Particularly, first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market.
Suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets. Indicating person-to-person spread is occurring.
Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have been known to cause severe illness in people. The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
What is the New Novel Coronavirus?
Basically, the New Novel Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals. Including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the ones that China initially posted. Suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients in the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China had some links to large seafood and live animal markets. Suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later on, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets. Indicating person-to-person spread.
Person-to-person spread has been reported outside China. Including in the United States and other locations. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. In addition, other destinations have apparent community spread.
Meaning some people have been infected who are not sure how or where they became infected. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.
What are the Risks of the New Novel Coronavirus?
Outbreaks of the New Novel Coronavirus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on the characteristics of the virus. Including;
- how well it spreads between people,
- the severity of resulting illness,
- and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications).
The fact that this disease has caused illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustained person-to-person spread is concerning. Whereby, these factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic.
As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, the worldwide spread of the new virus.
The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 Coronavirus is high, both globally and locally.
But, the individual risk is dependent on exposure.
- For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
- Under current circumstances, certain people will have an increased risk of infection. For example, healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other close contacts of persons with COVID-19.
- CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
However, it’s important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. And in that case, the risk assessment would be different.
What does WHO Warn about its Climax?
But speaking at a press conference Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of health emergencies at the WHO, said that more cases and deaths are likely to emerge in the coming days and weeks.
“The outbreak is still evolving – we are not in a position to say that it has peaked,” he said, citing detailed case information the UN agency had received on Wednesday night from Chinese authorities. It is the mysterious new disease that has put authorities around the world on high alert.
Already, 17 people have died and more than 600 others have been infected after contracting never-before-seen pneumonia. But how worried should we be?
What Might Happen?
More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in countries like the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in these countries would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time.
Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded. Especially, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths.
Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and the transportation industry may also be affected. Equally important, health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed.
At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 Coronavirus and no medications approved to treat it. However, nonpharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy.
Which are the New Novel Coronavirus measures?
Stay aware of the latest information on the New Coronavirus aka COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority.
The New Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still affecting most people in China with some outbreaks in other countries. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover. But, it can be more severe for others.
Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading
Follow the guidance outlined above or;
Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and a slight runny nose, until you recover.
Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
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