The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has officially exceeded one million. At the time of writing, 51,485 people worldwide have died from the virus, much of it in Europe and China. Over 208,000 people have recovered from this disease.
Respiratory disease is caused by a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, similar to the coronavirus responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The 2002-2003 SARS epidemic affected 26 countries, with more than 8,000 confirmed cases and 774 deaths.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are loss of smell and taste, shortness of breath, dry cough and fever, but some people seem asymptomatic because they remain infectious. The virus is spread by droplets in the air of an infected person, which can then contaminate people or surfaces. A recent study found that the virus remains active on certain surfaces for days, which is why experts recommend washing your hands if you have to leave your home.
The disease was first reported in late December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but spread quickly and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in early March. The exact origin of the virus remains unclear, and there is not yet a specific vaccine or antiviral treatment for the virus, although many are in the early stages of the trial.
So far, it appears that older adults and those of all ages with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of succumbing to the disease. This does not mean that young people are immune to it. Although they are less likely to have symptoms, they are just as capable of spreading the virus.
SARS-CoV-2 is very harmful to the lungs. Recent CT scans of a patient with no underlying health problems have shown significant damage to the alveoli, the region of the pulmonary tract where carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen in the blood. However, it is currently unknown whether the damage caused by the virus is temporary or long-term.
To prevent the spread of the disease and prevent health services from being overwhelmed, many countries have implemented preventive measures. The WHO has advised people to take precautions such as washing their hands, coughing in your elbow, and throwing away the tissue immediately. Physical distance is also essential to curb the spread of the virus.
It is estimated that a third of humanity is currently in detention, with citizens only able to leave their homes for essential goods, essential work and exercises. WHO urges all countries to start mass testing so that people who test positive can isolate themselves and stop spreading the disease. This has already proven itself in Iceland and South Korea.