The world has to tackle and tide over a large number of problems like natural disasters, man-made disasters, wars, etc. One of the most important of these problems is the outbreak of the diseases, that harm a large number of people and could even be fatal. The recent outbreak in 2020 is of the coronavirus, that cost more than a thousand lives and has infected a very huge number. It’s a matter of serious concern in 2020 as the death toll keeps increasing. It’s our responsibility to know what it is and act accordingly.
Coronaviruses have a core of genetic material, encompassed within a covering of protein spikes, that resemble the shape of a crown (or, “corona”, in Latin). Their group is so large and varied and are a cause of a whole lot of respiratory diseases at times gastrointestinal symptoms, too. The diseases caused can be a common cold or severe pneumonia too.
Acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), one of the fatal diseases due to the viruses, was first discovered in China in 2003. Also, the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), initially broke out in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Around 3500 people died as a result of these diseases.
Estimates state that 20 percent of all the patients infected with the new and recent coronavirus 2019-nCoV have bitter and severe symptoms. People are weak and prone to other health problems (like diabetes asthma, and cardiovascular disease) are particularly more vulnerable to these infections.
The deadliness of the virus
Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the new virus has taken lives of about nearly 2 percent of all the patients who were reported to have infections. But, till now, we are in a nascent stage. It is still too early to find out how deadly the new virus is: thousands of patients have to be tested, with around 2000+ patients in a serious condition. But the bitter truth is that we still didn’t know how the conditions of the infected people are about to evolve.
Source of the virus
The first cases of this new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, occurred in a group of individuals with pneumonia. It was actually linked to seafood as well as a live animal market in Wuhan. The market sold many varieties of fish, bats, reptiles and other dead and live animals are traded. The disease actually spread out from sick individuals to their family members and also the healthcare workers who dealt with them.
It was then found that coronaviruses circulate in a group of animals and can transfer sometimes animals to humans, by a process termed as a “spillover”. Spillover can occur as a result of mutation(a change in the genetic material of the virus) in the virus, or also due to the increased amount of contact between the animals and humans. It is still not clearly found regarding the first transmission of the virus to humans. But it’s for sure that the animals had the virus and thus humans trading with such animals or being in close contact with them can be a misleading cause.
The transmission of the virus from one individual to another is possible and it occurred mainly in Wuhan city, the central point of the outbreak. Other regions of China and outside of China too, the disease spread at a great rate. The exact method of its spreading is not yet known. But, in general, any respiratory disease spreads through the drops of fluids expelled when someone coughs or sneezes, or by touching a surface infected with the virus. With regard to coronavirus, people are contagious even before they actually show visible symptoms. This is because the time from when the infection develops until symptoms develop – is 1 – 14 days.
Some Final words
No vaccine is available to treat the new coronavirus, but WHO recommends few preventive measures like avoiding direct contact with living as well dead farm animals, and also with people suffering from respiratory infections( acute or chronic). Maintaining oneself is also essential like frequently washing hands. It’s essential to understand the need of the hour and act accordingly.