Breaking Down an Outbreak: The Corona-virus
Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. The new coronavirus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). The reason COVID-19 is being called an “epidemic” is due to its sudden and rapid increase in the number of cases throughout an area or community, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). It also has the ability to rapidly and easily spread from region to region and to adapt within a relatively short period of time, making it a threat.
Another virus, influenza, known as the common flu, has resulted in between 9 million to 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 (CDC).
COVID-19 remains a threat because it has a 2.3 percent fatality rate and is much harder to diagnose since the disease shows minimal symptoms that take longer to appear. The illness also does not seem to pose an immediate threat to individuals, as it mimics symptoms of the seasonal cold but should be taken seriously as it can result in a severe form of pneumonia, kidney failure and, if left untreated, death.
Currently there are 106,193 cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide. Of these cases reported, 3,600 people have died, 60,190 people have recovered and 42,403 cases are currently active and in treatment according to Worldometer.
COVID-19 causes severe Acute Raspatory Syndrome (SARS), a severe form of pneumonia. SARS began affecting the Asian continent in 2002 with a fatality rate of 10 percent. The disease was mostly eradicated during that time thanks to international cooperation and rapid isolation measurements. The SARS virus had more severe symptoms than the current coronavirus, making it easier to track and prevent as people would go to the hospital shortly after showing any signs of SARS.
People over 65, people who have pre-existing health conditions like Diabetes, and those who do not vaccinate, have a higher likelihood of contracting the illness and with a weaker immune system, succumbing to death. The risk results from COVID-19’s ability to lead to acute severe pneumonia.
No medicine is able to cure any virus or any flu. The CDC recommends not using antibiotics for the treatment of a virus as it tends to help evolve them and immunize the virus from alternative treatments. Bacterial diseases can be treated with antibiotics, whereas antibiotics will only help treat the symptoms caused by a viral disease.
As flu season comes to an end, experts are unsure if the warmer climate will do anything to stop or slow down CORVID-19 from continuing to spread, according to Leah Groth, a contributor to Health, an online publication. As with any contagious disease it is always recommended to avoiding people who are ill, washing your hands frequently, when out in heavily public areas, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, staying home when sick, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes, such as those provided at the entrances of stores to clean the handles of shopping carts. Remaining cautious and maintaining good health and clean habits may help in stop this epidemic from spreading further.
By Alex Fernandez