A new pathogen “2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)” has taken over 200 lives in China, leading to the declaration of the severe health crisis in the country and worldwide. The outbreak was first reported from Wuhan, China in December 2019. Fuzzable presents you with a guide to coronavirus and precautionary measures we can take to safeguard ourselves:
What is Coronavirus?
Belonging to a family of viruses, Coronavirus is identified by spiky fringes that encircle the virus. Out of all the viruses included in the family, 2019-nCoV, SARS, and MERS have been confirmed to affect humans. Considering its novelty, 2019-nCoV is still being studied by medical practitioners and researchers who are trying to figure out its origins, duration, and fatality.
The World Health Organization stated that while the symptoms for the virus is dependent on the patient’s condition, but the common signs include “respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties”.
While there is a lot of speculation around how 2019-nCoV spreads, studies from SARS and MERS have shown droplets to be one of the easiest ways for virus transmission. As reported by Vox,
“if these droplets reach the nose, eyes, or mouth of another person, they can pass on the virus, said Jennifer Nuzzo, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. In rarer cases, a person might catch a respiratory disease indirectly, “via touching droplets on surfaces — and then touching mucosal membranes” in the mouth, eyes, and nose, she added.”
Myth-Busters and Precautionary Measures
Myth: 2019-nCoV is fatal
Yes, the speed with which we are encountering cases does make this virus a serious case to be considered but we have to be mindful of the fact that practitioners are still gathering data to conclude their observations. 2019-nCoV has not been declared more serious than SARS and MERS.
The cases for virus transmission outside China are low. Therefore, while discussing the information, be sure about the facts you put forth. Misinformation only creates panic among people.
Myth: Masks will help prevent transmission
Masks work when one is trying to stop spreading the infection that they have, like in the case of flu. An exposure to droplets through coughing and sneezing will likely pose an issue but the chances of virus transmission depend on the proximity, its duration, and one’s medical history in terms of respiratory issues.
The best way to safeguard yourself will be to wash your hands with soap, cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing and throw away tissues immediately after its use. Also, make sure to seek medical assistance if you see yourself or your loved ones affected with cold, cough, or fever.
Myth: Antibiotics can cure 2019-nCoV
Some organizations are being condemned for their dubious advice around the use of natural herbs and antibiotics to treat novel coronavirus. Virus by its nature resists antibiotics, hence, it cannot be treated through one.
Seek medical assistance to get yourself the right treatment. If required, the doctors can offer antibiotics to relieve the issues but the treatment will vary as per each patient’s condition.
Myth: Pets can transmit the disease
WHO has released a comprehensive list of myth-busters and it includes an assumption about pets. Pets, unlike believed, have not shown the signs of the contracting virus.
The best way to protect yourself would be to wash your hands after getting in contact with your pets, to prevent bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella.
Myth: 2019-nCoV is a “Chinese” virus
On Twitter, people have started labelling the virus as a Chinese virus under the garb of displaying concern for its transmission, within the country and outside.
The outbreak could have happened anywhere. Using ethnicity as an excuse to discuss the virus’ fatality is a slur for the people affected. People in China are predominantly affected so, a racial slur is not just distasteful but also a mark of failure in understanding how outbreaks work.
Check the WHO’s website for regular updates. Avoid travelling to the countries affected and at home, adopt precautionary measures to safeguard yourself against the transmission.
Share more information via tweet @Fuzzable.