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Deadly Coronavirus - Everything You Need to Know

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Deadly Coronavirus - Everything You Need to Know

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This is a short write-up about the pandemic COVID-19 that is raging through the world and causing innumerable deaths. Read the article to know in detail.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At March 26, 2020
Reviewed AtAugust 21, 2023

Introduction

In these times when coronavirus is raging through the world, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and, at the other end there are thousands of online forwards and memes tickling the collar bone. It is wise if people can take a moment, sit back, read and understand what exactly is happening around them, because this is not a joke. Many people are extremely vulnerable to this disease, and all of them should take the utmost care to keep themselves uninfected. People must stay positive and prevent themselves and their loved ones from getting infected with this disease or affected by the developments.

What Is Corona?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing illnesses like the common cold to more severe diseases such as middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV).

COVID-19 is a novel strain of the virus, which was discovered in 2019 in China. The viruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. The earlier outbreaks of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have been traced to animals.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Respiratory symptoms:

In more severe cases, COVID-19 infection can cause pneumonia (lung infection), severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and sometimes even death.

What Is the Cause of Worry?

The disease is highly contagious and spreads through fomites very easily. The droplets that get released when someone coughs, sneezes or blows one’s nose harbor the virus, and when these get passed on to another person, they will acquire the disease. Since it spreads so quickly in the community, it causes tremendous health problems and suffering to the community in general.

Absence from work of large numbers of people will affect the economy and growth of the country. A small percentage of people died due to disease-related complications. But even though this percentage is very less, since the total number of people infected are so high, the number of deaths becomes quite worrisome. Most complications are respiratory system related. Many patients require ventilatory support, which is available only in ICUs (Intensive care units) in an equipped hospital. Not all hospitals are well equipped to handle such emergencies. While most recover, a few succumb to the disease.

What Precautions Can Be Followed?

While the internet is flooded with what precautions to be taken, it is advised to read and understand from an authentic website. Do not follow all the messages and forward them blindly. Everyone must now be aghast with information regarding the deaths and number of infected people. People should keep calm and follow all the instructions given by the local and national government authorities in such situations.

What Is Quarantine and How Is It Different From Isolation?

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of seemingly normal people who could have been exposed to a communicable disease (COVID-19, in this case) to see if they become ill. They may have been exposed but do not know it, or they may not show symptoms. It helps to limit the spread. The quarantine can be done at one’s own home.

Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a disease from those who do not. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. Hospitals have isolation wards for communicable diseases.

Quarantine is required when a person may have the disease and may have got exposed to someone who has the disease before they are tested for the disease. Once a person is tested positive, they are put in an isolation facility.

What Is Social Distancing?

Keeping social contact to a bare minimum to pre-emptively reduce the spread of the disease is known as social distancing. This includes acts like staying home as much as possible, avoiding travel and transport, and avoiding public places, functions, events, and crowds.

What’s the Catch?

If the rate at which new cases are occurring is more than the number that the public health system will be able to handle, then people are looking at an impending health crisis of an enormous magnitude.

  • Isolation wards and ICUs will become full.

  • Doctors may have to choose between which patient to treat and save.

  • Hospitals may run out of basic supplies, beds, ventilators, gloves, masks, equipment, and so on.

If people can prevent the number of daily cases from peaking over the numbers they can treat, then they will be able to minimize the burden on the healthcare delivery systems and medical professionals, thereby preventing casualties and morbidities. The main thing for this is “social distancing”.

What Is Community Transmission and Why Is Everybody Scared of It?

When there is a spread of an infection within a community in such a way that the source of infection becomes difficult to find out, it is called community transmission. People are unable to identify the source from which the infection came in the first place. Government authorities may be able to isolate foreign travelers who test positive and those who came in contact with those travelers and came positive subsequently. But still, there may be new cases who have not traveled outside or who have not got exposed to any such traveler as well. This is stage three and that is when people should know that community transmission has started. They should try as much as possible to make sure they do not reach this stage, as then the cases will increase exponentially.

What Is a Pandemic?

When an epidemic occurs at an enormous level spreading to multiple countries over various continents, and affecting a large number of people, it is termed a pandemic. An epidemic is a sudden spurt in the occurrence of a disease from the baseline level in a community.

What Not to Do?

  1. Do not blindly forward messages without verifying.

  2. Do not blatantly follow online messages.

  3. Do not shake hands with friends and new people.

  4. Do not share towels and handkerchiefs.

  5. Do not consume alcohol or smoke.

  6. Do not eat a lot of outside foods.

  7. Do not eat uncooked foods.

  8. Do not be in groups and gatherings.

  9. Avoid functions and large gatherings.

  10. Avoid going to the doctor for mild and moderate issues and use telemedicine and telehealth websites for online consultations.

  11. Do not go forward with elective surgeries.

What Are the Responsibilities of Common People?

While people follow government regulations and directives, it is necessary to see the merit in these actions as well. The curfew will definitely help retard the spread of the virus in the community. A country like India, where the healthcare infrastructure is in shambles, will not be able to handle the repercussions of letting the virus spread. Half of the population cannot afford private healthcare and government hospitals cannot cater to them fully as well.

Responsibilities as a Patient or Sufferer of COVID-19:

  1. A person should isolate themselves.

  2. Report to relevant government authorities.

  3. Follow the utmost precautions to halt the spread to one's own trusted contacts.

  4. Follow what the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in charge of the care at the isolation facility say.

  5. Do not go out of the isolation facility.

  6. Do not bring visitors.

Do’s and Don'ts for the General Public:

DO:

  1. Stay home.

  2. Use hand sanitizers and masks.

  3. Dispose of used masks properly.

  4. Eat and drink healthy.

  5. Exercise normally but indoors.

  6. Drink plenty of water.

  7. Seek medical attention early.

DO NOT:

  1. Break isolation or quarantine.

  2. Forward unverified messages over social media.

  3. Self-medication.

  4. Rumor mongering.

  5. Gather with friends.

Conclusion:

For any doubts or queries about coronavirus, people can use telehealth apps to get in touch with an infectious disease specialist. Doctors here can help people get the right advice and suggestions regarding what has to be done. They will guide a person through the right steps and help them get back in shape. People will be able to avoid the dreaded visit to the hospital or a clinic. It becomes everyone’s responsibility as well to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital unless it is a genuine unavoidable emergency.

Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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covid-19
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