Hey guys, the world is currently battling a new pandemic called coronavirus. A few hours ago, four new cases were confirmed in Lagos, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 12.
I’ve been reading extensively about the deadly disease and here are a few life-saving facts you should know;
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new virus, have made the jump to humans, but most just cause cold-like symptoms.
Two other coronaviruses – Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) – are much more severe, having killed more than 1,500 people between them since 2002.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the new virus, officially called Covid-19, is also dangerous – so far, around 20 per cent of confirmed cases have been classed as severe or critical. So far, around 15 to 20 per cent of hospital cases have been classed as “severe” and the current death rate varies between 0.7 per cent and 3.4 per cent depending on the location and, crucially, access to good hospital care.
How did the outbreak start?
The source of the coronavirus is believed to be a “wet market” in Wuhan which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds.
Such markets pose a heightened risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans because hygiene standards are difficult to maintain if live animals are being kept and butchered on site. Typically, they are also densely packed.
The animal source of the latest outbreak has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats. Bats were not sold at the Wuhan market but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there.
Bats are host to a wide range of zoonotic viruses including Ebola, HIV and rabies.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Initial symptoms include fever, dry cough, tiredness and a general feeling of being unwell.
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known infectious period for this disease. WHO is currently investigating if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered to be rare.
How many people have died from the disease so far?
More than 229,200 cases have been confirmed since the outbreak started, and the death toll has exceeded 9,300. The majority of cases are now outside China, and the virus has spread to more than 100 other countries.
According to data from the Chinese authorities, around 80 per cent of cases of the disease are mild, but 20 per cent require hospitalisation, and the death rate has varied by country.
How is coronavirus spread?
Like cold and flu bugs, the virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.
It follows that the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself is keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitising gel.
Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
There is no specific treatment, although doctors are trialling existing drugs for viruses such as Ebola and HIV. Early results seem promising but, until full clinical trials have been concluded, doctors cannot be certain that the drugs are effective.
Coronavirus in Nigeria
While there are only 12 confirmed cases in Nigeria right now, from what I heard and read, there are 10 times more cases than that, if not more.
What can you do if you have coronavirus?
As stated above, there’s currently no cure for coronavirus and what you can do if you are experiencing the symptoms is to isolate yourself within the home as quickly as possible and get vitamin C to boost your immune system. I also advice you talk to a doctor.
Although, most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own, the sooner you consult your health care provider, the better your chances are for recovery.
What can you do to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
The only way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is: social distancing.
What does social distancing mean?
Social distancing practices are changes in behaviour that can help stop the spread of infections. These often include curtailing social contact, work and schooling among seemingly healthy individuals, with a view to delaying transmission and reducing the size of an outbreak.
How do you practice social distancing?
As an individual, you can lower your risk of infection by reducing your rate of contact with other people. Avoiding public spaces and unnecessary social gatherings, especially events with large numbers of people or crowds, will lower the chance that you will be exposed to the new coronavirus as well as to other infectious diseases like flu.
Other measures include working from home if possible, organising meetings via video calls rather than doing them in person and avoiding unnecessary use of public transport.
But if you do have to be out and about, the World Health Organization recommends maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. It is also recommended that you avoid physical contact with others in social situations, including handshakes, hugs and kisses.
There’s no cause for alarm. If you practice social distancing, watch your hands regularly with soap and use hand sanitizers, and yes, drink lots of water; you will be fine.
Spread the word
Share this article with your friends and loved ones. We need to create more awareness of the need for social distancing, which is the only way we can beat the pandemic.
Be safe out there:-)