On the 11th of March, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a pandemic. For months, the spread of the virus, from Asia to almost every continent, has been a cause of public concern. The general lack of immunity and rapid spread resulted in the declaration of the virus as a pandemic. Since the declaration of the pandemic nature of coronavirus, about 118,000 cases have been confirmed globally, and the virus has spread to about 110 countries. The virus also has a potential to spread to even greater places and affect greater populations. It is noteworthy that even the SARS virus of 2003 was not described as a pandemic by WHO, despite its rapid spread to about 69 countries.
The novel nature of coronavirus has necessitated a public outcry for preventative measures. Healthcare officers, as well as public officials, have advised the general public to maintain the necessary measures for preventing the spread of coronavirus. The symptoms of coronavirus range from mild flu-like symptoms to severe symptoms that may require respiratory support. The wide range of symptoms that follow an established infection necessitates the implementation of proper preventative measures as an infected person may not easily be identified. Some of the tools and tips for combating coronavirus are the focus of this article.
History of Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a group of viruses that can cause deadly diseases in both animals and humans. This group of viruses causes diseases in animals such as bats, cats, humans and birds. In non-human animals, the infection is associated with a wide range of symptoms. In humans, the symptoms are flu-like and the viruses can significantly damage the lungs.
The coronavirus family is divided into four genera, the alpha, beta, gamma and delta coronavirus. Of the four genera, only the delta coronavirus affects mammals and humans. The current strain of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is suspected to belong to the delta coronavirus genu. The current coronavirus pandemic originated from the Wuhan, Hubei province, China. On the 31st of December, the first case was reported to the WHO office in China as pneumonia of an unknown origin. By the 3rd of January, 2020, the number of cases increased to 44 and since then the spread of the virus across China and the rest of the world has been very notable.
Although members of the coronavirus family have been previously responsible for different forms of diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome caused by MERS-CoV and severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by SARS-CoV, COVID-19 has particularly been notorious, causing a destabilization of public health systems.
Symptoms of COVID-19
As earlier mentioned, the coronavirus symptoms range from flu-like symptoms to severe pneumonia. The general symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cold, cough and general body weakness. Headache and diarrhea have also been identified as symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms typically manifest within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus. This incubation period of the virus has prompted the advice of many governments to self-quarantine for 14 days after overseas travel to an area where a lot of cases have been detected.
Coronavirus in the US
The first case of coronavirus was identified in the US, in Washington State, on the 21st of January, 2020. Within a month, a significant spread of the virus was established with a major focus of the disease in Washington and California. By March 12, 2020, cases have been identified in Washington and 44 other states, a total of about 1,300 persons. Some of the ways through which the virus was contracted include a cluster connection to a community located in New Rochelle, N.Y, overseas travel, person-to-person contact, overseas travel, travel within the US, travel to China and travel to Italy. A nursing facility in Kirkland, Wash has also been linked with a lot of the USA infections.
As of the 12th of March, in Indiana, only about 11 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. The low number of cases so far in Indiana emphasizes the need for adopting proper preventative measures and curtailing the infection.
Tools and Tips for Combating Coronavirus
As mentioned, COVID-19 is a novel strain of coronavirus. Thus, the global healthcare system was very unprepared by its spread, especially with the fast nature of spread across the globe. As a result, the focus has been on control of the spread and prevention of infection. Companies and research groups have also begun to look for a vaccine or cure for the viral infection. Organizations currently involved in developing a vaccine include Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the same organization that developed a vaccine for MERS.
As regards the prevention of coronavirus, it is noteworthy that this outbreak of coronavirus is not thought to be as deadly as other outbreaks. By following the simple measures that have been established, one can possibly prevent infection and stay safe until the pandemic is over.
Coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets. The virus can be transmitted through person-to-person contact as well as fomites, inanimate objects. The following are important measures that should be incorporated into daily living to curtail the spread of the virus.
Wash Hands Regularly
Proper hand hygiene is especially important for curtailing the spread of the virus. When hands are properly washed, the virus is inactivated and its spread halted. Effective hand washing involves proper hand wetting, soap application and lathering and washing the hands for at least 20 seconds.
In situations where it is not possible to wash the hands, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be applied and rubbed on the hands for at least 20 seconds. It’s recommended that the alcohol level in the sanitizer you use be at or above 60 percent. While paying attention to hand hygiene, it is also important to mention avoiding touching the eye, mouth and nose in order not to introduce the virus into the body.
Avoid contact with sick people and disinfect surfaces
Preventing person-to-person contact involves and requires the prevention of contact with sick people and the implementation of proper sneezing and coughing hygiene. To prevent contact with sick people and possible sources of infection you should practice avoidance of public spaces, especially overcrowded spaces, is important. Personal contact in the form of handshakes and hugs should also be prevented for the time being. Also remember to maintain a safe distance, 6 feet, between someone coughing or sneezing. In line with limiting personal contact and spread of the infection, public gatherings and activities have been limited across the country, especially in areas where a lot of cases have been identified.
To maintain proper sneezing and coughing hygiene, always sneeze and cough into a tissue and dispose of it safely afterward. Sneezing into one’s elbows rather than hands also could help prevent the spread of the virus.
According to recent reports, the virus can remain alive on surfaces for up to 45 minutes. Always remember to wipe surfaces with alcohol to keep them disinfected. As regards disinfecting, a lot of new cleaning products suitable for these times have recently approved and introduced into the market.
Use a face mask, if you are infected or care for sick persons. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and other experts of infectious disease control have advised the use of facemasks only by persons that are infected or care for persons that could be infected such as healthcare workers. Contrary to popular beliefs, infectious disease specialists have stated that face masks are not necessary for healthy persons.
Stock food and basic medical supplies
Since there is bound to be a general limitation of public activities, it is important to stock homes with food and basic medical supplies. The public has been advised to buy food and medicines that should serve for about 30 days. However, this should not be taken as a call to hoard supplies as hoarding will limit availability to persons in dire need.
Stay home if sick
If you experience any of the general symptoms that could be associated with coronavirus, you are better at home than in any public space. Avoid public spaces and activities, even as simple as dropping the kids at school and going to a nearby grocery store. Permission should also be sought to stay away from work.
When you experience any of the symptoms, you should seek medical care. Medical care should be sought in a way that does not encourage the spread of the virus. When appropriate, instead of going to the doctor’s office, for example, you can simply call a doctor. Telemedicine plays a strategic role in accessing healthcare in these times. Many associations like our own Medcard provide telemedicine services to member’s at no extra cost. The services of organizations such as Medcard are important in these times because it provides easy access to a doctor as well as quick and affordable lab testing.
Instead of leaving the comfort of your home, going to a hospital or urgent care where you could infect others or be infected, you get to seek healthcare services from the comfort of your home. Medcard also offers discounted medical services, helping you save money while accessing healthcare from the comfort of your home.
Telemedicine and Coronavirus
In line with the need to access healthcare services during this pandemic, waivers of telemedicine have been introduced. Organizations such as The eHealth Initiative and The American Telemedicine Association have pushed for waivers that allow easy access to virtual service. The implementation of these waivers will improve access to services and reduce the spread of coronavirus.
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