Coronavirus and COVID-19: Everything you need to know
The Corona virus outbreak is spreading across the world and it's got a lot of people asking questions.
How bad is this?
Is there a vaccine and what can we do to protect ourselves?
Well, step one, don't panic.
We're going to break it down.
First of all what is coronavirus?
For starters, it's a whole family of viruses.
SARS which first hit Hong Kong in 2002 was an outbreak, that was caused by a type of coronavirus.
But the coronavirus family also includes the common cold.
This coronavirus was first discovered in Wuhan, China in 2019 and it's a whole new strain It's officially known as SARS COV 2.
Now the sad part is confusing.
It's not actually the same virus that caused that 2002 outbreak but it's related.
The disease you get when you catch the virus that's called covid 19.
Coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS, I know it's all incredibly confusing.
But for a long time health officials didn't actually know what they were even looking at.
They now suspect that it was an animal virus that crossed over into humans.
Potentially at a live animal market.
We've seen that kind of thing before with swine flu and avian influenza.
It gives us a whole new mutated strain of a virus that health officials have never seen before.
We now know that the incubation period, the time between when someone gets infected and when they start showing symptoms That could be as long as 14 days and that's a problem because you could have people that are not showing out with signs of the virus but all walking around down infecting all the people without even knowing it.
And that's why we've seen so many travel lockdown.
In early 2020, countries like the U.S. enforced a compulsory 14 day quarantine that's the same time as the incubation period.
That apply to anyone traveling from known problem areas like China.
And before we start [UNKNOWN] know it doesn't mean that all the people coming from most places are infected.
It's just a really easy way to minimize the spread.
You keep the people who may have been exposed away from the people who definitely haven't been expose.
The only problem is now we're starting to see cases of carven 19.
And people who haven't been to China and haven't been in contact with people who have and that's got public health officials worried.
So, what happens to those people who contract covert 19?
Well, it's a respiratory illness.
So think things like coughing, fever, shortness of breath.
It also spreads like other respiratory illnesses, so sneezing and coughing on people.
We w don't know how long it survives on hard surfaces, it's safe to say you shouldn't go around licking hand rails.
But it's also not A sudden death disease.
It doesn't seem to be as severe as we first feared, but it does seem to be quite transmissible.
And some people have very mild symptoms or possibly even no symptoms at all.
So for some people it might just feel like a really really bad cold, but in severe cases, it can lead to things like pnuemonia.
People have been hospitalized put on respirators and according to data from China two point three percent of patients have died.
So who's at risk here.
Well think about like regular flu season.
It's the immunocompromised, elderly people, people who have lung conditions or chronic illnesses.
In fact, elderly people with covered 19 they're particularly at risk.
But unlike regular flu season, it doesn't seem to be affecting young people, which is good news.
The other difference with flu season, we don't have a vaccine and we probably won't have one for a while.
Because we're dealing with a new strain here, Scientists need time to develop the vaccine and put it through tests and trials to make sure it's safe and that it's actually effective.
Well, though, this is the fastest We have ever gone from a sequence of a virus to a trial, it still would not be any applicable to the epidemic unless we'd really wait about a year.
So no vaccine anytime soon.
But it's not all bad news.
Remember the CDC said that not all cases will be severe.
and 2% is a low mortality rate, especially when you consider it to things like the most recent ebola outbreak, where 50% of people infected died.
But the problem is just how transmissible it is, and therefore how many people could become infected
When we start to get into pandemic territory, where large parts of the population are getting infected and the virus is spreading across international borders, ten that 2% mortality figure gets really terrifying.
Not only that, but our hospitals will be incredibly stretched.
They will be dealing with a lot of severe cases and they may not have the resources to cope.
So what's the hope here?
Well, no, you don't need to go and stockpile six months worth of food.
Nobody wants to be eating sardines that long.
Now, the answer is kind of basic and it's also within our rage.
And that's standard public health measures hygiene, things like washing your hands.
Do it way more than you think you need to soap and water and for at least 20 seconds.
If you can't wash your hands, well use hand sanitizer at least 60% alcohol and rub it on and if you start to feel sick, don't be a hero.
Stay at home.
Don't go to work.
Don't go out in public don't catch transport.
Yes, you will get very bored but that's better than being patient zero in your neighborhood.
isolate yourself at home and make sure you clean, high touch surfaces things like door handles, bathroom fixtures, your phone, and if you do need to go to the doctor, make sure you call ahead so that they can protect themselves.
And one last thing, I can't emphasize this enough, cover your coughs and sneezes, and not with your hand.
Just remember to destroy all bacteria.
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