Tuesday 10 March 2020 3:17 AM UTC
By Manoj Koothur
LONDON March 10: Panic has gripped the world with the Coronavirus, which was initially traced in China, started to spread to all parts of the world with people beginning to fall ill and the disease starting to spread.
However, new data being released provides solace to those who are young and healthy. But great care is needed to ensure that those who are ill, unhealthy or with low immunity, to be safeguarded from getting infected with this virus.
It is important for each person to be aware of the disease and take precautionary steps to keep the virus at bay.
What is Corona Virus? Where is the epicentre?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people.
This outbreak is caused by a new virus named COVID-19 inducing respiratory disease. First detected in Wuhan, Hubei province in China and now detected in 70 locations internationally.
Epicentre of the infection is Wuhan farmers market, which had sales of animal and sea food including bats meat. Infection spread outside china confirms person-person spread as well.
Is Coronavirus dangerous?
WHO is categorising this infection as “Public health emergency of international concern”. Coronavirus infection is not the first one in the world.
There were well known MERS (Middle east respiratory virus) first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 with 40% mortality and before that in 2003 SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) reported from Asia with a mortality rate of 9.6%. COVID-19 so far got a mortality rate of 1-2% depending on the country.
China got 16% severe cases but linked to the patient with underlying respiratory illnesses. Even in China the mortality rate is 3% and not affecting healthy young individuals, unlike SARS or MERS.
According to a peer reviewed document released, the morbidity of individuals with no pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases are just 0.9%. And if you are under the age of 50, percentage of morbidity is less than 1%. In summary, if you are young and healthy, no need to panic.
Also remember as of today there are 111,817 cases worldwide but already 62,722 patients made complete recovery. Out of 45,202 active cases today 87% exhibits mild or no symptoms. In general these statistics give us a picture of recovery.
Which countries are stated as Risk?
China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea is been named for travel risk by CDC.
Can heat kill virus? Will spring slow down the spread of the virus?
Virus can withstand high temperatures and do possess contractual capacity and virulence. A good example is MERS Coronavirus outbreak in SaudiArabia in the month of August 2012. A study in China suggests CoronaVirus can withstand up to 56 degrees Celsius or 133-degree Fahrenheit.
Remember a bat (virus carrier) does have the capability to increase its body temperature up to 104 F to resist viral infections.
Cold weather or snow will not kill it either, as human body remains between 36.5 and 37 degree Celsius irrespective of the outside weather. But body immune system tends to be weak in winter months making it more susceptible.
How long can a Corona Virus stay alive outside human body (on surfaces)?
This is not known as this is a new Corona Virus. Most viruses stay alive in extreme weather conditions up to 28 days. Known Corona Virus such as MERS and SARS remained in moisturised atmosphere up to 9 days.
DOs & DONTs
1. Observe good personal hygiene
2. Practice regular handwashing with soap or alcoholic gel
3. Cover your mouth while sneezing and coughing with tissue or flexed elbow
4. Catch it in a tissue, bin it & kill it by immediately discarding into a closed bin
5. Avoid contacts with anyone who got fever and cough
6. Maintain at least 1 metre distance between a person who is coughing or sneezing
7. Avoid touching eyes, nose & mouth
8. Consult a physician if you feel fever, cough or difficulty in breathing
1. DO NOT do overstocking of hygiene products
2. Don’t spit or sneeze in public
3. Importantly do not get stressed, as it is proven to reduce natural immunity
4. DO not turn up at A&E, instead ring NHS111 for guidance
Manoj Koothur is a Microbiology scientist currently working as Senior European Manager for an American Corporate and manages clinical (scientists &other clinical) associates across all European countries.
Formerly Manoj was working with the NHS Microbiology [MK] as department manager in Surrey.
With 20 years of professional experience in Healthcare, Manoj Koothur brings with him a diverse background from Microbiology and process improvement to consulting and managing primary healthcare and Laboratory automation. Manoj, a native of Thrissur in Kerala, resides in Tunbridgewells in Kent.
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