, they can make the jump from animals to humans.

This is called a spillover that can be caused by mutations in the virus or increased interaction between humans and animals, like MERS from dromedary camels and SARS from civet cats.

The animal reservoir of the 2019 coronavirus is not known yet.

Covid-19 Coronavirus: a core of genetic material surrounded by an envelope of proteins spikes

The Transmission of Covid-19

The exact dynamic of how the virus is transmitted is yet to be determined.

But we know know that it is spread from person to person, mainly through the droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes.

These tiny droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.

But they are also too heavy to travel far in the air, so they only travel approximately one meter and quickly settle on surfaces.

This is the reason person-to-person spread is happening mainly between close contacts.

The exact time that the virus can survive on surfaces is not yet known, so it is wise to clean surfaces regularly, particularly in the vicinity of people infected with Covid-19.

Hands touch many surfaces that can be contaminated with the virus.

You should, therefore, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth since contaminated hands can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

The Covid-19 Symptoms

The current official estimated range for the novel coronavirus incubation period is of 2-14 days.

There could be a wide number of symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

They include fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, pneumonia in both lungs, sore throat, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms.

In some patients - particularly the elderly and others with chronic health conditions - these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and kidney failure.

Nevertheless, 80 percent of cases are mild and can recover at home.

The symptoms last from approximately two-to-six weeks, depending on whether it's a mild case or critical disease.

The death rate is higher in men than in women.

The Covid-19 Diagnosis

The infection can be diagnosed with a test known as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This test identifies the virus-based off its genetic fingerprint.

There's currently no known medication for the virus, and treatment is supportive care. There is currently no vaccine to protect from the virus.

Treatments and vaccines are in development.

Protection from Covid-19

There are several measures you can adopt to protect yourself and others from getting the new Coronavirus.

The Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak has been spreading all over the world, so it is recommended the adoption of a few standard hygiene practices to protect against infection.

The most effective way to protect yourself from the new Coronavirus is to  wash your hands frequently with soap and running water or rub your hands with an alcohol-based hand gel.

This will eliminate the virus. Do it when your hands are visibly dirty. If your hands are not visibly dirty, wash your hands:

a) after coughing or sneezing;
b) when caring for the sick;
c) before, during and after you prepare food;
d) before eating;
e) after toilet use;
f) when hands are visibly dirty;
g) after handling animals or animal waste;

Also, avoid close contact with those who are not feeling well.

It is also important to protect others from getting sick.

If you just have mild respiratory symptoms and no specific travel history, carefully follow the precautions and make sure you stay home until recovery.

It's important to stay home if you're feeling unwell, but if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or use the disposable tissue.

If a tissue is used discarded, immediately throw it into a closed bin.

Medical masks and the Covid-19 Coronavirus: you must combine them with hand hygiene and other preventive measures | Photo: Creative Commons

Can Masks Protect Against the New Covid-19 Coronavirus Infection?

Simple medical masks cannot protect against the new Coronavirus when used alone. When you wear them, you must combine them with hand hygiene and other preventive measures.

The World Health Organization (WHO) only recommends the use of masks in specific cases.

If you have a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, you should wear a mask and seek medical care.

If you do not have these symptoms, you do not have to wear masks because there is no evidence that they protect people who are not sick.

However, if you are healthy, but you are taking care of a person who may be infected with the new Coronavirus, then you should wear a mask whenever you are in the same room with that person.

And remember if you choose to wear a mask, use it and discard it properly and clean your hands with alcohol hand rub or soap and water.

Wearing and Disposing of Masks

If you decide to wear a simple medical mask that is pleated and flat, it is important to wear and discard it correctly.

Otherwise, instead of protecting you, the mask becomes a source of infection because of the germs that may stay on it.

To wear it correctly, you should locate the metal strip at the top of the mask, place over your nose bridge, secure the elastics around your ears, or tie the strings behind your head.

Make sure it covers your nose mouth and chin.

While in use, do not touch the front of your mask. To remove the mask, take the elastics from around your ears or untie the strings behind your head.

Do not touch the front of the mask as it may be contaminated.

Remove the mask and discard it in a closed bin. Cleanse your hands with alcohol hand rub or soap and water.

Hand hygiene should be done if you accidentally touch the front of your mask while wearing.

If your mask becomes damp or humid, replace it with a new dry mask.

Never reuse single-use masks and discard them immediately into closed bins after each use.

Novel coronavirus Covid-19: the pandemic started in China and spread quickly across the world | Photo: Creative Commons

Avoid Close Contact With Anyone Who Has Fever and Cough

The new Coronavirus can spread through respiratory droplets, which are liquids that may come out when we cough or sneeze.

For this reason, it's very important to avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough or other respiratory symptoms.

In practical terms, we recommend keeping at least one meter distance from a sick person. Also, you should avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing people with these symptoms.

If you need to take care of a person who has fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, do not forget to wear a mask and, in particular, to practice hand hygiene.

Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreak | Confirmed Cases and Deaths (01/04)

Cases: 882,068
Deaths: 44,136 (19 percent)
Recovered: 185,067 (81 percent)

Country

United States
Italy
Spain
China
Germany
France
Iran
United Kingdom
Switzerland
Belgium
Netherlands
Turkey
Austria
South Korea
Canada
Portugal
Brazil
Israel
Sweden
Australia
Norway
Czech Republic
Ireland
Denmark
Malaysia
Japan
Russia
Chile
Romania
Poland
Philippines
Ecuador
Luxembourg
Pakistan
Thailand
Indonesia
India
Saudi Arabia
Finland
South Africa
Greece
Mexico
Panama
Iceland
Dominican Republic
Peru
Argentina
Croatia
Singapore
Colombia
Serbia
Slovenia
Qatar
Estonia
Hong Kong
Algeria
Egypt
New Zealand
Iraq
Ukraine
UAE
Morocco
Lithuania
Armenia
Bahrain
Hungary
Lebanon
Bosnia/Herzegovina
Latvia
Bulgaria
Slovakia
Tunisia
Andorra
Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan
North Macedonia
Moldova
Costa Rica
Uruguay
Taiwan
Kuwait
Jordan
Cyprus
Burkina Faso
Albania
Réunion
San Marino
Cameroon
Vietnam
Oman
Afghanistan
Ghana
Senegal
Malta
Cuba
Côte d'Ivoire
Uzbekistan
Faroe Islands
Honduras
Channel Islands
Belarus
Nigeria
Mauritius
Sri Lanka
Venezuela
State of Palestine
Brunei
Martinique
Montenegro
Bolivia
Georgia
Guadeloupe
Kyrgyzstan
DR Congo
Cambodia
Mayotte
Trinidad & Tobago
Kenya
Rwanda
Paraguay
Gibraltar
Liechtenstein
Isle of Man
Madagascar
Aruba
Bangladesh
Monaco
French Guiana
Uganda
Macao
Guatemala
Jamaica
French Polynesia
Togo
Zambia
Niger
Barbados
El Salvador
Bermuda
Mali
Djibouti
Guinea
Ethiopia
Tanzania
Maldives
Congo
Gabon
Sint Maarten
New Caledonia
Haiti
Saint Martin
Myanmar
Equatorial Guinea
Bahamas
Eritrea
Cayman Islands
Mongolia
Namibia
Saint Lucia
Guyana
Dominica
Curaçao
Syria
Greenland
Laos
Libya
Suriname
Seychelles
Eswatini
Benin
Grenada
Zimbabwe
Mozambique
Guinea-Bissau
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Sudan
Angola
Antigua & Barbuda
Chad
Mauritania
Cabo Verde
Liberia
Holy See
Saint Barthelemy
Nicaragua
Nepal
Somalia
Fiji
Montserrat
Turks and Caicos
Gambia
Botswana
Bhutan
C. African Republic
Belize
British Virgin Islands
MS Zaandam
Burundi
Anguilla
Carib. Netherlands
Timor-Leste
St. Vinc. & Grenad.
Papua New Guinea
Sierra Leone

Cases

188,647
105,792
102,136
81,554
73,217
52,128
47,593
25,150
16,605
13,964
13,614
13,531
10,444
9,887
8,612
8,251
5,812
5,591
4,947
4,864
4,798
3,330
3,235
3,092
2,908
2,890
2,777
2,738
2,460
2,420
2,311
2,302
2,178
2,071
1,771
1,677
1,637
1,563
1,446
1,353
1,314
1,215
1,181
1,135
1,109
1,065
1,054
963
926
906
900
841
781
779
765
716
710
708
694
669
664
638
581
571
567
525
479
451
446
412
400
394
376
372
359
354
353
347
338
329
317
274
262
261
259
247
236
233
212
210
196
195
190
188
186
179
173
173
172
172
163
151
147
146
143
134
131
128
120
115
115
114
111
109
109
94
89
81
75
69
69
68
65
57
55
54
52
51
44
41
39
38
37
36
36
34
34
32
32
31
30
30
29
19
19
19
18
16
16
16
15
15
15
15
15
14
14
14
13
12
12
11
10
10
10
10
10
10
9
9
9
8
8
8
8
7
7
7
7
6
6
6
6
6
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
4
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1

Deaths

4,059
12,428
9,053
3,312
802
3,523
3,036
1,789
433
828
1,173
214
146
165
101
187
203
21
239
21
43
32
71
104
45
68
24
12
86
36
96
79
23
26
12
157
45
10
17
5
49
29
30
2
51
30
27
6
3
16
24
15
2
5
4
44
46
1
50
17
6
37
8
3
4
20
12
13
0
9
0
10
12
3
5
9
4
2
1
5
0
5
8
14
15
0
26
6
0
1
4
5
1
0
6
1
2
0
10
3
2
2
5
2
3
1
1
3
2
7
0
4
0
9
0
1
4
1
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
6
1
0
0
0
1
2
0
2
0
3
0
1
0
3
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
1
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
2
2
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

Last update: April 1, 2020 (13:17 GMT)

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