NewsMobile COVID-19 Guide Book: Step-by-step explanation on the outbreak

The virus — known as SARS-CoV-2 — that causes Covid-19 has infected more than 222,000 people since its emergence. (Of them, at least 9,000 have died.) That’s just the confirmed cases.

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Outbreak–Epidemic–Pandemic

  • Regional Epidemiologist for Mesa County Public Health Andy Tyler says an “outbreak” is more local and usually happens when a small group of people in one location get sick.An Epidemic is when a disease spreads to more people, leading to a spike in cases, like the flu.
  • “What this COVID was, was of course at first an epidemic of disease in China, it became an epidemic of disease in other areas of the world and that’s when it started spilling over into pandemic,” says Regional Epidemiologist Mesa County Public Health Andy Tyler.
  • During a pandemic there’s a need for more resources in different parts of the world, sometimes leading to shortages. But local health officials say they are working to ensure that it doesn’t come to that.
  • This is the first time in 11 years that the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. The last time they did was during the 2009 Swine Flu.
  • COVID-19 virus was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans therefore no vaccines were available for the same. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning, they are transmitted between animals and people.

How it spreads

  • Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when
    they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. One is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • The other is through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Symptoms

  • COVID-19 (AKA Coronavirus) is a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
  • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure.
  • Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
  • The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Some people have no symptoms. People who are older or have existing chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, may be at higher risk of serious illness.

How Coronavirus is different from common cold, cough, flu and allergies

Eyes watering? Runny nose? Feel like your head is locked in an ever-tighter vice?

Sounds like the start of seasonal allergies, maybe a cold or flu . . . but not COVID-19.

To keep anxiety levels down during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to know the difference between seasonal allergies or other illnesses and the COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says, a COVID-19 infection can produce symptoms similar to the flu like aches and pains, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion or diarrhea.

Precautionary measures

  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
  • Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Stay home if you’re sick, consult a doctor.
  • Let us act responsibly and refrain from socializing and venturing out unnecessarily.
  • Don’t forget to use hand sanitizers and face-masks if one has to step outside.

(Inputs from Atisha Gupta)

Read all the Coronavirus related fact-checks here.

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