What is Coronavirus Covid 19 and The Symptoms

Covid-19, the deadly disease that began as a novel coronavirus causing pneumonia-like symptoms in central China, has now spread around the world and is having profound impacts on nearly every major economy.

The outbreak began with a trickle of concerning reports from around the Chinese city of Wuhan in mid-December, before China finally informed the World Health Organisation of the disease on the last day of 2019.

It appears to have had its origins in a seafood market in Wuhan. But it emerged at a time when many were travelling for the Lunar New Year, and Wuhan is a hugely popular hub for travel both within China and internationally.

The disease was isolated for study on 7 January, and by 20 January the Chinese authorities confirmed what many experts already suspected – that the virus spread easily from human to human.

The novel virus is one of a family of diseases known as coronaviruses, a group that causes respiratory infections. They are all zoonotic, meaning they have the potential to be transmitted between animals and humans. Covid-19 is the seventh of its kind that is known to infect humans, while there are several others circulating only in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Other diseases to infect humans in this group range from the common cold and seasonal flu to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

The current coronavirus outbreak has an average fatality rate of around 2 per cent, rising for people over 70 and dramatically falling in younger patients. That makes it less deadly to individuals who catch it than SARS (with a fatality rate of about 10 per cent) and MERS (about 35 per cent), but more deadly than most seasonal flu strains (which have fatality rates of around 0.1 per cent).

Covid-19 does also appear to be more contagious than the flu. Each patient with the new coronavirus is estimated to infect an average of 2.2 people, according to a 28 February paper. That compares to a rate of infection of about 1.3 people in seasonal flu.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are very similar to the flu – fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Some less common symptoms include shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and other aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea.

In most people (around 80 per cent) these come on slowly and remain mild. In some patients, infection has been confirmed where they were exhibiting no symptoms at all – an issue that has made containing the outbreak a lot harder.

Older people are more likely to develop more serious symptoms, particularly those with underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes.

What about medicines?

Scientists are working on a vaccine for coronavirus, but at present a safe, working solution is not expected to be developed for around 18 months.

There are lots and lots of rumours being spread around about things you can take to protect yourself from or cure Covid-19 – unfortunately, the WHO says there is no specific medicine that can do this.

Patients are recommended to treat their symptoms as they would a bout of regular flu, while those with serious symptoms should seek professional medical care.

Source : The Independent

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