What is Corona Virus pandemic?

Written by: A public health professional    Tuesday, 17 March 2020

What is Covid-19?

Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, and fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

How contagious is Covid-19?

Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.

Where did the virus come from?

The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China has dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.

What is the current status of Covid-19?

The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. As of Tuesday the 17th of March, Covid-19 has spread to 162 countries and territories and infected more than 183,048 people with 7,175 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 125, with two deaths. Nepal has so far reported just one case where the patient recovered. To check the latest stats on Covid-19, please go through the link here https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

How dangerous is the disease?

The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 per cent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.

How do I keep myself safe?

The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 per cent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days. You can also follow our WUHAN approach to keep yourself safe from this deadly virus. Please go through the link https://www.facebook.com/alfabetainstitute/photos/a.118629621649714/1543729195806409/?type=3&theater to learn more about WUHAN approach.

Is it time to panic?

No. The virus has miraculously not entered Nepal yet, except for one case in January. So far, no one else has tested positive for Covid-19 and the government has imposed travel restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.