With 2020 coming into view, it seems that the world barely has any time to catch its breath due to the avalanche of events—remind you, it’s still February. A lot has happened since the world aged—such as Brexit (the British exit) happening. Marking a new economical era for the United Kingdom and free trade. Though, much lesser positive things have occurred over the past month. There were discussions about an incoming World War III (sparked by the US’ murder of an elite Iranian military general), then on more recent news, the world was pushed into grief upon the news that Kobe Bryant and his daughter was involved in a fatal helicopter crash that took both of their lives. Pretty much now everyone has heard of the deadly virus that has shaken the world and has been putting everyone on edge.
People around the world has been growing restless about the deadly new virus that originated from China, specifically from a city called Wuhan. The virus, scientifically known as 2019-nCoV—meaning “novel coronavirus”. This new pathogen was announced by Chinese health authorities as belonging to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses. The word ‘corona’ means crown and refers to the crown-like spikes on their surface. They infect mostly bats, pigs and other small mammals. However, they mutate easily and allow them to not only infect animals but also humans (in recent discoveries). The coronavirus can be included in the same deadly category as other human infections, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). They all share a common trait in which they attack the respiratory system and interferes the lungs from functioning properly. The new Coronavirus has reached the status of it being a pandemic and has taken victims.
Currently, there is still very little to know about said virus. There are currently no treatment nor medication that has yet been found to cure the coronavirus, considering that the spread of the virus only caught heat just recently. Scientists are rushing to find a safe and effective cure to aid the increasing body count of said virus. The coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan on December 31, 2019. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide and has affected over 26 countries as of now. There are currently 20,707 reported confirmed coronavirus cases (and counting), with over 427 deaths that has occurred. Unlike SARS or MERS, it seems that the coronavirus has a death rate of 2%, which is lower than the death that occurred with the previous diseases.
Common signs of the coronavirus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death (World Health Organization, 2019).
So far, all we can do is to take preventive actions to avoid the risk of being infected by the disease since there are currently no vaccines or treatments that is yet to be discovered. The best way would be to avoid from being exposed to the virus itself. These actions would include basic daily hygiene such as washing our hands with soap (after going to the bathroom, after sneezing and/or coughing, before eating), always bring hand sanitizer in case there are no bathrooms available to wash your hands, avoid touching the nose/eyes/mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with sick people, stay home when sick, clean/disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using disinfectant wipes, and much more to list down. These are everyday habits that we come across that are fatal in minimizing the spread of virus.
Written By: Aisyah Daniswari
Source: World Health Organization