The newest coronavirus strain originating from Wuhan, China has alerted officials worldwide. Reported deaths from the Novel Coronavirus has gone up to 213 as of the 30th of January. This SARS-like virus has infected more than 9,700 other people, including cases from 19 other countries, including the United States.
The Novel Coronavirus is 80 percent identical to SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which claimed a total of 813 lives from mainland China and Hongkong in the years 2002 and 2003. Experts said the Novel Coronavirus, dubbed as 2019-nCov, displays some entirely new characteristics. This makes it difficult because experts are still yet to figure out how to deal with the new virus and they also have no idea how it affects people.
Wuhan authorities identified the main source of the virus to be from an animal source, particularly from a seafood market, the epidemic’s center that also sells live animals. Chinese officials confirmed there has to be a human to human transmission of the virus since not all infected had contact with the market.
Doctor Nathalie MacDermott explained that the virus could be spread through droplets in the air from sneezing or coughing. For this, people are warned to get themselves protected by wearing masks. Some experts even said that cases could be much higher than what has been officially reported.
Pulmonary problems are common cases during the flu or cold season. There’s no need for you to panic if ever you have pulmonary symptoms. You’re safe if you don’t have any recent travel history from China or have contact with people diagnosed with the disease.
But it’s helpful to know the specific symptoms of the 2019-nCov which include the following:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Common colds
- Impaired liver and kidney function
- Kidney failure
- Severe cough
Some officials said that it’s still early to compare 2019-nCov with SARS, others explained that symptoms of this new virus are mild and less aggressive. Although the death toll is lower compared to the 2003 SARS outbreak, the recorded global case count has already surpassed that of SARS.
Despite these statements, the world at large should continue to be vigilant since cases are rapidly rising, affecting other nationalities who recently visited China or had contacts with affected patients.
“Wuhan Is Sealed Off”
The Chinese government is already taking measures to curb the spread of the virus. It has ordered a temporary lockdown in Wuhan, which is the capital of Central China. Wuhan is a highly commercialized city, rich in cultural heritage, and is home to 11million people.
In the previous year, the Chinese Lunar New Year attracted more than 700,000 people. But for this year’s celebration, authorities called off the big event and sealed off the city, canceling trains, planes, and public transport. They also mandated compulsory isolation for people diagnosed with the virus.
WHO and 2019-nCov
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has declared the 2019-nCov to be a global health emergency. They have acknowledged that it now presents a global risk. They also provided a range of interim guidance for the international communities to better prepare for the virus.
Officials have issued close monitoring of sick people, especially those coming from Wuhan, China. They also provided test samples, treatments of patients, control of infections, and communication tools to make people aware of the development of the 2019-nCov outbreak.
How to Protect Yourself
Since cases are spreading internationally, people are advised to take safety precautions to strengthen their immune system and take proper self-care. No vaccine has been developed yet to counteract the effects of the virus.
The World Health Organization issued the following guidelines to protect the public from this latest virus outbreak.
♦ Wash hands with soap and water. Though alcohol and other sanitizing agents come in handy, the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands with soap and water. Never mind the hassle. Ensuring your safety should be your main concern as of the moment.
♦ Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Even if your symptoms aren’t identified with the 2019-nCov, you still need to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze to prevent the virus spread.
♦ Throw away immediately used tissue. Used tissues should be disposed of immediately. Avoid putting them inside your bag or putting them on places where people can have direct contact with them.
♦ Avoid close contact with people who have a fever or respiratory illnesses. As much as possible, stay away from people with respiratory problems to avoid getting the infection.
♦ Seek immediate medical help when you have breathing difficulties. Shortness of breath is one of the severe symptoms of the 2019-nCov. Call emergency whenever you’re struggling with it.
♦ Wear masks in heavily crowded places. In a crowded place, you won’t figure out who’s healthy or who’s not. Wearing a protective mask is your best option to stay healthy.
♦ Handle with care raw meat or milk. Most bacteria can grow in raw meat or milk when these items are not handled properly. Some of them even carry natural bacteria.
♦ Keep yourself healthy. This is a general rule whether there’s an outbreak or not.
According to authorities, the most vulnerable group to the 2019-nCov are the children and the older population. This is because the immune system of these groups is much weaker. Reports said that those who died of the virus had existing medical conditions.
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