What is COVID - 19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2. It’s also called SARSCoV-2. The disease first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and considered to have been transferred to humans from animals (Zoonotic disease). The WHO officially declared COVID-19 outbreak as a world pandemic. This virus can be fatal to humans. It is mostly affecting adults, people who suffer from other prolonged illnesses, women and babies. Therefore, the death rate of young people is very low.
Below are few more characteristics about the coronavirus
- It is a Single strand + sense RNA virus.
- It uses the host cell’s ingredients to make their own cells inside a live cell.
- After making their own cells, they rupture the host cell and come out.
- Then they attack neighbour host cells.
- Eventually, these virus cells destroy the host cells by increasing their own cells.
- As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The current antiviral drugs against the flu do not work on this virus. There is currently no vaccine. So, the recovery depends on the strength of the natural immune system.
Common clinical symptoms of COVID-19 Disease
- Throat infection
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent pain in the chest
The spread of the Disease
- COVID-19 spreads from person to person in close proximity, similar to other respiratory illnesses.
- Droplets of bodily fluids such as saliva or mucus from an infected person are dispersed in the air or in the surfaces by coughing, sneezing and talking.
- These droplets can come into direct contact with other people or can infect those who pick them up by touching infected surfaces and then their faces.
- Coughs and sneezes can travel several feet and stay suspended for a few hours.
- Also, this virus can survive on surfaces such as paper, wood, plastic, metal and clothes for several days without a host cell. This survival can be longer under cold environments.
Important to know:
- After entry of this virus to a human body, it takes on an incubation period.
- During this incubation period, the symptoms can be shown slowly. It depends on the immune system of the human.
- The recognized incubation period for the COVID-19 is 14 days since the initial infection.
- The virus can be transferred during this incubation period also.
- Therefore, it is really hard to find carriers until they show symptoms.
- PCR test gives the 100% accurate results for COVID-19.
- It is unusual for respiratory diseases transmissible even before the first symptoms have occurred.
Note – Because the virus is an entirely new strain, it is believed that there is no existing immunity in anyone it will encounter. Some levels of immunity will develop naturally with the time. But because of above situation, some compromised immune systems such as the elderly or sick are most at risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19systems such as the elderly or sick are most at risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID 19.
The common methods of transferring the virus to your body
Typically, Viral diseases are contagious and spread from person to person when a virus enters the body cells and begins to multiply within the host cells. Common ways that coronavirus spread from person to person include:
- COVID-19 can transmit via close contact with a person who came from abroad or person who identified as a passive carrier.
- From the market places and shopping places, the money that transfers among everyone and public transport methods.
- Any crowded and public places such as banks, hospitals etc.
- A virus can spread through contaminated objects, such as doorknobs, ATMs, lifts, tabletops, and personal items.
Survival time of the virus of surfaces:
- In the air – a few hours
- On papers – about three days
- On metals, glasses, plastic – about nine days
Note – under the cold environments this time period can be increased up to 28 days.
Disinfection methods can be used for the eradication of COVID-19
- Wash surfaces, cloths, hands thoroughly with soap and water more than 20 seconds.
- Use 70% Iso Propyl Alcohol for surfaces and hands.
- Use hand sanitizers.
- Heat the surfaces, items to be disinfectant more than 30 °C.
What are the steps that you can practice at your home?
- When you are returning to your home after work, shopping or an outing, please make sure to remove all your clothes, shoes, bags at the outside of the home.
- Before entering the home, a complete shower is preferred.
- Clean your clothes and shoes separately.
- Burn the bags and other coverings from the market.
- All accessories that you wear out should be put under the sunlight.
- When you are out, don’t put your mobile phone on surfaces. Use it only at essential times.
- Always wash your hands before touching the face.
- Every time wash your hands after touching the money.
- Don’t take adults and babies for outings, picnics and shopping.
- Wear a mask as much as possible when you are going out.
- Reduce the outings.
- Frequently drink hot water, herbal mixes, tea, water. Don’t let your throat dry.
- Avoid or reduce smoking.
- If you have any kind of above-mentioned symptoms don’t hesitate to contact a doctor.
What are the steps that you can practice at the workplace?
- At all times, wear your face mask. Don’t touch the face every time after wearing the mask. Before removing the mask, wash your hands with soap.
- After entering the factory and before leaving the factory wash your hands at the sink near the gate.
- Follow the hand washing instructions precisely.
- Please make sure to reduce close contacts with others.
- Don’t share any personal things such as the phone, clothes, caps, helmets with others.
- Keep hydrated. Drink water as much as possible.
- Wash your hands as much as possible.
- Use IPA and hand sanitizer liquids when you have no access to the water and soap.
- If you are updated about a suspected COVID-19 positive person, please let the staff know.
- Avoid public transport as much as possible. If any don’t forget to sanitize your hands after touching the surfaces and the money.
Malki Narmada – Microbiologist