All We Need to Know about the COVID-19

Written by: Digvijay Kothari

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I started working on this article on 22 March 2020 at 10:53 PM, I sat down determined to share the knowledge I have gathered on Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Coronavirus caught the world by surprise, many had underestimated it in the beginning, but the virus mutated and spread so fast that it didn’t give us the time we needed, to prepare for it, governments were taken off guard and it brought our attention back to the fact on how less we actually have spent on the protection of mankind from such outbreaks.

The COVID 19 pandemic, is a global threat that we need to fight. As a responsible citizen of the world, I feel it’s my social responsibility to share the information I have garnered through extensive reading, as there are a lot hoaxes and tall tales about this virus floating around on the internet.

CDC’S Human Coronavirus Types

The virus got its name from the Latin word corona, which means a crown, due to the crown-like spikes on its surface. While, COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, Scientists had also given this strain an interim name 2019-nCoV, accounting for the year of discovery and its status as a “novel” virus, and its family name (CoV).

There are four main sub-groupings of coronaviruses, known as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.

Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. Listed here are some of the common human coronaviruses;

  1. 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  2. NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  3. OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  4. HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
  5. MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus)
  6. SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus)
  7. SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus)

People around the world commonly get infected with human coronaviruses 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. For instance, the 229E and OC43 are two of the common Corona Viruses that cause the common cold.

Sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus. Three recent examples of this are 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV.

The CARONAVIRUS (COVID 19)

Coronavirus Disease or COVID 19 is caused by the newly found virus called SARS-CoV-2 (VIRUS)- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, suspected to have originated from Huanan seafood wholesale market, Wuhan City, China’s Hubei province.

Scientists in China several days after the virus broke out in China had discovered that this virus seemed to have jumped species. Chinese scientists and researchers in Guangzhou, China, suggested that based on genetic analysis, it seems plausible- that the long-snouted, ant-eating mammals are the prime suspect host for the virus, but further research is needed to confirm this hypothesis.

SAR- CoV-2 = BAT -PANGOLINS-HUMANS

They also figured that the virus itself was highly contagious and could spread much faster than influenza. and its rate of fatality over the weeks has increased significantly.

Case fatality rate = (Total number of deaths/ Total number of cases *100)

14,616 / 336,838 * 100 = 4.3% (I started writing my article, 22/March/2020)

28,238/614,063 * 100 = 4.59 % (Present day 28/March/2020)

This shows that the COVID 19 is spreading at a much faster rate than its predecessors, which could be due to the spread of the virus by asymptomatic human carriers.

Why is it difficult to contain the COVID-19

The Epidemiological fact about COVID 19 is that the Ro (R naught), reproductive ratio or its degree of spreadability is more than that of influenza which has a Ro of 1:1, while the COVID19 has a Ro of 1:3, so the virus spreads three times faster than the flu.

Since the virus can spread so quickly, governments have been urging people to maintain social distancing by staying indoors and avoiding mass gatherings as they want to bring the Ro < 1.

How the Virus Spreads:

So far the virus is known to be spreading in three ways: fecal/oral route, through respiratory droplets and Asymptomatic carriers

The Fecal/ oral route:

This means that an infected person can spread the germs by not washing their hands properly after using the toilet and touching surfaces and items in the toilet which allow the virus to rest on the surfaces increasing chances of spread.

Respiratory droplets:

An infected individual can spread the virus by sneezing or coughing, as the respiratory droplet spreads into the air and on surfaces like tables, chairs and computers when another person touches the surface or comes in contact with the respiratory droplet they are prone to catching the disease.

It has also been found that the droplets in the air can affect people standing or walking past the infected person at the range of 3-6 feet for about three hours. While the virus itself can stay alive for 24 hours on a surface.

Through Asymptomatic carriers:

This I feel is the most dangerous way the virus can spread as an asymptomatic carrier will not look or feel sick but will still be able to spread the disease as the virus is present in their body fluids like saliva and sweat. The only way we can actually stay safe from this virus is to maintain social distancing as no hospital or nation actually has the kind of infrastructure to support mass outbreaks of this nature meaning more and more people will die before the whole situation starts to come under control.

Government Failures

After just 3 weeks of the lockdown, the number of cases in the United States outnumbered both that of Itlay and China with over 104,256 reported cases till 28 March 2020. The United States government’s failure to react on time can be blamed for the massive outbreak in the country, which has brought life as we know it to a complete standstill.

The Trump administration’s failure to understand the spreadability of the virus and the slow response to making the tests for the virus available on time is one of the reasons for such a massive spread of the virus.

Like the Trump administration governments across the world have been threatened by this natural invader which is threatening to wipe mankind out. This pandemic also shows how vulnerable we are to such pandemics, and how unprepared we are to handle such cases and mass illnesses.

 

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