In 2020 world has seen a new pandemic of fatal virus known as coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID 19. This is a new form of virus from the coronavirus family that’s in existence for more than 150 years. Despite the common assumption that this is a new virus, there have been confirmed reports that in 2002 a different form of the same virus appeared in China while in 2012, another form of this virus was reported in the Middle East. It’s surprising to know that common flu and occasional runny nose is also caused by a virus from coronavirus family but compared to COVID 19, the flu virus is not deadly.
General overview of spread of COVID 19:
In order to understand how this virus spreads and transfers from one human being to another, let’s take a look at some numbers. The first case of COVID 19 was reported back in December 2019 in China and after 2-3 weeks, Chinese government realized the severity of this virus and informed all nations globally about the expected outcome and seriousness of this virus while locking down the entire country with strict curfew. Within 3-4 months of the first reported case, COVID 19 has now spread to more than 175 countries around the world and WHO has confirmed that more than 170,000 people have died because of this virus while having more than 2.5 million people diagnosed positive with COVID 19 around the world. There is no question that this virus in fact emerged in the wet market of Wuhan province of China and while the Chinese government was trying to cover up the stories and reports, people flew out of china frequently and they arrived at more than 50 countries around the world. Not everyone of them were affected by the virus but when an affected person took a flight with healthy people, he unintentionally spread the virus to people around him and this way within 100 days the number of affected people went from 1 to around 3 million.
General Safety Measures to Avoid COVID 19:
One of the most common and easiest recommendations from doctors all over the world to avoid COVID 19 is to take good measures of personal hygiene. This virus can last for hours on common surfaces i.e. human skin, mobile screen, laptop key board, office table and dining table. This means you need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds frequently each day. This way even if there is a virus on your skin, you can just wash it off with regular soap. When you travel outside, always change your clothes and wash your hands after arriving at home or office.
Because this virus can survive for hours on human skin and common surfaces i.e. screen of your smart phone or your keychain, you should avoid shaking hands or hugging anyone. You might think it’s awkward or disrespectful not to shake hands with someone but keep in mind that you or the other person might have the virus and when hands are touched together, virus might travel from one person to another. In the same manner, avoid standing or walking closer to other people.
Avoid public places:
Although the best way to prevent COVID 19 is to stay at home in self quarantine because this virus spreads from one person to another rapidly but in some situations, it’s not possible to stay at home i.e. getting medicine or going to work or getting groceries. In those situations when you do go out, you need to stay at a safe distance from other people. Recommended distance is 2 meters or 6 feet that everyone should maintain while traveling and walking outside.
Wear Protective Mask:
COVID 19 can take up to 14 days to show its symptoms which mean you can go by for more than 2 weeks without noticing that you have this deadly virus inside you. If a person does have COVID 19, he or she can spread millions of viruses into the air when they cough or sneeze. In order to prevent this, it’s really crucial that when you go out in public, you wear a protective mask on your nose and mouth. This virus is bigger in size compared to other viruses and because of its size; it can’t pass a regular surgical mask.
Get Tested if you have Early Symptoms:
Although it’s recommended to stay at home and avoid going to hospitals and health care facilities for regular checkups and routine matters i.e. headache or muscle strain but as soon you realize that you have one or few symptoms of COVID 19, you should visit a hospital immediately and get yourself tested. It’s possible to confuse COVID 19 with common flu but you shouldn’t take any chance as the fatality rate of COVID 19 is almost 4%.