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Coronavirus a large group of viruses, are known to cause illnesses among animals as well as humans. They can be easily transmitted from humans and animals of the same as well as different species. The symptoms range from cold, fever, cough to shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it can even lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.

The name Corona originated from the Latin word crown. This is because, under a microscope, you can see that the Coronavirus has crown-like projections. The new Coronavirus is said to have originated in the Wuhan city of China, on January 2020, killing thousands of people,  it is now a Global Emergency. 

Origin 

The recent outbreak is said to have originated at a wet market, in Wuhan, China. Wet markets are an easy target for diseases, due to the fact that it is an area where close contact among people, animals and dead animals, happens on a regular basis for long periods of time. Thus making it easier for the virus to bread and jump from one source to another. Coronaviruses are zoonotic diseases. This means that they initially spread from animals to humans. There is a possibility that bats are the original hosts of this outbreak. The bats were first infected by the virus which was then transmitted to other animals and then to humans. 

Symptoms 

It is believed the symptoms of Coronavirus may show up in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Having similar symptoms to a common cold, it is often difficult to differentiate the two, initially. Coronavirus symptoms are much like any other upper respiratory infection such as running nose, cough, sore throat, and fever. However, if the Coronavirus spreads to the windpipe and lungs, it can cause serious illnesses like pneumonia. It is communicable and can easily spread among different animals, animals to humans and from one person to another. 

How is it transmitted? 

Coronavirus spreads among different species of animals such as camels, cats, bats, cattle, as well as humans. It is rare that these viruses spread from animals to humans and vice versa. However, spreading among humans is extremely common. It usually happens when there is close contact. The spread occurs through respiratory droplets produced when a person infected with Coronavirus coughs or sneezes. When these droplets are inhaled into the lungs of a healthy person, the spreading takes place. It is important to keep in mind that Coronavirus is highly contagious and taking proper measures to control the transmission is the need of the hour. 

Prevention Measures 

As of now, there isn’t any vaccine to prevent being infected by Coronavirus. The best measure is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are some of the measures you could take to stay safe – 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially before eating. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

Myths and Facts 

Since the recent breakout of Coronavirus, several myths and fake news have been spreading faster than the virus itself. It is advised to be well informed and not fall for these myths. 

  • Can pets spread the virus? 

At present, there is no evidence that pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the Coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. 

  • Can you get vaccines against Coronavirus? 

As of now, there is no vaccine for Coronavirus. There is a common misconception that vaccines against Pneumonia and other diseases help, but that is not true. Researchers are still trying to figure out a way to create a vaccine for Coronavirus, with support from WHO ( World Health Organization). Although its not highly effective, vaccines against respiratory illnesses are recommended. 

  • Are antibiotics effective in treating Coronavirus?

Antibiotics work only on bacteria and aren’t of any use when it comes to viruses. However, if a person is hospitalized for Coronavirus then antibiotics are provided because it is possible that there is a bacterial coinfection. 

  • Is there a specific medication for Coronavirus? 

There is no specific medication for the treatment of coronavirus as of now. However, it is mandatory that those infected by the virus should receive adequate support and care.

How is it affecting the world? 

As of February 29th, there have been over 85,187 recorded cases of Coronavirus COVID-19, worldwide, as per reports from Johns Hopkins CSSE. China being the majority, the exact number of people affected here is not yet known. 

Here is a detailed world report of the exact number of Coronavirus cases reported in each country, as per Johns Hopkins CSSE:  

  • 79,251 Mainland China
  • 2,931 South Korea
  • 889 Italy
  • 705 Others
  • 388 Iran
  • 234 Japan
  • 96 Singapore
  • 94 Hong Kong
  • 64 US
  • 57 France
  • 48 Germany
  • 45 Kuwait
  • 41 Thailand
  • 39 Taiwan
  • 38 Bahrain
  • 32 Spain
  • 25 Australia
  • 25 Malaysia
  • 20 UK
  • 19 United Arab Emirates
  • 16 Vietnam
  • 15 Canada
  • 11 Sweden
  • 10 Macau
  • 8 Switzerland
  • 8 Iraq
  • 7 Israel
  • 6 Norway
  • 6 Oman
  • 6 Austria
  • 5 Croatia
  • 4 Lebanon
  • 4 Greece
  • 3 India
  • 3 Philippines
  • 3 Finland
  • 3 Romania
  • 2 Netherlands
  • 2 Russia
  • 2 Pakistan
  • 2 Mexico
  • 1 Afghanistan
  • 1 Nepal
  • 1 Lithuania
  • 1 Cambodia
  • 1 Georgia
  • 1 North Ireland
  • 1 Nigeria
  • 1 Algeria
  • 1 Iceland
  • 1 Belgium
  • 1 San Marino
  • 1 Denmark
  • 1 North Macedonia
  • 1 Monaco
  • 1 Belarus
  • 1 New Zealand
  • 1 Brazil
  • 1 Estonia
  • 1 Egypt
  • 1 Azerbaijan
  • 1 Sri Lanka

As of Feb 29th, there have been 2,924 deaths, with 2,727 deaths in Hubei Mainland China,  34 deaths in Iran, 21 deaths in Italy, 21 deaths in Henan Mainland China, 17 deaths in South Korea, and 13 deaths in Heilongjiang Mainland China.

Coronavirus in India 

In India, there have been many suspected cases of Coronavirus from Kerala, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Patna. As per the data from Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE, there have been 30 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in India out of which 3 of them have successfully recovered and 27 of them are still active. (For live updates click here

Additionally, there have been cases of Coronavirus in India from a cruise ship, Diamond Princess, quarantined off the coast of Yokohama Japan. A special Air India flight arrived in New Delhi from Tokyo, on Feb 27th bringing back 119 Indian nationals (113 crew members and 6 passengers) who were on-board the Diamond Princess Cruise ship.

This article has been updated on 06-03-2020