Did you know that Corona (not to be mistaken for the specific Covid-19 of today) has been around for thousands of years? Corona has been traced back to at least 8,000 BC/BCE, which is over 10,000 years ago! It’s no secret that pandemics are nothing new to humanity, but to avoid history disastrously repeating itself, we must take protective measures to not only keep ourselves safe, but our communities as a whole.
What is Covid-19?
Let’s start with the name: Covid-19 can be broken into four parts. Co for Corona, Vi for Virus, D for Disease, and 19 for the year 2019. This specification is essential because there have been many different types of Corona diseases throughout history, and this acronym specifies that we are talking about the current global pandemic.
Covid-19 can be traced back to bats, which then hopped species to the pangolins, an animal that was sold on the illegal Chinese markets and then finally spread to humans. Back in December of 2019, news came out of Wuhan, China, that a “viral pneumonia” is infecting people. This virus was then traced back to November, meaning that people travelled to other countries and infected others well before we even heard news about what is now called Covid-19. This, later showed to be the most detrimental cause of the spread of Covid-19.
(picture of a Pangolin)
Since misinformation was the most detrimental cause, all we can do now is prevent the spread of further misinformation in order to control this virus and eventually rid it from the world. Vaccines are expected to be ready in 2021, but we need to take action now to avoid further damage to our societies and civilizations.
How Covid-19 Functions
Covid-19 is a respiratory virus, meaning that it primarily attacks the lungs. The infection rate is 100%, meaning that there is no immunity to it and can spread to anyone, but the mortality rate is rather low, meaning that deaths are rare. When we talk about Covid-19 deaths, the most at-risk group are people 60 years or older, especially if they have other medical problems.
Symptoms of Covid-19 on average appear 4-6 days after a person is already infected, however, symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear. The time before symptoms appear is the most dangerous, as people don’t know that they have the transmittable virus and continue on with normal activities instead of quarantining themselves away from society. The most common symptoms are fever, dry cough, and fatigue (tiredness), some less common symptoms may include headaches, a sore throat, diarrhea, a loss of smell & taste, and pain. Severe/serious symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and a loss of speech or movement. Covid-19 in most cases does not require hospitalization, but if severe symptoms occur, it may be absolutely necessarily in order to insure recovery.
Prevention of the Virus
The world statistics for Covid-19 are now in the millions, specifically over 50 million (and rising) cases; there have been 1 million deaths, but over 30 million recoveries. When zoomed in on these statistics, the United States has the biggest problem with this pandemic, with over 11 million cases, and 250,000 deaths. This is because in the United States, prevention isn’t taken as seriously as it should be, and unfortunately, Covid-19 went to surpass being a medical problem into “political” territory. The cases in the US are still rising due to the fact that the right measures are not being taken.
In order to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 and to contain it, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center of Disease Control (CDC) have posted guidelines on the measures to be carried out. Primarily and most importantly, are using masks and sanitizers in public areas, and whenever possible keeping a one-meter distance between other people. Masks prevent the rate of infection and also protect the user from infection, while sanitizers (70% alcohol) kill Covid-19 bacteria immediately. Basic hygiene, disinfection of surfaces, and the frequent cleaning of hands are also a must in order to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread. Not touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth are also essential because that’s how the virus gets into the body. Furthermore, the ventilation of rooms, the closing of public gathering places such as schools, religious buildings, and work fields have shown to immensely cut down on the spread of Covid-19.
Fact vs. Fiction
With so much misinformation being spread about Covid-19, it is important to get your information from reputable sources (NOT social media) such as the WHO and the CDC. Some common “facts” that spread around are as follows:
1. Taking Antibiotics treats Covid-19.
This is FALSE. Covid-19 is a virus. Antibiotics are for treating bacterial diseases, not viral ones.
2. People with Covid-19 need to be hospitalized.
This claim is FALSE. 80% of those infected can be treated at home, but must isolate from other family members and pets.
3. Covid-19 needs a live host in order to survive.
This claim is TRUE. Covid-19 cannot live for longer than 30 minutes on anything that is not alive, a host is needed in order for the virus to multiply and thrive.
4. Foods such as Ginger, Lemon, and Peppers help prevent Covid-19.
This claim is FALSE. There are no recorded foods or drinks that prevent or treat Covid-19.
5. Covid-19 cannot be passed through breast-feeding.
This claim is TRUE. Covid-19 has not been found in breastmilk, but the mother should still take measures (such as wearing a face mask) to ensure that the virus isn’t spread to their infants.
Testing for Covid-19 can be done in a few ways, but the most common is the Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR test. This test is administered with a cotton swab, where the swab is entered through the nose or throat in order to collect a genetic sample which can be tested in order to find out if the patient currently has Covid-19. A blood test is performed in order to find out if a person has previously had Covid-19, by seeing if Covid-19 antibodies are present in the body. If antibodies are present, it means that the body has produced these antibodies in order to fight the virus, if they aren’t, it means that the patient has never had Covid-19 before.
Vaccines for Covid-19 are expected to roll out in 2021. This is a statement by Pfizer (collaborating with BioNTech). Pfizer also stated that their vaccine is 90% effective after being testing on over 43,000 patients. This vaccine is also shown to be efficient for mutated versions of Covid-19, meaning that if the virus changes in the future (it’s very common for viruses to mutate), the vaccine will still be effective.
While we’re expecting a vaccine in 2021, we should still do our best to prevent the spread of this infectious virus. Surely the spread of the vaccine will mark the end of this pandemic, but that end will come much quicker and more efficiently if we all do our part to limit the spread in the first place. While Covid-19 isn’t deadly in most cases, it is still infectious and can cause problems and sometimes death in those who don’t have an optimally functioning immune system. It has been a year now that we’ve been dealing with this virus, but if the correct safety measures are put in place, we won’t have to deal with this virus and it’s waves for much longer.
Bhargava, Hansa D. “Coronavirus History: How Did Coronavirus Start?” WebMD, WebMD, 15 Apr. 2020, www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-history.
“Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
“Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.