There has been enough said about the Coronavirus (and live coverage by news outlets), but here is a York Notes version on what you need to know about the latest health scare.
What is COVID -19?
COVID-19 is the official name given by the WHO to the disease caused by the Coronavirus. The first instance of this virus was reported in the city of Wuhan in China on the 31st of December 2019.
COVID-19 symptoms are very close to the cold or flu – mild fever, cough and sore throat. More intense symptoms could be high fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue
How fast is it spreading?
According to the WHO, there have been a total of 90,870 cases confirmed globally, with over 80,000 in China. The UK has a reported total of 39. Reported cases means that these people have tested positive for the virus.
The general consensus is that the virus spreads similar to other viruses of this type, from person-to-person through cough droplets, although reports have said the transmission rate is less than the seasonal flu.
The virus is causing global repercussions for the economy and trade, including a report from the UK government that says a fifth of the UK workforce might be off sick during the peak of the Coronavirus epidemic in the region (source: BBC).
Organizations are working on developing antibodies and vaccines, but until a cure is found, prevention is our best bet.
Should I be panicking?
The short answer is NO. The long answer involves monitoring the changes based on facts and evaluating risks. The WHO puts the current fatality rate at 3.4%, however these figures can be unreliable as new virus cases with milder symptoms often go
unreported, skewing the rates.The fatalities are also higher in older age groups and people with pre-existing conditions, which would lower the body’s ability to fight back.
The WHO, NHS and CDC all agree that containment is the answer, and that there is no need for mass panic on the COVID-19 yet. The best thing to do would be to ensure our hands are always clean, that we are monitoring our own health, and are careful when we come into contact with others. And hoping that we find a vaccine soon.
How can I prevent a coronavirus infection?
Since the virus is transmitted by contact, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
Practice good hygiene – wash your hands before touching your face as this is the easiest way for similar viruses to spread.
Wear a face mask – if you are in contact with people who have the virus not everyone needs to wear a face mask, but those that have the virus, or are treating people with the virus, should wear one to minimize the spread of the disease
Cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve when sneezing or coughing
Sanitize surfaces that get the most human contact – doorknobs, counters etc.
Avoid travel to high-risk countries (and self-isolate if you have been to one of these, until you know for sure you don’t have the virus)
Get yourself checked if you think you have symptoms. You can book an appointment with a GP on GogoDoc for a home visit for general illnesses, but if you think you have the COVID-19, the NHS recommends calling 111 and letting them know.
What precautions are you taking to safeguard you and your loved ones from the coronavirus?
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