Coronaviruses are a group of viruses or family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus) and SARs (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus). Coronaviruses circulate in animals and few of them have the capability of transmitting between animals and humans.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is a virus closely linked to the SARS virus. It was earlier known by the provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The disease was first reported in Wuhan, China.
During December 2019, the health authorities in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China observed a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause. The first few cases had connects to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market and therefore, the virus is thought to be of zoonotic origin, The new virus that has caused the outbreak is known as SARS-CoV-2. It is believed to be closely related to bat coronaviruses, pangolin coronaviruses, and SARS-CoV.
The virus is believed to spread mainly from one person to another. It generally spreads between people who are in close contact (6 feet or lesser) with each other. When the infected person sneezes, the respiratory droplets produced enter the mouths or noses of nearby people and can get inhaled into the lungs.
People who are at the sickest level (most symptomatic level) are thought to be most contagious.
Although it may also be possible for people to be contagious before they show any symptoms.
It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 if he/she touches a contaminated surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their own nose, mouth or eyes. Although this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Infection by the Coronavirus can be diagnosed provisionally on the basis of patient symptoms, history of travel, contact with infected patients and diagnostic imaging. The confirmation for COVID-19 is finally done by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of infected secretions.
Reported illnesses from COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to critical illness which may include life threatening consequences.
After exposure, the following symptoms may appear after 2 to 14 days.
Most cases result in mild symptoms but some may lead to pneumonia and multi-organ failure. The fatality rate of COVID-19 is estimated at between 1% and 5% worldwide and is highly dependent on the age of the patient. Average death for patients over 80 years old is 15% or more worldwide.
Currently there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The most recommended way to prevent illness is to avoid getting exposed to this virus.
If you are already infected with COVID-19 or suspect that you or someone in your family is infected, follow the below mentioned steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people.
A1: Human coronaviruses can spread from a person infected with COVID-19 virus to other close contacts. When the infected person coughs or sneezes, the contaminated droplets spread can enter the bodies of nearby people and infect them. It may also spread by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.
A2: The time between when someone is exposed to the virus and when the symptoms appear for the first time is generally 5 to 6 days, although the duration can range from 2 to 14 days. Due to this reason people who are in contact with a confirmed case are recommended to isolate themselves for 14 days.
A3: Everyone must fight stigma and help others by providing social support. The best way to fight stigma is by learning and sharing facts. It must be communicated that viruses do not target specific ethnic or racial groups.
A4: Coronaviruses are actually a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in humans, and others, only infect animals. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have infected people and can spread between people. In the case of COVID-19 this is suspected to have occurred. Other two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people are Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
A5: It is an evolving situation and how it may affect people is still not fully clear. However, current information tells us that the fatality rate of people with infection lies between 1% to 5%. It is high in elderly and people with underlying health issues.
A6: Currently, there is no vaccine available. Research is going on in many countries and scientists are trying their best to find a vaccine. At present, precaution and infection control measures are the most effective mode to prevent COVID-19.
A7: Coronaviruses are thought to be spreading from person-to-person through respiratory droplets/secretions. At present, there is no clear evidence that supports transmission of COVID-19 through food. However it is advised that before preparing or eating food it is best to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as a general precaution.
A8: For the general population who do not have any symptoms, there is no requirement to wear a mask.
People who are showing respiratory symptoms should wear a mask so that they do not spread infection, if any, to other people. Most importantly they should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
A9: It is not yet confirmed if weather and temperature have any impact on the spread of COVID-19. Although some viruses, like common cold and flu, spread more during cold months but that does not mean that one can’t become sick with these viruses during warm months. Currently, it is not clear whether the spread of COVID-19 will reduce when the weather becomes warmer.
A10: Information from China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting sick from this illness. This includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes,hypertension and lung disease.
A11:If you fall in the higher risk category of getting sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on your daily supplies; take precautions to keep distance between yourself and others when you go out in public, be away from people who are sick; wash your hands often; avoid public places and non-essential travel. Keep a close eye on symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay at your home and call your doctor to inform your symptoms and seek advice.
A12: If you have symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing, or you have been in close contact with a person having COVID-19, or you have a history of travel to high risk countries or come in contact with people who have recently traveled to higher risk countries (China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, USA, UK, EU, Iran), call your doctor or healthcare professional. The healthcare professional will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
A13: If you have stayed in or transited through a higher risk country in the last 14 days, you must self isolate yourself for 14 days, counting from the day you departed the higher risk country. You must monitor yourself for symptoms and if you develop fever or respiratory symptoms, please call your healthcare provider urgently.
Portea is amongst the best in-home medical care providers in India. You can get the best support services at the comfort of your home and be safe.
People with mobility issues or people recovering from a surgery, who are intending to visit hospital to seek medical support services can avoid it by availing in-home medical support services.
Have you been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19? Are you a frequent traveller? Are you above 60 yrs of age? Do you have Diabetes/High BP? Do you have Flu like symptoms? Do you fall sick often? Contact Portea to support you medically for self quarantine at home.
People with mild suspected cases or those discharged from hospital post treatment of COVID-19 can seek home care services for continuity of medical care. These medical support services are provided through Portea’s experienced nurses, doctors and health professionals.
We also offer Home Quarantine services for COVID-19 and also provide disinfectant kits.
Also note that Portea does not conduct COVID-19 tests. Please contact the relevant hospitals mentioned in the link here https://icmr.nic.in/sites/default/files/upload_documents/Testing_sites_for_COVID19.pdf
Content is medically reviewed by Dr. Vishal Sehgal(Medical Director, Portea)
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