Coronavirus: What You Need To Know

Predictions of disease outbreaks have a high probability of coming true since such outbreaks do usually happen. (Image:  pixabay /  CC0 1.0)
Predictions of disease outbreaks have a high probability of coming true since such outbreaks do usually happen. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Over 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus COVID-19 infection in China alone. As the virus spreads all across the globe, the international community is worried about whether the infection can be contained or not since there is no known cure for it. As someone trying to keep themselves and their family safe from the coronavirus, there are some basic things you should know about the infection.

The virus

“Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and people. SARS, for instance, was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS traveled to humans from a type of camel,” according to Al Jazeera.

The current coronavirus is now termed COVID-19, the name the WHO now uses for China’s novel coronavirus. It is a new, unidentified strain of the virus. Though not much is known about it, scientists have confirmed that human to human transmission of the virus is possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed fever, shortness of breath, and coughing as signs of infection. In some severe cases, the infected person might end up with pneumonia, kidney failure, SARS, or even death. The incubation period has been estimated to be between 10 and 14 days.

Since people infected with the virus do not show the symptoms for several days after the infection, the chance of them spreading it to others is very high. At present, there is no cure. Scientists from across the world are working round the clock to find a treatment. A few researchers from China are testing a potential cure and are expected to announce their results as soon as possible. The WHO has classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a global health emergency. As there is no cure, strict attention should be given to preventive measures.

“Wash your hands often with soap and water (scrub for at least 20 seconds), and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not an option. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and steer clear of other sick people… Stay home when you are sick, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Also, get a flu shot if you haven’t already. This will not protect you from the coronavirus, but it will increase your chances of staying healthy this winter,” according to AARP.

Wash your hands often with soap. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Busting myths

The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has also triggered a flood of myths on the Internet. One rumor claims that even pets can catch and spread coronavirus. However, WHO has dismissed the rumor, pointing out that there is no proof of cats or dogs even being affected by the viral infection. “It is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans,” the organization said in a statement (Fox Business).

There is no proof of cats or dogs being affected by the coronavirus. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

One myth says that the infection can be cured with Vitamin C, oregano oil, and saltwater. Another rumor claims that “miracle mineral water” will cure the virus infection. Not only are these claims absolutely false, blindly following them can even produce negative results. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already alerted the public not to drink the “miracle water mineral solution” since it is a dangerous bleach. Plus, keep in mind that antibiotics cannot treat COVID-19. They are only able to cure bacterial infections.

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