Understanding the deadly pandemic of the 21st century — Covid 19

The world is in the grips of the most deadly virus of the 21st century that has claimed more than half a million lives. The mankind is devastated and locked to their homes in fear. With nearly 12 million people infected across the globe, the end of the pandemic is nowhere visible. There are nearly 120 vaccines being developed by various universities and pharmaceutical companies that are in different stages of development. With considerable progress being achieved in creating the vaccine, let us understand the Pandemic and the effects it is causing in this blog.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals and humans. These viruses are known to cause respiratory illness ranging from Common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the most recent COVID-19.

What is Covid-19?

The most recently discovered Coronavirus causes Covid-19, an infectious disease. The new disease and virus causing it were unknown until the outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 that has turned a pandemic.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

The symptoms of Covid-19 vary across mild to severe cases and the most common ones are fever, dry cough and tiredness. There are also symptoms that are less common due to prevailing illness in infected individuals. They include Nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, aches and pains, loss of taste and smell, skin rashes, fingers or toes discoloration. The symptoms usually start mild and develop gradually since the incubation period is nearly 14 days.

How long will it take to develop symptoms?

The Covid-19 symptoms has an incubation period of 14 days and it can develop anywhere between this timeline.

Will all infected become ill?

4 out of 5 people recover even after becoming infected without hospitalization and only 20% become seriously ill and develop breathing difficulty. Aged people are at the high risk of infection along with the underlying medical issues such as heart and lung problems, cancer, diabetes, blood pressure, etc. Every age is susceptible for infections and develops fever, cough along with respiratory difficulties. Such cases need immediate medical attention.

When should one seek medical attention?

No need to panic if mild symptoms appear. In such cases, self-isolate and monitor symptoms. They include cough and mild fever. In case the region where you reside is prone to malaria or dengue, kindly seek medical advice, the case may not be of Covid-19.

Kindly wear a mask at all times especially in public places to save yourself and people around you. If children start showing mild symptoms, immediately seek medical advice either through your medical advisor or the state directed healthcare centers.

How does the virus spread?

Human to human spread of virus occurs through small droplets from mouth or nose that are expelled when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or speaks. The droplets do not travel far and sinks to ground quickly as it is relatively heavy. People get infected if they breathe in those droplets. This is the reason why social distancing is key to defeating this disease as it cannot travel more than a metre.

The droplets might land on physical objects such as tables, shelves, door knobs, handrails, etc. They also pose infection risk if a person touches these objects or surfaces, and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. Ensure that you wash your hands frequently with soap and water or clean with alcohol based sanitizer.

Can disease spread from people with no symptoms?

It is possible to infect their contacts in early stages of infection even though there are no symptoms.

How to protect ourselves from infection?

Social Distancing is the most measure one can take to protect themselves from getting infected. Alongside, practice hand and respiratory hygiene. Maintain at least a meter distance at all times and close your mouth using a mask or a cloth while coughing or sneezing. Be aware of containment regions near you and avoid travelling for time being.

Covid-19 disease is deadly and is spreading across at an alarming rate. While there are efforts being put to develop the vaccine for this disease, it needs more time to prove its efficiency. While there are medicines available to cure the disease, the risk of reappearance always lies in the world. There have been successful instances in the past where a number of pandemics have been eliminated from the world through vaccines by early stage vaccination. Those include Smallpox, Measles, Polio to name a few.

There are a lot of lives lost in this battle against the invisible micro organism. And everyday people are praying to stop these uncertain casualties and the solution to this is to be sure of social distancing. Kindly be safe and maintain social distancing. Wear a mask at all times.

Source: WHO

Docsun Clinical AI Laboratory is a social initiative working on Artificial Intelligence powered Covid-19 Rapid Testing technology.