What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The Coronavirus outbreak (officially known as Covid-19), which started in China, has so far killed 6,311,923
people across the globe and infected 532,022,757
(as on May 31, 2022). The virus has spread to 228 countries. In India, 43,158,087 confirmed cases and 524,630 deaths have been reported so far, according to official figures released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). To check the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, or Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced nationwide lockdown till May, meaning the country's 1.3 billion citizens — except those engaged in providing essential services — would not step out of their homes. This lockdown was extended a couple of times and lifted in a graded way starting June 2020. The restrictions related to coronavirus spread will be lifted nation-wide from March 31, 2022.
Coronavirus in India and elsewhere: Total number of cases in India (state-wise) and all countries of the world What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they can be transmitted from animals to humans. The spikes protruding from the virus's membrane look like the sun's corona. It is from this that the virus gets the name 'coronavirus'. It causes illnesses of the respiratory tract, ranging from the common cold to severe conditions like SARS. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
What is the difference between Coronavirus and Covid-19
Covid-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which originated from China's Wuhan. On February, World Health Organisation (WHO) named the novel coronavirus "Covid-19". "Co" stands for "corona", "vi" for "virus" and "d" for "disease", while "19" was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on December 31.
According to the WHO, "there are different procedures, and purposes, for naming viruses and diseases.
"Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines."
Viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).
This particular virus was named "severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2" – or SARS-CoV-2.
The WHO says that "from a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003".
Hence, the name 'Covid-19 virus” was given. Also Read: Coronavirus: Govt issues advisory on social distancing to contain outbreak
Symptoms of coronavirus
Coronavirus can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold. Some of the symptoms are
— A general feeling of being unwell
— Runny nose
— Sore throat
In case someone is facing lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, they must seek professional health immediately.
Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus, and no vaccine to prevent it. Plasma therapy a possible treatment for coronavirus?
With no surety of a definite treatment in sight, doctors around the world are dusting off a century-old treatment for infections: Infusion of blood plasma teeming with immune molecules that might help survivors beat the infection. Convalescent plasma is an experimental procedure for coronavirus patients. Click here to read more
Coronavirus helpline number and e-mail id
Union Health Ministry has activated a toll-free 24x7 national helpline number, 1075, to address queries related to the infection. Anyone seeking information can also call on the number 011-23978046.
The helpline e-mail ID for Coronavirus is ncov2019[at]gmail[dot]com
AI chatbot - A WhatsApp helpline to answer queries about Coronavirus
An AI-based automated helpline helps to address queries regarding Covid-19. The AI chatbot is integrated in WhatsApp and can be reached by any users by messaging on +91-93213-98773. The chatbot is privately operated, and is promoted by Mumbai-based startup Haptik. While not being an official helpline, an information source such as nCov is useful in helping individuals get a quick response to common queries on Coronavirus.
Who is more likely to be a victim coronavirus?
People with a weakened immune system, cardiopulmonary disease, infants, and older adults are more likely to be affected by a coronavirus. Also Read: Coronavirus Q&A: From prevention to testing, all that you need to know
How do you catch coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are zoonotic. This implies that they are passed on between animals and people. When Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) sickened thousands of people around the world — and killed nearly 800 — during a 2003 outbreak, investigations found that it was transmitted from civet cats to humans. MERS-CoV was transmitted from camels to humans. There are several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. On January 7, the Chinese authorities identified coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as the causative virus behind cases of pneumonia of unknown cause. This novel coronavirus has not been previously identified in humans, hence experts say its too early to figure out the exact cause of the infection.
WATCH VIDEO: 9 FAQs on Coronavirus Will the coronavirus spread through cough or sex?
Coronavirus is highly contagious. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also fall victim to virus even if they breathe in droplets from a person infected who coughs out or exhales droplets. Click here to read more.
How dangerous is coronavirus? Does coronavirus cause death?
A few coronaviruses are known to be deadly. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was first reported in the Middle East, causes severe respiratory problems. Four out of every 10 patients infected with MERS died in 2012.
The infamous Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) causes even more severe symptoms. Along with respiratory problems, it also causes diarrhoea, shortness of breath, fatigue and kidney failure. The death rate with SARS was higher, with older people being the most vulnerable.
The new virus (Covid-19) claimed over 3,000 lives and over 93,000 people were diagnosed positive.
How is coronavirus diagnosed?
Doctors may recommend the patient to undergo tests on respiratory specimens and serum to detect coronaviruses. If anyone experiences the symptoms, they must inform their doctor about recent travel or contact with animals.
How contagious is coronavirus?
— Coronaviruses are highly contagious. Coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth can spread the virus.
— Touching hands of a person that has the virus can pass the virus from one person to another
— Making contact with an object that has the virus and then touching your nose, eyes, or mouth can infect a person
— A coronavirus may spread through contact with feces.
Coronavirus and pregnancy
In pregnant women, the severe versions of SARS and MERS coronaviruses were found to be severe. According to reports, women who suffered from severe versions of coronaviruses had stillbirth.
What are the precautions for Coronavirus?
— Wash your hands thoroughly with soap
— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands
— Avoid close contact with people who are sick
— Avoid public gatherings