In January when the World Health Organization, WHO announced a new epidemic outbreak called Coronavirus in Wuhan, China, it seemed like a distant virus in one corner of the world. But two months later, the whole world has been thrown into panic as the pandemic sweeps from shore to shore.
There are now many questions as myriads of confusing information litter everywhere. Although Coronavirus is a serious pandemic, the uncertainty around what it really is, how it is contracted and what to do to protect one’s self or get the right treatment when infected has been the bane of needless panic.
So, here are some key things you need to know about Coronavirus.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a family of zoonotic viruses that cause respiratory illness among humans.
Where did it come from?
The first case of coronavirus was from Wuhan in Hubei Province of China. It was from that place that it started to spread all parts of the world. The virus was first brought into Nigeria by an Italian national in February.
Why is it also called COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a classification of the 2019 novel Coronavirus Disease. In simple terms, Coronavirus is a virus that causes a disease called COVID-19. These two terms are used interchangeably.
How is it contracted?
A healthy person can be infected with Coronavirus through droplets of saliva or air particles from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes. You don’t need to necessarily be in the same space with a COVID-19 patient to contract the virus.
Once you touch a doorknob, money or objects with droplets from their sneezes or coughs and use the same unwashed hand to touch your nose, eyes, and mouth, you will get infected with the Coronavirus.
How many people are affected by Coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, WHO Situation Report on March 21, 2020, more than 266,000 people have been affected by Coronavirus globally. The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC reports that as of March 21, there are 22 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
Although the WHO reports that about 11,184 people have died of COVID-19 around the world, Nigeria has not experienced any deaths yet.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has similar symptoms with cold and catarrh. But it is differentiated by dry cough, fever and difficulty in breathing. Symptoms begin to show within 14 days of exposure to the virus.
Does it affect only older people?
Coronavirus affects people of all ages. Although people below 50 years of age have higher chances of surviving the virus. In severe cases, older people or those with underlying health conditions can die from COVID-19
What should I do when I get the symptoms?
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC advises persons with symptoms of COVID-19 to isolate themselves immediately and call the centre for directions on how to get help. You can contact the NCDC through WhatsApp on 07087110839; Toll-free number – 080097000010; SMS – 08099555577; E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org; and Twitter DM – @NCDCgov.
Can Coronavirus be cured?
Presently, there is no specific medicine recommended for preventing or curing COVID-19. But those infected with the virus can receive palliative care to relieve and treat the symptoms. Scientists are running clinical trials on a series of drugs and are close to finding a cure for the disease.
How can I protect myself from getting infected?
Some of the most effective ways to protect one’s self from Coronavirus are through social distancing and practicing personal hygiene. Here are some guidelines from the NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health.
• Using hand sanitizers in the absence of water and soap
• Avoiding close contact greetings like handshake or hugs
• Observe social distance (2 metres)
• Practice self-isolation, especially if you’re returning from abroad
• Never touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands