At the beginning of December 2019, news of a new Coronavirus broke out from Wuhan, China. As at the time of this writing, about 2,740 people have been infected by the deadly disease, with 80 losing their lives as a result. It is spreading very fast and the death toll is expected to rise in the coming weeks. While the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it is too early to declare a global public health emergency, fears are increasing in nearly a dozen countries reported having recorded cases of the virus.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause several illnesses in the body of infected patients. They are mostly found in various types of animals and they are also capable of leaping on human beings. Ahead of the latest outbreak, there had been two other records of Coronaviruses on humans that gave birth to SARS and MERS in 2002 and 20012 respectively.
The disease has symptoms such as fever, sore throat, fatigue, and dry cough. Health experts also claim that it may later metamorphose into more complicated issues that could lead to difficulties in breathing. This latest one is named 2019-nCoV. It is new as it hasn’t been previously recognized in humans.
The new Coronavirus is believed to have broken out from a seafood market in Wuhan, a central Chinese city. According to the city’s health commission, the infection blew up between December 12 and 29 from a number of the patients who were working at the market.
The new virus has caused serious alarm all over the world since much hasn’t been discovered about it. Experts are yet to realize the full length of the danger it poses and how easily it can spread among people. It has been claimed that it is very infectious in its incubation period that can last for as much as 14 days.
China recently raised awareness that the virus is mutating and it can be passed via contact between humans. As per results from two scientific analyses of the epidemic, every infected person is transmitting the disease unto two or three people. Apart from Tibet, all other provinces in the country have reported cases of the viruses.
Although most of the infected patients are Chinese citizens, several cases of the outbreak have now been identified in places such as the United States, South Korea, France, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, Macau, Japan, and the Philippines. Reports have claimed that up to 14 people are undergoing tests of the disease in the United Kingdom.
How Fast Is It Spreading?
Since the news broke out in the middle of December 2019, cases have developed at a tremendous pace. Two Chinese patients died of the deadly disease within a month and about 40 cases were recorded. The death toll, as at the time of this writing, stands at 80, alongside over 2,300 known cases.
A gambling hub in the city of Macau reported five cases yesterday while six people have also been identified to be infected with the disease in Hong Kong. Moving forward, Singapore has confirmed four cases, Nepal has witnessed its first account, Taiwan has uncovered four, Thailand eighth, Vietnam two, Korea three and both Malaysia and Japan have recorded four accounts each.
The new Coronavirus isn’t limited to Asian countries alone. Its spread to Europe and some other parts of the world has been noticeable. On Saturday, the United States reported five confirmed cases, France reported three and Australia has also confirmed five so far. Despite the pace and spread of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s refusal to declare a global health crisis that would put emergency measures in place has come as a surprise to many.
Are There Any Efforts to Combat the New Coronavirus?
With over 2,300 people already confirmed to have been infected with the deadly virus, there’s the need to find a quick solution to counter its spread. Unfortunately, no vaccine is available yet and some experts have warned that it could take years before one is developed. However, efforts are being put up by several nations to combat the virus and there’s a lot of hope behind them.
A team in London is reported to have two vaccine candidates that were developed from the genetic sequence of the virus supplied by scientists from China and some health experts in Britain believe a vaccine could be available within a few weeks.
Elsewhere, the Chinese government has also started building a hospital dedicated exclusively to provide treatment to patients infected with the virus. While that is expected to be ready in a matter of days, other nations are coming up with their movements too and we could be aware of them in the coming days.
How To Treat The Infection?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are no specific treatments for patients infected with the Coronavirus. In most cases, patients will recover on their own. Adequate rest and medication to treat symptoms are the best options for patients.
Sore throat and cough can be relieved with a humidifier or hot shower. People who are mildly sick are advised to drink plenty of fluids and rest but those who are worried over their conditions should consult a health practitioner. This is general advice for all Coronavirus and it isn’t limited to the new one.
What to Expect
Just like what happened during the cases of MERS and SARS, the spread of the virus via close contact between people is expected to move further in the coming weeks and probably months. As a result, people are advised to avoid contact with sick people, living or dead animals, animal markets as well as products such as uncooked meat.
Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water for about 20 seconds and infected patients are urged to isolate themselves, cover their bodies, cover their coughs and sneezes, wear face masks and avoid contact with people and animals.