Picture Courtesy: NIH
Coronaviruses are one of the common families of viruses that can trigger a range of diseases, from mild common cold to pneumonia, in mammals, including humans and birds. While most of the coronaviruses aren’t dangerous, some could prove to be lethal to the human immune system.
The name coronavirus is derived from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the image of the virus is similar to a solar corona. Until January 2020, Coronavirus hadn’t been diagnosed in humans. But in January 2020, the Chinese authorities identified a new type: 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Health officials in China said that it originated from a large seafood market in Wuhan, a city in China.
The tally of deaths and infections from the spread of the new coronavirus in China jumped again and Chinese authorities started canceling large public gatherings. The official death count rose to at least 41, all of them within China. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, Macau, North America, and Australia, and even Nepal also reported coronavirus infections.
Coronavirus is communicable and can spread through coughing, sneezing, or by direct contact with infected secretions from contaminated surfaces. The time frame between the virus’s entry into the body and the appearance of symptoms i.e. the incubation period of the virus is around two weeks. As stated by the WHO, coronavirus initially attacks the immune system through respiratory tract infections, cough and cold, sore throat, and fever. Once the disease worsens, it can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
As always, prevention is better than cure. Hence, to prevent infection spread, we should always wash our hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid close contact with people who are infected, and only eat well-cooked meat and eggs. Take great precaution when you experience any of the initial symptoms and do not hesitate to consult a doctor.