Corona Virus: The Next Pandemic

By Anushka Pachauri

Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

What is Corona Virus?
According to WHO, “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a 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)”
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Source of origin
The virus originated in Wuhan, China, its epicenter. So far most of those infected with the virus have been in China, and most of the deaths have occurred there as well.
But now, many countries such as South Korea, Iran, Italy, United States and India have confirmed cases of the disease.
Bats are considered a possible source of transmitting the virus to humans which may have transmitted the virus to an intermediate animal which is consumed as a delicacy in parts of China.

How it spreads
People infected with the virus produce tiny respiratory droplets when they breathe, talk, cough or sneeze, allowing the virus to travel through the air.
Most of these droplets fall to the ground within a few feet.
People who are in close contact with those infected, particularly family members may catch the virus this way.
Elderly patients are at higher risk of getting infected by the virus and people with underlying health conditions (like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease etc.) are more likely to develop severe symptoms.

Symptoms and Precautions
Symptoms may include fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath. The illness causes lung lesions and pneumonia but milder cases may resemble the flu or bad cold. There is a diagnostic test that can determine if you are infected.
You can avoid getting infected by undertaking some precautionary measures such as washing your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and maintain a distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Wearing a mask while in public places also reduces chances of contacting or transmitting the disease.