Understanding the Coronavirus aka COVID-19 [Video]

coronavirusThe global health emergency, coronavirus, continues to claim lives as epidemiologists struggle to understand this never-before-seen virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports “more than 60,000 cases of having been reported in over two dozen countries” and almost 1,400 deaths as of Feb 14, 2020.

Thousands are under quarantine worldwide. The infection is confirmed in many countries outside of China, including the United States.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, announced the name of the new flu-like virus is COVID-19, on February 11, specifically; CO = coronavirus; VI = virus; D = disease; and 19 for the year the outbreak started.

It’s important to have a name that everybody uses — both for scientific purposes to compare … and also to avoid a number of different stigmatizing or other forms of confusing names.

On social media, it is often called either the Wuhan” or “China virus,” which is misleading. For example, The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or Swine flu. All of these two examples of titles that have “unintended negative impacts by stigmatizing certain foods, communities or economic sectors,” reports CNBC.

WHO warns the public against COVID-19 trolls and conspiracy theorists. Ghebreyesus explains that those spreading false information make the work of heroic workers harder than necessary. People need to have factual, proven data so they can better care for themselves and others.

COVID-19, MERS-COv, and SARS-COv Stats Overview

Respiratory infections reported causing more severe symptoms are known as MERS-COv, SARS-COv, and COVID-19.

MERS was first identified in June 2012 in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, and it spread throughout most of the Middle Eastern countries and most other regions in the world. Since September 2015, WHO has been notified of 2,494 laboratory-verified MERS infections, 858 deaths, in 27 different countries as of March 2019.

SARS was recognized in November 2002 in Guangdong province, China. In 2004, 774 deaths occurred in more than 24 countries.

To date, COVID-19 has claimed more lives in the few weeks since the outbreak began in December 2019.

Coronavirus Defined

This is a type of virus that infects humans with symptoms of an upper respiratory illness. Seven different types of this infection have been identified, most people will become ill with a form of the virus in their lifetime, according to MedicineNet.

The viruses are spread through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, touching an object or surface contaminated with the virus and rarely, by fecal contamination. The illness caused by most coronaviruses usually lasts a short time and is characterized by runny nose, sore throat, feeling unwell, cough, and fever.

coronavirusPrevent the Spread of Coronaviruses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises everyone to be cautious about spreading viruses. Since the COVID-19 is a coronavirus, it is spread when a person coughs or sneezes.

To avoid contaminating others, one must cover their mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of the tissue in an appropriate trash receptacle. If a tissue is not available, a person should cough or sneeze into their upper arm.

Always wash hands thoroughly by using soap and water after coughing or sneezing.

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.

If not currently infected, keep hands clean by washing them frequently. The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks to prevent contamination.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

CNBC: World Health Organization names the new coronavirus: COVID-19
MedicineNet: Medical Definition of Coronavirus
CNBC: Watch: World Health Organization holds press conference on the coronavirus outbreak
The Washington Post: China’s leaders shake up political ranks as coronavirus cases near 60,000; Japan announces second virus fatality outside China
The Los Angeles Times: How deadly is the new coronavirus? Scientists race to find the answer
The Centers for Control and Prevention: Water, Sanitation & Environmentally-related Hygiene

Featured Image Courtesy of Gerd Altmann’s Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License
First and Second Inset Images Courtesy of #CMJournalist – Used With Permission

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