The spread of COVID-19 has fastened its pace globally. With a declining trend in China and a sharp increase in cases outside of China (where the outbreak is still in its initial stages), the World Health Organisation (WHO) calls for “extreme caution”. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also warned its citizens about a “severe outbreak” within the United States of America and expected “community spread” of COVID-19.
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Last updated: May 30, 2020, 23:00 GMT
Data from World Health Organization
On February 11, 2020 the WHO announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.Just as the name indicates, the virus is related to the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means that they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. It is believed by now that the novel coronavirus has its origin in bats.
• Mainly manifested by fever, fatigue, and dry cough;
• Few patients have symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea;
• Severely ill patients often experience dyspnea and / or hypoxemia one week after the onset, and the severe cases progress rapidly to acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, difficult to correct metabolic acidosis, coagulation dysfunction, and multiple organ function Exhaustion.
So far, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. So you’d better be aware of some everyday preventive actions to protect yourself and the people around you, and to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
• Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, especially the situation in your country and in your city.
• Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water, because washing hands can kill viruses that may be on them.
• Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, because the virus on the hands could be transferred through these behaviours.
• Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
• If you feel unwell, stay home; If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
• Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?
Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. So the best way to prevent COVID-19 is still the everyday preventive actions we suggested above.
• How long is the incubation period of COVID-19?
The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data becomes available.
• Can I catch COVID-19 from my pet?
No. There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
• Is there anything I should not do?
The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful: Smoking; Taking traditional herbal remedies; Wearing multiple masks; Taking self-medication such as antibiotics.
• Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
By far both WHO and CDC advise rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and mis-use of masks. Only those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and those who care for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever, need to wear a medical mask.