COVID-19: Real Facts
It is no longer news that some people who know little or nothing about this disease go about spreading false information and misinforming others. Thus, there is need for health bodies and personnel to continuously keep the public informed with real facts about this novel virus that have caused a ravaging pandemic.
Here we will answer lots of questions and dispel certain myths about the new virus that are not quite true.
What is SARS-CoV-2? Is it the same as COVID-19?
SARS-CoV-2 is the short form for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2. It is the the name given to the novel 2019 Coronavirus while COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by this virus. SARS-CoV-2 is in the same family of Coronaviruses just like MERS and SARS except that this is a new strain that hasn't been seen in humans before now.
Can COVID-19 be compared to SARS or flu?
Genetically, the novel Coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan China is related to SARS-CoV-1 (SARS) which emerged in China in 2002. The disease then affected about 33 countries and 8000 people within 8 months and it was reported that abut 1 in 10 of the individuals affected did not survive it.
With the Novel coronavirus, there was reportedly over 700,000 cases worldwide as of March 30, 2020 and of these cases, about 30,000 were reported dead.
Just like the seasonal influenza, COVID-19 is transmitted from person-to-person and presents with similar symptoms as well. However, the two viruses are not the same and behave in different ways.
A large number of people contract the influenza every year however, the health and global system is more concerned about COVID-19 because it has no vaccine or specific treatment yet. It also appears to be more easily transmitted than the seasonal influenza.
Since it is a new virus, no one has developed immunity to it, thus, just about everyone is potentially susceptible to COVID-19.
Where do Coronaviruses come from?
Coronaviruses mostly come from animals and get transmitted to humans. A common host of these viruses are bats however other animals are also sources. For instance, SARS is transmitted to humans from civet cats while the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), is transmitted to humans from camels.
Bats are major hosts of Coronavirus
What is the mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2?
It is believed that animals are the original source of this virus however, it does spread from human to human mainly though contact and respiratory droplets (like sneezing and coughing). Droplets can be inhaled by another or they can land on surfaces where another person might get in contact with them.
What is the incubation period for COVID-19 and when is a person infectious?
Incubation period is the period between contact or exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms. Currently it is estimated that the incubation of COVID-19 is between 1 day to 14 days.
People are more likely to be infectious when they have started showing symptoms however, some evidences have suggested that infectious period may begin one or two days before the symptoms. Infectious period can last up to 12 days in severe cases.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 vary from mild to severe. Typically, it presents with fever, sore throat, cough, general fatigue and weakness, muscular pain and in the severe cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, sepsis and septic shock.
There is usually rapid clinical deterioration in the second week of infection and in some severe cases, it might result to death.
What should I do if I get infected?
Each region, country or state has their own guidelines of reporting and responding to COVID-19. You should check for the guidelines of the public health authorities in your country or call the COVID-19 emergency line.
Do face masks offer protection against COVID-19?
There is no evidence that face masks offer effective protection against coronavirus however, it may reduce the risk of one who has been infected transmitting it to other people via respiratory droplets.
It is thus, advisable to use face masks appropriately.
How long will the COVID-19 outbreak last?
Different studies have been carried out regarding the nature of this virus and how it spreads however, no one can say for sure how long it will last. Any prediction at this point as regards when the global world will see its peak or how long it will last is only but pure speculation.
Hopeful, as more evidences and information are being gathered, we will get more reliable predictions in the near future.
Is there an available drug for treating COVID-19?
Currently, there is no specific drug that has been recommended for treating 2019 nCoV. However, those who have been infected will still receive medical care and support while the World Health Organization and other relevant bodies and are accelerating research and development of drugs and vaccines for the virus.
Now, lets dispel the wrong notions about COVID-19 that are not true.
Exposure to sun or heat of more than 25 degrees Celsius can prevent Coronavirus
This is not true. You are susceptible to Coronavirus irrespective of the weather or temperature. Countries with high temperatures have reported many cases of COVID-19. Protect yourself!
Cold or snowy weather can kill the virus
No one should believe that extremely cold weather can kill the virus. Regardless of the weather condition, the human body retains a normal temperature of between 36.5 to 37 degrees Celsius. The best way to steer clear of the virus is by washing the hands regularly with soap and water and social distancing.
COVID-19 Infection is a death sentence
Not everyone that gets infected with the novel coronavirus ends up dead. In fact, a good number of people recover and test negative to the virus. If you get infected you should get treated. With supportive care, most patients recover.
The novel coronavirus can be transmitted via mosquito bites
There is no current information or evidence that shows that COVID-19 can be transmitted by mosquitoes.
The virus is a respiratory tract virus that is mainly transmitted via respiratory droplets through sneeze, cough or saliva.
COVID-19 is not a death sentence, people survive
Spraying alcohol and chlorine all over the body can kill coronavirus
When the novel coronavirus infects someone, it invades the body tissues and cells and thus won't be on the superficial surface of the body. Therefore bathing with alcohol and chlorine or having them sprayed on the body wont kill the virus that has already entered the body.
They can be used in disinfecting surfaces but using them on the whole body may only end up causing harm to the mucous membranes such as the mouth and eyes.
Eating garlic can help prevent infection of novel coronavirus
While garlic is a healthy food ingredient that has shown to possess antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, there is still no evidence that it can protect people from COVID-19.
The new Coronavirus affects only the older people
Everyone both young and old is susceptible to COVID-19. However, the elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions are more prone to be severely ill from the virus.
WHO has advised that people of all ages take precautionary measures to protect themselves.
Vaccines against pneumonia can protect against the novel coronavirus
Indeed there are vaccines against pneumonia such as the Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine but unfortunately, they do not offer any form of protection against the 2019 coronavirus.
SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that needs its own vaccine and treatment. The good news is that researchers are working hard to see to it that an effective vaccine against the new virus is developed.