Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus closely related to the SARS virus. SARS-CoV-2, was identified in China at the end of 2019 and is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals but some of them are also known to affect humans. After they have infected animals, they can eventually be transmitted to humans.
Once the virus develops in people, coronaviruses can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. This is a technical name for the wet stuff that moves through the air when you cough or sneeze.
The viral material hangs out in these droplets and can be breathed into the respiratory tract (your windpipe and lungs), where the virus can then lead to an infection. Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between 2 and 14 days.
Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
A person can carry and transmit COVID-19 without showing symptoms, scientists have confirmed. However, generally the symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, infection can cause
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome,
- Kidney failure and even death.
How to Prevent Contracting The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Humans
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, everyday preventive actions are recommended to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. This includes:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick or showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- Avoiding visiting markets and places where live or dead animals are handled;
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going outside; to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Avoiding contact with animals, their excretions or droppings.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. “If it’s not fitted right, you’re going to fumble with it. You’re going to be touching your face with unclean hands, which is the number 1 way you’re going to get disease”. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wherever you travel, apply general rules governing hand and food hygiene.