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Learn about coronavirus, aka COVID-19, a deadly new virus ravaging the world, and how to protect yourself and loved ones.
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a novel virus ravaging the world has led to more than 6,000 deaths in over two months since its first detection in China. So far the disease has spread to more than 150 countries with over 160,000 people infected worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan on 31 December 2019 and so far there is NO known cure to the lethal virus. But Chinese authorities have been using chloroquine, an off-patent drug, to treat infected victims.
Coronavirus is one of the deadliest viruses the world has ever encountered with a mortality rate of about 1%. The WHO had since declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic with countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany and France topping the chart of countries with the highest cases of infections of the disease after China.
In order to stop and deter the virus, countries around the world have taken drastic measures ranging from lockdowns, banning of large gatherings, cancellations of sporting activities, travel bans to closures of schools.
China declared a lockdown on January 23, but has since been relaxed when the infection rates in the country slowed down considerably. Italy, France and Spain followed suit and the United States of America (USA) which declared a state of emergency on the fatal outbreak, suspended travels from all European countries including the United Kingdom.
In Africa, Nigeria had also recorded two confirmed cases of COVID-19 after an Italian businessman flew into the country. As at 13th of March 2020, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that the second case, was a contact of the Italian, “was discharged having cleared the virus and tested negative twice.” It further stated that identified contacts of the index case in the country have completed their 14-day follow up period.
So far there had been reported cases in at least 16 countries of Africa, with Egypt (93 cases, 2 deaths) leading the way, followed by South Africa (38 cases, no deaths), and Algeria (37 cases, 3 deaths).
In this special report, Memorila will be giving you updates on the spread, recoveries, deaths, preventive measures and cure of the COVID-19 as the information gets to our desk.
Coronavirus: Table showing world’s spread of COVID-19 as at March 15, 2020
|SN||Country, Other||Total Cases||Total Deaths||Total Recovered||Active Cases||Serious, Critical|
|81||Bosnia and Herzegovina||21||21|
|130||Trinidad and Tobago||2||2|
|134||Antigua and Barbuda||1||1|
|152||St. Vincent Grenadines||1||1|
|156||U.S. Virgin Islands||1||1|
What is coronavirus?
WHO describes COVID-19 as thus: “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
“Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.
“Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.”
According to the WHO, common symptoms of COVID-19 infection include “respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.”
But in more severe cases, WHO said infection can cause “pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.”
The World Health Organisation enumerated the following advice as ways of preventing oneself from the lethal COVID-19 virus. Heed the advice to protect yourself and loved ones.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
- Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
What to do if one is infected with COVID-19
USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the following advices for a person infected with COVID-19:
- Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
- Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
- Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people.
Cure of COVID-19
So far, there is no known cure of COVID-19. But according to LiveScience, “Most people who catch the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 recover at home, and some need hospitalization to fight the virus. But in a number of patients, the disease called COVID-19 is deadly.”
According to TheGuardian, “drugs that are known to work against some viruses are being trialled in China,” and that “new trials are starting in the US and other countries.”
TheGuardian large further stressed that more numbers are needed to find out whether these trials work in a few people or a lot of people or nobody at all. The most hopeful of the trails so far, it said, are Kaletra, which is a combination of two anti-HIV drugs, and remdesivir, which was tried but failed in Ebola patients in West Africa in 2013 and 2016.
TheGuardian further reported that “Some Chinese doctors are also trying chloroquine, an antimalarial drug, which is off-patent, therefore cheap and highly available, and would be very useful in low-income countries.” The first results, the report concluded, are expected in mid-March and should indicate if the drugs will at least help those who are most severely ill.
If you are in Nigeria, you can contact the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through its toll-free number (0800 9700 0010), mobile number (07036708970), SMS (08099555577), WhatsApp (070871108390, their social media handles (Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov) or through mail ([email protected]).