By Ken Uwotu
LONDON, England – Coronavirus has ignited panic due to its ability to spread between people with ease. The virus is transmitted through droplets, or little bits of liquid, mostly through sneezing or coughing, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of World Health Organisation (WHO) emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told reporters during a recent virtual news conference. The virus can also be transmitted through touching surfaces that contain the virus and then touching your face, nose or eyes.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread. The lack of immunity in the population (and the absence as yet of an effective vaccine) means that COVID-19 has the potential to spread extensively. The virus is thought to spread from person to person with close contact with one another or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Initial research has identified the presence of live COVID-19 virus in the stools and conjunctival secretions of confirmed cases. All secretions (except sweat) and excretions, including diarrhoeal stools from patients with known or suspected COVID-19, should be regarded as potentially infectious. This will be particularly worrying for care professionals offering care and support to the most vulnerable group (the elderly) without any form of testing to establish if they have this contagious virus.
In a new US study endorsed by WHO, it was discovered that the COVID-19 virus is airborne and can reside in the air for hours and on surfaces for days. The rapid rate at which the virus is spreading would indicate that simply talking to someone in proximity could cause the virus to be transmitted. It is not rocket science, the chances of an infected person transmitting the virus to others are directly proportional to the number of people that they come in contact with, this is why social distancing is so important in the fight against COVID-19.
To avoid contracting an infection in this way, people have resulted to using face masks, however, face masks are not entirely effective against COVID-19. The eyes, much like the mouth and nose contain a mucous membrane, via which the virus has a passage to the rest of the body. This will be a concern to home care providers who presently only using face masks as personal protection equipment against this deadly virus.
The good news is the majority of people who are infected with coronavirus experience a mild or asymptomatic disease that can be treated at home. One in five people who contract COVID-19 will require hospital care. Around 15 percent of cases experience severe infection, requiring oxygen to help with respiratory symptoms. Five percent experience critical infections, requiring ventilation. Those at a higher risk of severe or critical infections include older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Although there is no cure for COVID-19 or a vaccine against coronavirus at present; the aim of treatment at home is to manage and reduce symptoms until you have recovered; this can be achieved by correctly washing your hands regularly, drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of rest whilst in self-isolation; dealing with your mental health and emotional well-being during self-isolation can be challenging at times.
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