Novel Coronavirus-Origin, Symptoms, Prevention, Cure and Aftermath

Novel Coronavirus aka Covid-19

Novel coronavirus is an extremely infectious respiratory disease. It starts with flu, fever, cough and at the end difficulty in breathing. It is called novel because it’s new type of corona virus. Previously discovered corona viruses are SARS-CoV, OC-43 (beta corona virus), MERs-CoV, 229E and NL63 (alpha corona virus). Coronavirus has spread to 199 countries to date. Even the countries with most advanced health systems are finding it difficult to cope with it. The hospitals are overwhelmed. The mortality rate varies from 2% to 5%.

Novel coronavirus originated from Wuhan, China. A wild life market in Wuhan is suspected source of the virus. Dr. Li Wenliang first reported it on WeChat group. He was a doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital. His chat went viral. He contracted the coronavirus in January. He couldn’t recover and died. Initially the world considered it as a purely China’s problem. But eventually it spread all over the world. Meanwhile China controlled it using strict isolation and quarantine measures. The disease is named as Covid-19 by WHO.


Origin of Coronavirus

Coronavirus originated in Wuhan in December. After the initial deaths all due to pneumonia like symptoms, a new disease was suspected. All the initial cases were linked to the Wuhan Seafood market. The Wuhan seafood market is the centre of illegal wild life trade. When the virus cases started piling up, China alerted WHO. Wuhan seafood market was sealed after that. But by then the virus had already spread to thousands of people. China locked down Wuhan city on January 23. No one was allowed to enter or leave the city. The locked down was done to control the spread of the disease. The lock down paid off and controlled the spread of the virus. Now after more than eight weeks there is no local transmission of the virus in Wuhan. Now the only challenge china faces is to stop the spread of the virus from the imported cases.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

The symptoms of coronavirus are somewhat similar to common cold. The most common symptoms are dry cough and fever. The patient may feel tiredness as well. Most people won’t need any special treatment. In fact 80% people recover within two weeks. However some people may feed difficulty in breathing. In that case the patient may need breathing support such as ventilator.

Most people are confused about the symptoms. In this season many people suffer from common cold which may have similar symptoms. However according to doctors, the most compelling symptoms are dry cough and fever. If you have dry cough and fever you should seek medical advice. Since hospitals are overwhelmed throughout the world. Many governments advise people to visit hospitals only if they feel difficulty in breathing.

Some people are asymptomatic as well. These are the people that carry the virus but show no symptoms of the virus. These people are super spreaders. Since the keep spreading the virus without knowing it. Another critical aspect is the incubation period. After entering a person’s body the virus may take up to 14 days to show the symptoms. These people spread the virus before the virus in their bodies start showing symptoms. These two are the main reasons the virus has spread exponentially in the world.

Prevention from Coronavirus

Since coronavirus is a respiratory disease, it’s main entrance is the nose. That’s why people all over the world are wearing masks. That prevents people from breathing-in the virus. Always wear masks in crowded places.

Hands are another main source of infection. Hands touch many surfaces. Some people use hands when they cough or sneeze. When you shake hands with such people, the virus may transfer to your hands. Then touching your eyes, nose or mouth can transfer it into your body. So that’s why it is advised to wash hands. WHO recommends to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. This may wash off the any viruses and germs present on the hands.

So the bottom line is:

  1. Wear mask when visiting crowded places.
  2. Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
  3. Stay at home, go outside only if it’s extremely necessary.
  4. Maintain social distancing, at least 2 meters distance is recommended.

Cure of Coronavirus

The first defence against any disease is vaccine. As the virus is new there is no vaccine so far for the virus. Although many organisations are working on the vaccine. Although the human trials have started in the US. However it will take at least 12 to 18 months before the vaccine becomes available for public.

Some doctors are experimenting with the existing drugs for the treatment. The most talked about is chloroquine. Chloroquine is a tested malaria drug which is widely available and cheap. The first word came after Pakistan sent 300,000 chloroquine tablets to china. The tablets were used by china for the treatment of coronavirus patients and were proven effective.

Later US president Donald Trump mentioned the effectiveness of the chloroquine in a press conference. The statement by Trump lead to panic buying of the chloroquine tablets especially in Nigeria. Currently FDA (Food and Drug Administration of USA) is studying the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin against coronavirus.

Conspiracy Theories surrounding Coronavirus

There are conspiracy theories surrounding every major event in the world. Coronavirus is no different. After all the world hasn’t seen anything like it since the Spanish Flu. China and Iran blamed US after the initial outbreak. Many people consider it as a biological weapon. Although many governments are working secretly on biological weapons. However coronavirus has effected every country in the world including the US. In fact US has the largest number of coronavirus patients so far. Although that too can be brushed as a collateral damage.

Many Muslims are considering it as the sign of the closing day of judgement. However many deadly diseases have affected the world throughout in past centuries. And every infectious disease outbreak seemed to be end of the world. Although almost all religions believe in the end of the world. It’s very difficult to associate every disaster with the chain of events that will lead to the end of the world.

Coronavirus Aftermath

Coronavirus has changed the world as we know it. It will take long time before the things return to normalcy. That even after that virus spread is controlled. So far the world except china has no clue how to control the spread. The US and Europe are far from controlling the spread. In Pakistan as well the patients are increasing. But the patient’s curve is linear as shown below:

Number of coronavirus patients

This is not consistent with the patient’s curve elsewhere in the world. The number of patients increase exponentially in effected area. Let’s hope the patient’s curve of Pakistan is correct. If not, this can be disastrous, since we may not know the correct number before it spreads to a larger population.

Many grocery and medical stores only allow one person at a time inside the shop. Even that single customer is required to wash hands with sanitizer outside the shop. It is affecting specially the poor and small businesses. Small business and daily wages people earn their living from their day to day earning. After the lock down they have no source of income to provide for their families. Many organisations are coming forward to help these people. Governments have announced bailout packages for their effected population.

Even the financially stable people are effected by the coronavirus. The longer period of stay-at-home have psychological repercussions for many people. Many people find it difficult to stay at home for longer lock down periods. Most people spend time watching TV. And most of the news on the TV are distressing since the virus is still spreading. So watching the TV adds more misery to the already depressed people.

On a lighter note, husbands are forced to take care of the kids and help the housewives with the daily chores. This forced stay at home routine may mend the relationships among families. It may also tear them apart. It all depends on how men and women approach this problem.

In the end, let’s hope it’s over soon like a horrible dream.

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