What is a virus?
It is a microorganism that cannot be seen even with a usual microscope and it depends on other living things for its survival.
Now, what is Coronavirus?
It is a type of virus that is commonly found in animals but when humans come in contact with such animals, it enters human body and infects humans. In humans, the Coronavirus affects the lungs the most and affects the respiratory system.
An epidemic broke out in China in the year 2002, in a few days it affected approximately 26 countries, more than eight thousand people were affected and seven to seven hundred and fifty people died. The victims showed symptoms such as cold, flu and shortness of breath. The investigation revealed that the outbreak was caused by a subgroup of Corona viruses, later renamed SARS CoV and the epidemic was called SARS.
A similar epidemic broke out in Saudi Arabia in 2012, affecting more than 2,500 people and about 800 people died. The epidemic was also caused by a separate group of Corona viruses called MERS CoV and was named MERS (Middle East Respiratory syndrome Epidemic).
And now once again the whole world is suffering from an epidemic. A deadly epidemic which is known as COVID-19, it is named on Corona Virus Disease 2019. It became a global pandemic, that is also considered a new form of SARS i.e. SARS-CoV-2.
This disease started in December 2019 in Wuhan, a city in China, within few months it became a global epidemic. Almost all the countries have been affected by this virus. Current reports are showing that about lakhs of people are being affected and thousands are dyeing on daily basis. So far around 5 lakh people have lost their lives. No part of the world is safe to this epidemic.
In our country India, the first case of Corona was found on 30th January 2020 and in just six months the whole country is in the grip of this epidemic. So far, the number of victims in India has reached over five lakhs and nearly sixteen thousand people have been died. The doubling ratio of patients are growing rapidly. From this you can estimate the lightning speed of this epidemic.
Note: The entries above are from the time this article was written, and may increase in number as you read. For latest reports please click on below link.
Sources of transmission:
- Because the disease affects the lung so when a patient coughs or sneezes, the virus is present in large quantities in these small drops (called droplets) come from the mouth and nose and it pollutes the air. When a healthy person breathes in that air, the virus infects his body and causes disease.
- The same droplets when they fall on a surface, such as a table, chair, door or mobile phone etc., this virus can survive on it for several days and when a person touches such a contaminated surface then without washing hands touches own eyes, nose or face, then this virus is transmitted by hand to the body.
- Without proper precautions, Living with Corona patients, talking, eating or using their items without washing them.
In which people is the disease more deadly?
No one is safe from the wrath of Corona, but the disease has proved more deadly to following groups of the population, we call them the “high-risk group”.
- Old age and weak people
- People suffering from diabetes, blood pressure, cancer, asthma and other diseases
The mortality rate of this disease is usually 4-5 percent. But in the “high risk group” it increases to 10-15 percent. As we have seen in Italy, because the majority of Italy’s population is made up of the old age, the death rate there has been up to 10%. It was 4-5 percent in China and 2.5-3 percent in our country India but most of the deaths are from the “high risk group”.
Symptoms of the disease:
The symptoms of the disease are divided into three categories according to the severity.
- Mild Category: 81% of people have symptoms like common cold like cold, cough, fever, body aches, sore throat and weakness etc. Such patients often recover without any treatment or just a minor treatment. It is enough to isolate such people for the duration of quarantine, that is for 14 days so that they do not infect others.
- Moderate category: The disease is somewhat more severe in 14% of people, with the above symptoms as well as symptoms such as difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. With timely treatment and oxygen, most of the people recover in this stage as well.
- Severe Category: In 5% of people the disease reaches its final stage and the process of respiratory has been paralyzed. They can no longer breathe on their own but need machines (ventilators) for that. Most of the them lose their lives.
Despite the best efforts and investigations, no permanent and definitive cure for the disease has yet been discovered and no vaccine is available in the market so far. Every treatment is just in the research phase, but efforts are underway and hopefully soon there will be success and this battle will be won by us.
Since there is no definitive cure for this disease, precaution is the biggest and most effective weapon. The lockdown that started in our country India on 23rd March in this context. The more people will avoid crowds and maintain a physical distance to other people, the less likely it is that the virus will spread which we call “Social Distancing”.
A study has shown that a patient with Corona, can transmit the disease to 2.5% of people until they recover, so if 75% achieve social distancing, A patient will infect 2-3 people in a month. Conversely, if social distancing is not taken care of at all, the same patient will transmit the disease to 406 people in a month.
Thus, the importance and usefulness of social distancing is before us. Precaution is the only effective way to control this disease and social distancing is the most important precaution.
In places where we cannot avoid meeting people, such as hospitals, markets and other public places, all the principles of hygiene must be applied.
- When coughing and sneezing, place a handkerchief or tissue paper over your mouth and nose.
- Wash the handkerchief thoroughly and put the tissue paper in the lid pack dust bin.
- Wash your hands and face thoroughly with soap and water.
- Use your left hand to hold the door latch and other such things.
- Keep a distance of at least one meter from people in public places.
- Wash your hands, feet and face thoroughly when entering the house from outside.
- Do not use the palm to cover the mouth and nose, if there is no handkerchief, use the elbow.
- Do not touch your face and nose without washing your hands.
- Avoid going to crowded places unnecessarily.
Dr Nasir Hussain is an Orthopaedic Surgeon in a leading hospital of India. He is very active in writing of poems and on health issues.