You’ve likely heard about the coronavirus from Wuhan or 2019-NCOV which is the cause of an outbreak that seems to have begun at a marketplace with live animals in Wuhan on Twelve December 2019 and has since spread around the world and thousands of peoples affected cause of this virus.
What is coronavirus?
Now, first things first, there are lots of different types of coronaviruses – some mainly affect humans, whereas others mainly affect other animals like bats and camels and these animal species are called viral reservoirs.
The coronaviruses that remarkably flow into among humans are usually benign, and these cause a couple of quarters of all respiratory illness. But occasionally, coronaviruses that usually circulate in an animal reservoir mutate just enough to where they’re able to start infecting and causing disease in humans – if they’re given an opportunity.
When one of these animal viruses infects a human population, there’s usually no immunity among the human population since it’s considered a new or novel coronavirus, so the virus can spread quickly and cause serious disease.
Coronaviruses are fairly common in species of animals but this specific virus was traced back to a seafood market in the city of Wuhan where a number of wildlife animals are sold illegally.
One theory is that it started in bats then spread to snakes possibly sold at the market and moved on to humans. Chinese authorities have since imposed a nationwide ban on wildlife trade in markets supermarkets restaurants and e-commerce platforms but it was a little too late and it had already been transmitted to humans.
What is the source of the Wuhan coronavirus?
Well, it looks like it also ultimately came from bats. Now, the way this happens is that initially a sick animal, let’s say a sick bat, sheds the virus in their urine and poop, and that can get aerosolized and inhaled by a person making them sick.
After that initial person or group of people get infected, these infected people might sneeze or cough allowing the virus to get into the air and infect others they come in contact with like family members if they stay home sick, or healthcare workers and other patients if they go to the clinic or hospital. That sort of transmission is called the person-to-person spread.
Type of Corona Virus
Now viruses are given a reproductive number or R-naught based on how quickly they spread.
- An R naught of 1 means that an infected person passes it on to 1 new person.
- An R-naught of 2 means that 1 person spreads it to 2 new people, and so forth.
If the R naught is below 1, the infection peters out, if it’s 1 it stays steady, and if it’s above 1 that then it continues to spread. Things like an immunized population or aggressive isolation of sick patients can help drive down the R-naught. Early estimates in China are that the Wuhan coronavirus scores an R naught around 2.5 – that’s faster than doubling, and the affected areas have been locked down in various ways to help drive down the transmission.
It’s also really important to point out that even though there have been individuals with the disease in countries around the world, the person-to-person spread has mainly been seen in China, and most cases outside of China were individuals who initially got the illness in China and then traveled outside and developed symptoms.
What are the Symptoms?
Now, let’s say that you’re somehow exposed to a carrier and that you catch the virus. If that happens the period of the time between the initial infection and also the onset of symptoms – appears to be roughly three to six days supported early data and when symptoms do begin, they usually include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. the diagnosis can be confirmed using DNA tests.
Who is in Danger?
Now, while most coronaviruses are relatively benign some cause serious problems. With the case of the SARS virus, 25% of patients required mechanical ventilation and 10% died. In the case of the MERS virus, over 50% of patients required mechanical ventilation and 36% died.
So far, the good news with the coronavirus from Wuhan is that it appears that the severity is lower with a fatality rate of around 4% or even lower and broad-spectrum antiviral drugs and vaccines are aggressively being researched to see if they can be used to help treat and prevent the disease – although no vaccines are available at the moment.
How Do you Stay protected?
Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth—this is the area known as your T-zone, because it’s shaped like the letter T, and is a common entry point for viruses into the body. Also, don’t visit areas where the virus is common. For now, that means avoiding China.
Also fighting other viruses, like the flu, can weaken your lungs and make them more vulnerable to the Coronavirus. Help defend your lungs by obtaining an influenza shot. For those in China, it’s a good idea to work from home as much as possible, avoid crowds, and if possible, avoid healthcare facilities unless you are sick.