Facts About the Coronavirus COVID-19

Ever since this whole thing started, you may have come across two terms: Coronavirus and COVID-19. So, what is the difference between them?

Well, there are many different types of coronaviruses. They are viruses that are common both in people and different animal species, but they rarely transmit from animal to human. In this case, it did.

So if a person is infected with a coronavirus, they will develop symptoms and get sick. The COVID-19, which stands for CoronaVirus Disease 2019, is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus that hasn’t been previously identified in humans. There was another outbreak of a contagious respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus back in 2002, known as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

This coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is believed to have originated in an animal market in Wuhan, China, where the first people were infected from an animal. Then, it began rapidly spreading from human to human as well, first in China, then worldwide.

At the time of writing (mid-March, 2020), there have been more than 120,000 reported cases of the virus worldwide, the majority of which are in China (over 80,000). The second-largest outbreak is in Italy, followed by Iran, South Korea, and Spain. Overall, it is spread in more than 126 countries and regions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) finally declared the COVID-19 a pandemic.

What are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus?

If you become infected with the coronavirus, you may develop the following symptoms 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing (in more severe cases)

The symptoms of the coronavirus are very similar to that of the seasonal flu, so just because you develop the aforementioned symptoms, it does not mean you necessarily have COVID-19. In severe cases, coronavirus patients may also develop pneumonia.

How is the Coronavirus Spread?

The coronavirus can be transmitted:

  • From person to person. If someone coughs or sneezes near you or you are simply in close contact with them, you can get the coronavirus through their airborne respiratory droplets. This is the main way the disease has spread so far.
  • From contaminated surfaces. If a person who has been infected with COVID-19 touches a surface, the virus could live there for hours. If you touch the surface and then touch your face (eyes, nose, or mouth) you can be infected with the virus as well - so make sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

How Dangerous is the Coronavirus?

Most people who become infected with the coronavirus will overcome it without any serious complications. A large number of them may not even have to be hospitalized, but can instead self-isolate and recover at home. However, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The overall fatality rate of the COVID-19 appears to be around 3.4%, but it is not evenly distributed among age groups. Ages 9-39 have the lowest fatality rate so far (about 0.2%) whereas, for those aged over 80, the rate goes to 14%, according to a report by the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

Therefore, if you are young and healthy, your biggest concern should not be whether you survive the disease if you catch it (you likely will) but that you may pass it on to someone else who is not so lucky.

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