Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in several different animal species, such as bats, camels, cats, and cows.
Rarely, coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans and then between infected people.
The new coronavirus, initially reported to be transmitted at a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan City, China, has been named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes is called COVID-19.
As of now, there have been 77,785 confirmed cases and 2,666 deaths (3.4%) in China, with 27,655 patients recovered representing 35.5% of affected patients (source: statista.com).
It is important to remember that being a communist country, China has historically hidden data in previous epidemics such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and in this instance it took two weeks to publicly announce the first case, as reported by medical publications such as The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine.
In the world, 80,419 patients with a total of 2711 deaths have been reported. Currently, there are 49,799 infected patients, and 9,211 (18%) are in critical condition
The disease has spread to 40 countries, including the United States. Officially confirmed cases have not been reported in Mexico to date.
Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus and consist of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing that can be mild or severe.
Risk factors include recent travel to China or contact with an infected person, remembering that each sick person has the potential to infect 2 or 3 more people.
There is currently no vaccine for the virus, so it is important to take appropriate measures to avoid getting infected, such as:
- Avoid close contact with people with symptoms of respiratory infection or confirmed illness.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- If you have a respiratory infection, avoid leaving your house.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a disposable tissue and then throw it away.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched with a disinfectant spray or towel.
- Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding, and other household items if you are sick.
- Contact your doctor if you have any of the mentioned symptoms and inform them of any recent travels.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs.
- Avoid contact with live animals and surfaces that may have been touched if visiting live markets in areas that have recently had new cases of coronavirus.
- It is not recommended for healthy people to wear masks routinely to protect against respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, as their usefulness has not been demonstrated. However, people showing symptoms of COVID-19 should wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of masks is also crucial for healthcare workers and people caring for someone at home or in a healthcare facility.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States recommend avoiding nonessential travel to China and South Korea.
They also recommend that older adults and people with chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes) avoid traveling to Italy, Iran, and Japan.
The COVID-19 outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has become a global public health emergency. Although the virus is believed to have originated from animals, it is now being transmitted between humans, and its spread is a cause of great concern. The outbreak has caused widespread panic and has impacted the global economy. There is currently no vaccine available for the virus, and it is important for individuals to take appropriate measures to prevent getting infected.
It is recommended to follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health organizations to prevent the spread of the virus. Remember, we are all responsible for doing our part to help prevent the spread of the virus, and staying informed is key to protecting yourself and others.