Coronaviruses are viruses that can cause common cold, fever, cough and even severe diseases like acute respiratory syndrome and pneumonia. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China. Almost 245,805 people are affected and more than 10,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency relating to COVID-19 and declared it to be a pandemic.
COVID-19 spreads easily from person-to-person. While researches are still going on, it is believed that these viruses are transmitted through fluids in the respiratory system such as mucus. If a person coughs or sneezes without covering the mouth, droplets can disperse into the air. Touching or shaking hands with an infected person can lead to an exchange of the infection. Making contact with a contaminated surface or an object and then touching your face, nose, eyes or mouth can cause you to get infected. It can mutate effectively which is why it is so contagious.
What are the stages of COVID-19 and what does it mean?
There are four stages in COVID-19 transmission. Let’s understand the different stages of the spread of the virus:
This is when the disease is just introduced to the masses. In this stage, the virus has been transmitted by the people who are travelling from abroad. These are known as imported cases as the people who have travelled to foreign countries – places that have confirmed cases of the virus – come back to their native place.
As mentioned above, these cases include those people who have come in contact with those who have a travel history to coronavirus infected countries. This stage is known as a local transmission where one can trace the person who passed on the infection. It could possibly be a family member, friend or colleague. This is a vital stage in understanding and preventing the spread of the virus.
In this particular stage, there is no way that the virus can be traced back to a certain person. This stage is community transmission where an infected person need not have to come in contact with anyone with a travel history to the countries affected by coronavirus. This involves large scale spread of the virus which needs to be avoided. This stage also makes it very difficult to break the chain of transmission and makes it harder to prevent the spreading of the disease.
This is a widespread outbreak of the disease where a large number of people get infected and a rising number of deaths take place. It turns into an epidemic without any clear end.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, seek medical attention. Your doctor will check and determine if you need to undergo tests. To test for COVID-19, your doctor will take samples of your saliva, a nasal swab and throat swab. You may be suggested to self-isolate to prevent the spread of infection.
While researchers all over the world are currently working on creating a vaccine for the virus and discovering a potential treatment for COVID-19, at the moment treatment is directed at relieving the symptoms of the disease with
- Pain relievers
- Medication and cough syrup
- Fluid intake
- Sufficient oxygen supply
- Adequate rest
In case of serious illness, one needs to be treated in the hospital. A person suffering from chronic diseases and older people with low immunity are vulnerable to the virus. They have a higher chance of respiratory problems and severe pneumonia.
- To prevent the infection from spreading, follow these guidelines –
- Regular hand washing.
- Use a handkerchief to cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing.
- Avoid stepping out unnecessarily.
- Use a hand sanitiser with 60% alcohol content.
- Do not come in close contact with people showing flu symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, desks, phones, etc.
- In order to prevent transmission, you should wear a face mask if you are sick.
Researchers around the world are carrying out trials and tests to determine the treatment for the virus. While clinical drugs could take time, it is important that everyone must work together to control the spread of Covid-19.