What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

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At least 213 people have died from a new coronavirus following an outbreak in the central city of Wuhan. More than 9171 cases have been reported globally, most of them in China and especially in Wuhan and nearby cities in Hubei province. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS).  On January 30th, World Health Organisation has declared the China virus outbreak an international emergency. Here’s a look at some of the known facts surrounding the virus, and the current state of the global epidemic.


1.How does the virus transmit?

The virus is capable of human-to-human transmission. It is most likely spread through droplets(coughing and sneezing), and there is no evidence it is airborne. 


2. Is the N95 respirator better instead of a facemask?

N95 masks may offer better protection to the public compared to the facemask, but the evidence is limited. A recent study reviewed in Science Daily reported no significant difference in the effectiveness of facemask  compared to the N95 respirator for the prevention of coronavirus or other viral respiratory illness. Handwashing with soap and water along with daily measures are essential to prevent the spread of the virus.


3. How severe is the virus infection?

About 25% of cases were classified as severe by Chinese health officials. The death rate for currently available data is extremely low and almost limited to the elderly and those with poor health conditions.


4. Is it safe to purchase products from China?

There is no evidence from this or other pathogens spread through retail shipments, apart from living animals. Only cases that originated in Wuhan or resulted from close contact with a sick person showing symptoms.


5. How do I know I’m infected?

Check whether you have the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • respiratory illness(coughing, difficulty breathing)
  • travelled to Wuhan in the last 14 days before symptom onset
  • came into close contact a person suspected or confirmed carried 2019-nCov within the last 14 days before symptom onset.


6. Should I be worried?

Unless you visited Wuhan and the surrounding regions, the risk is low at this time. Transmission on air flights is also very unlikely. Research studies found that similar viruses, which spread through droplets from coughing and sneezing like 2019-nCov, do not spread significantly on aeroplanes.


7. What is the suspected and confirmed case counts?

Due to the ongoing public health emergency, John Hopkins University’s CSSE developed an online dashboard to visualise and track the reported cases on a daily timescale. The data is collected from the best currently-available sources, including Dingxiangyuan, NHC, ECDC China CDC(CCDC), CDC, U.S and WHO.


8. Is there a vaccine for a novel coronavirus?

At the present moment, there is no vaccine until one is developed, especially when a disease is new. It could take years for a new vaccine to be developed.


9. Is there a treatment for the novel coronavirus?

Currently, there are no specific treatments for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. That being said, many symptoms can be treated, and therefore treatment based on the patient’s clinical condition. Supportive care for the infected can be highly effective through emotional, spiritual, medical and social support.


10. Dr. Liang Wudong

A surgeon who was treating patients in Wuhan, became the first doctor to die from the new Coronavirus at Hubei Xinhua Hospital. This serves as a reminder that while the public is trying to avoid it, frontline medical staff are risking their lives to cure it and helping the infected.


11. Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus?

There is no evidence that pet animals such as dogs or cats can be infected with the coronavirus. It is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contract with pets.


12. Misconceptions on social media around how 2019-nCov is transmitted.

According to British Columbia CDC there are several misconceptions in regards to how the Coronavirus is transmitted that is currently circulated on the social media. The following details has been clarified:

  • Receptors for 209-nCov are deep in a person’s lungs – a person must inhale enough of the virus that it can actually bind to those receptors deep in the lungs.
  • 2019-nCov is transmitted via larger droplets that fall quickly out of the air(for example, after a sneeze). This virus is not airborne.
  • 2019-nCov is not something that people can get from casual contact. A person must be in close contact(within 2 metres) with somebody to be able to inhale those droplets if a person coughs or sneezes without cover, in front of them.
  • The droplets can fall to the ground and after a sneeze and a person can touch them with their hands. The risk of transmission is low in this case, as those droplets must be of significant enough quantity to make it to the receptors in a person’s lungs.
  • If a person has touched something that has droplets on it with 2019-nCov in it, as long as they clean their hands before touching their face or mouth, they are not at risk of getting virus in their body.
  • 2019-nCov is not something that comes in through the skin. This virus is remitted through large droplets that are breathed deep into a person’s lungs.
  • Regarding wearing masks – masks should be used by sick people to prevent transmission to other people. A mask will help keep a person’s droplets in.
  • It may be less effective to wear a mask in the community when a person is not sick themselves. Masks may give a person a false sense of security & are likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face – to adjust the mask, etc.
  • The most important thing that a person can do to prevent themselves from getting 2019-nCov is to wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their face.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough so you’re not exposing other people. If you are sick yourself, stay away from others. Contact your health care provider ahead of time so you can be safely assessed.


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You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

Reach me at youjing@jobstore.com

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