WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19).

Coronavirus (officially known as – Covid-19), which orignated in China, killed 20,543 people across the globe and infected 454,456. The virus has spread to 157 countries. In India, 606 confirmed cases have been reported so far. On March 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged India’s 1.2 billion citizens to put themselves under self-curfew on Sunday (March 22) to protect themselves from the coronavirus. By March 24, the entire country was put under lockdown for 21 days.

COVID 19
Source : Google images

What is coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they can be transmitted from animals to humans. The spikes protruding from the virus’s membrane look like the sun’s corona. It is from this that the virus gets the name ‘coronavirus’. It causes illnesses of the respiratory tract, ranging from the common cold to severe conditions like SARS. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

What is the difference between Coronavirus and COVID-19 

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which originated from China’s Wuhan. On February, World Health Organisation (WHO) named the novel coronavirus “COVID-19”. “Co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”, while “19” was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on December 31. 

According to the WHO, “there are different procedures, and purposes, for naming viruses and diseases. “Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines.” Viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).  

This particular virus was named “severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2” – or SARS-CoV-2. The WHO says that “from a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003”. Hence, the name ‘Covid-19 virus” was given.

Symptoms of coronavirus 

Coronavirus can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold. Some of the symptoms are — A general feeling of being unwell— Runny nose— Sore throat— Headache— Cough— Fever In case someone is facing lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, they must seek professional health immediately.

Coronavirus in India: State-wise total number of confirmed cases (Indian and foreign nationals)

Corona effected cases

Coronavirus helpline number and e-mail id 

Union Health Ministry has activated a toll-free 24×7 national helpline number, 1075, to address queries related to the infection. Anyone seeking information can also call on the number 011-23978046.
 The helpline e-mail ID for Coronavirus is ncov2019[at]gmail[dot]com 

AI chatbot – A WhatsApp helpline to answer queries about Coronavirus 

An AI-based automated helpline helps to address queries regarding COVID-19. The AI chatbot is integrated in WhatsApp and can be reached by any users by messaging on +91-93213-98773. The chatbot is privately operated, and is promoted by Mumbai-based startup Haptik. While not being an official helpline, an information source such as nCov is useful in helping individuals get a quick response to common queries on Coronavirus.
Who is more likely to be a victim coronavirus? People with a weakened immune system, cardiopulmonary disease, infants, and older adults are more likely to be affected by a coronavirus.

How do you catch coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are zoonotic. This implies that they are passed on between animals and people. When Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) sickened thousands of people around the world — and killed nearly 800 — during a 2003 outbreak, investigations found that it was transmitted from civet cats to humans. MERS-CoV was transmitted from camels to humans. There are several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. On January 7, the Chinese authorities identified coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as the causative virus behind cases of pneumonia of unknown cause. This novel coronavirus has not been previously identified in humans, hence experts say its too early to figure out the exact cause of the infection.

Will the coronavirus spread through cough or sex? 

Coronavirus is highly contagious. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also fall victim to virus even if they breathe in droplets from a person infected who coughs out or exhales droplets. 

How dangerous is coronavirus? Does coronavirus cause death? 

A few coronaviruses are known to be deadly. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was first reported in the Middle East, causes severe respiratory problems. Four out of every 10 patients infected with MERS died in 2012. The infamous Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) causes even more severe symptoms. Along with respiratory problems, it also causes diarrhoea, shortness of breath, fatigue and kidney failure. The death rate with SARS was higher, with older people being the most vulnerable. The new virus (COVID-19) claimed over 3,000 lives and over 93,000 people were diagnosed positive. 

How is coronavirus diagnosed? 

Doctors may recommend the patient to undergo tests on respiratory specimens and serum to detect coronaviruses. If anyone experiences the symptoms, they must inform their doctor about recent travel or contact with animals. 

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus? 

There is no specific treatment for coronavirus, and no vaccine to prevent it. 

How contagious is coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are highly contagious. Coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth can spread the virus. — Touching hands of a person that has the virus can pass the virus from one person to another — Making contact with an object that has the virus and then touching your nose, eyes, or mouth can infect a person — A coronavirus may spread through contact with feces. 

Coronavirus and pregnancy 

In pregnant women, the severe versions of SARS and MERS coronaviruses were found to be severe. According to reports, women who suffered from severe versions of coronaviruses had stillbirth. 

What are the precautions for Coronavirus? 

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands— Avoid close contact with people who are sick— Avoid public gatherings

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