The whole world is on alert right now because of a new virus called the Coronavirus. What started just as suspected pneumonia in seafood market workers in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019 has now spilled all over the world as a more sinister type of virus. Today, there are more than 83,000 people infected and more than 3,000 deaths. Although most of the patients are in China, the numbers of the infected are rising across the globe.
Many countries, including Australia, are extremely cautious and are now taking measures to avoid the virus from further spreading.
We have gathered some helpful information below for people who wants to know more about the virus, how to protect yourself and where it comes from.
What is it?
The Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause anything from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The virus spreading today is called novel Coronavirus or Covid-19. It hasn’t been identified in humans before and not much information is available about it. That’s why scientists are finding it difficult to develop medicine or vaccines to fight the virus.
Covid-19 is dangerous and already has 20 percent confirmed severe or critical cases. The death rate currently stands at a bit over two percent.
Where did it come from?
The virus is said to have started in Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan where dead and live animals are sold as food. The place comes with a high risk of virus transfer from animals to humans due to a lack of proper sanitation, and that is indeed what happened, although the original source is not fish. The virus actually comes from bats.
Bats are also sources of other zoonotic viruses like Ebola, rabies, and HIV. The flying mammals may have infected the animals in the wet market, which were handled by the workers who were initially found with Coronavirus. Since then, the Coronavirus has been passed from person to person worldwide.
What are the symptoms?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people who are infected with the virus will experience fever, cough, tiredness and breathing problems. These symptoms may show immediately or up to 14 days from the time of exposure to the virus. In Australia, there are 29 confirmed cases of Coronavirus.
Visit the WHO website for more information on Coronavirus.
How dangerous is it?
Antibiotics and other antiviral drugs do not work against Covid-19. Those with severe cases can have organ failures and the infected individuals who have poor health in the first place have died. Just last weekend, Australia reported the first death related to Covid-19.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a vaccine is currently under development, but it may take years. Some experts are looking at the drugs for Ebola and HIV and the results look promising. However, there’s no guarantee that they will work and there’s no way of treating those who are infected right now.
How to protect yourself
With the situation on Coronavirus intensifying rapidly, Australia has increased its efforts in preventing more cases from happening inside the country and closely monitoring the situation globally.
We can trust that infected people from other nations will be detected at the border. However, you should be proactive in keeping yourselves safe from the virus and you can do so by practicing precautions from any respiratory illnesses.
To protect yourself, always wash your hands, especially when you’re in a public space. Cover your nose and mouth when someone coughs near you and do the same when you’re coughing as well. Try to stay away from crowded locations and delay your flights until it’s safe to travel again. Most importantly, avoid going near sick people.
When you experience any of Covid-19’s symptoms, contact or visit your doctor immediately and keep away from other people until you’re declared safe.
Greg Keily Chemist has been serving the Southport community for four decades by providing the best over the counter and prescription medicines. Our qualified and experienced pharmacists are always available for all your medication needs.