By Lt Gen K K Aggarwal
Corona is like an invisible and unstoppable Ghost which does not even need a visiting card, aadhar card or GPS map or any other KYC document to verify the age, sex of a potential victim or location where it is going to strike next. It can secretly come and go anywhere, anytime unannounced and visit people –without any passport, visa or identification documents
One good thing about the virus, therefore is that it ‘comes in; only when you go out’. In other words Corona is practically harmless and cannot harm or damage property till a person remains indoor. There is nothing to fear if you stay inside — but if you don’t, no tablet, injection, anti-biotic, IV fluid, vaccine, therapy, or surgical intervention to isolate, extract or prevent Corona. Likewise no muscleman (bouncer, or bodyguard) or device (like CCTV, door lock, door phone, or burglar alarm) that can block its way and prevent it from entering a premises and kill at will. The situation is gloomy but not as impossible as it seems. Almost 80% people infected by COVID-19 can recover even without any specialist treatment.
What is Corona virus?
The word Corona is supposed to depict a large family of viruses that affect both animals and humans. Many of these viruses are known to have caused respiratory infections from common cold to severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or a strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) that leads to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and a strain known as SARS-CoV.
COVID-19 is new strain of the virus and research is still going on to find ways to contain, prevent it from spreading or eliminate it, if possible. The most recently discovered coronavirus version that we are concerned about is coronavirus disease 19 or COVID-19.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic which means a disease which has the potential to spread worldwide because people are not immune. The fast-moving, alien or pathogen has placed a question mark behind even the most well managed medical treatment and created conditions for the world’s largest-known quarantine from Chandni chowk to China.
When and where it was first reported?
According to reports the COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei province of China around December 2019 when 27 out of the first 41 people (66%) who passed through the market in the heart of Wuhan city needed to be hospitalized. Interestingly according to a study conducted by a Wuhan Hospital, the first human being to be infected was not even a regular visitor to the market. A molecular dating of the SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences raised questions about the origin and mode of transmission of COVID-19. Since the day the virus was tracked at the seafood and animal market in Wuhan it has been on a killing – almost akin to a serial killer – killing different human beings belonging to various age groups or sex in different countries, one after another.
Origin of Corona virus:
Scientists have been trying to explain the origin of COVID-19 as a result of co-infection with SARS-CoV-2 which caused it. Genomic studies suggest that the SARS-Cov-2 virus may have been a combination of two different viruses. This means its exact origin is still unknown. In the last few weeks, we have all learned a lot about COVID-19 but still there have been a lot of grey areas about its origins.
Transmission of corona viruses from animals to humans is rare hence health experts suggest that the Cronavirus originated from the animal kingdom – bats, pangolins, cattle and camels in Wuhan, China before getting a foothold and consolidate it. Once it had its footsteps dug in, it literally went on a world tour spreading from person-to-person.
How many people have been infected?
As on today (28 March 2020, 02:42 GMT+5:30) there are over 512,701 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) including some 23,495 confirmed deaths in over 202 Countries, areas or territories across the globe. The status on 28 March 2020, 02:36 GMT+5:30 was — 465,915 confirmed cases, and 23,495 confirmed deaths in 200 Countries worldwide.
Symptoms of Corona virus:
The symptoms of coronavirus may include mild flu and severe breathing trouble in 1 in 6 people. Some of the other symptoms of COVID-19 include persistent cough, fever and shortness of breath which are likely to be visible 2–14 days after exposure to the virus.
What does Corona virus do inside the body?
A peculiar trait of the Corona virus is that it cannot spread in isolation and needs a human or animal carrier to take it forward, though it is still not clear why and how the virus spreads. Once the virus enters inside the body it weakens the immune system and goes on to play havoc. Unlike anything else Corona eats virtually every organ, tissue or cell inside the body (without baking, boiling or frying them) and then seeks a transfer to another person’s body.
How does Coronavirus spread?
SARS-CoV-2 was known to spread from person to person in close communities. A people infected by COVID-19 virtually spits tiny droplets containing the virus every time he breathes or coughs. These virus that come out of the mouth or nose of an infected person can contaminate others within close proximity say around 6 feet away from the person or object with the virus. It is not advisable for people to touch their nose, eyes, or mouth as this can pass on the infection to others. The most treacherous and transmittable phase of the disease – is when its symptoms are at the peak.
Is it possible for an asymptomatic person to spread the virus?
A new study has revealed that about 10% of the infections are transmitted by people who do not otherwise display any visible symptoms. The droplets of the virus deposit and contaminate any object or surface and whenever someone touches an infected person the virus abruptly spreads its arms to grab and give them free gift in return. So obviously hugging or going too close to an infected or suspect is not the option.
Why is Coronavirus more dangerous than other viruses?
COVID-19 itself is not a serious cause for concern, though it can lead to death in severe cases. Since the COVID-19 has only just been discovered it is difficult to predict why, where, when or how does the disease become uncontrollable, spread, or lead to excessive mortality. According to one of the reports- out of the 1,099 confirmed cases in China around 16% developed severe complications and about 3.6% of them died. This situation to likely to change in the next few days and weeks.
The medical fraternity believes that COVID-19 is more deadly than influenza – a seasonal infection that leads to death in less than 0.1% cases.
What is the risk involved?
The risk of coming in contact with the virus, developing other severe illness or jeopardizing the lives of people in a locality is real and needs to be taken seriously.
(To be continued)