The world is currently dealing with a pandemic known as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It has caused panic across the globe and forced countries to take measures to slow down the spread of the virus. Here are some things to be aware of and how you can keep yourself safe.
What is the coronavirus?
There are four main categories of coronaviruses. You have alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the current strain of coronavirus is a betacoronavirus. Both alpha and beta coronaviruses are the ones seen within rodent animals.
It is fairly common for a coronavirus to be within humans and various animals. However, depending on the type of virus, it can sometimes cause diseases within the host. The COVID-19 virus is a new strain that has been spreading amongst humans. The origin point is believed to be Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
How did it spread?
This strain of coronavirus has origins within bats that are similar to what health officials found in China. The first infected were found to have similar links to a live animal food market in the Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Early on health officials thought the virus was an animal-to-person spread, which is rare for an animal coronavirus. Due to the growing number of patients who did not have interactions with an animal market, officials believe it to be a person-to-person spread. There are currently 270,069 confirmed coronavirus cases.
What are the symptoms?
Patients confirmed to have COVID-19, reported symptoms for COVID-19 are:
- Shortness of breath
As of March 20th, 2020, there has been 11,271 deaths worldwide as a result of COVID-19. However, 90,603 people have recovered from the illness.
Since the common cold and flu have symptoms similar to these, it is hard to distinguish whether someone has COVID-19 without a lab test. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor or a healthcare provider to explain what you are going through. Tell them whether you have traveled recently or believe you came into contact with someone who has COVID-19. They will be able to recommend the next steps you should take.
Is it treatable?
Currently, there is no specific treatment to deal with COVID-19. People who have become sick from the virus have been getting treatment from supportive measures to relieve symptoms, research drugs, and therapeutics.
How to combat COVID-19?
Across the world, governments are taking action to quarantine individuals who have contracted COVID-19. Italy has put the entire country on lockdown to help prevent the spread. China has built multiple hospitals and quarantined multiple provinces in the region.
The U.S. has implemented multiple travel bans that involve Europe, Canada, Mexico. In the U.S., some states have already begun suspending public events. Within Chicago, restaurants have been ordered to switch to take out and delivery. If you want to know more about what’s happening in Chicago, click here.
Schools across the U.S. have been moving in-class courses to online courses. This includes Howard University, UCLA, Seattle University, Arizona State University, and many more. Many businesses have also taken measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Uber and Lyft have sent out messages to their drivers to help them prepare for driving on their rideshare app.
What can you do?
Even though the virus has spread worldwide, health officials maintain that it is possible to contain the virus if we take precautions. Below is a list of measures the CDC recommends to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If those are not available to you, then hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol should work.
- If you feel sick then stay home and isolate yourself. However, seek medical attention if it is necessary.
- Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Be mindful of the people around you.
- Disinfect and clean the surfaces you use frequently or come into contact with.
Remember to take care of yourself health-wise and be cautious when going to work, events, or outings. The best thing you can do is to stay informed about the situation. To keep up with the most current information regarding the coronavirus, you should check the CDC website daily.