COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe illness. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, this novel coronavirus attacks the lower respiratory tract of patients infected with cryptogenic organizing pneumonia. The infectious disease it causes was named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. Coronaviruses comprise a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like pneumonia, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Most people are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2, and this novel coronavirus can affect people with low or normal immunity. People with low immunity, such as the elderly, pregnant women, and patients with chronic diseases, are prone to severe acute symptoms after contracting COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is mainly transmitted via droplets, touching (including self-infection caused by contaminated hands), and short-distance transmission of respiratory aerosols of different sizes. Currently, SARS-CoV-2 is mainly spread via droplets. At first, this virus was transferred from bats to humans; it falls into a specific category of bat viruses. Different coronaviruses persist on surfaces for various lengths of time.
As 2019 ended, news arrived of an epidemic of pneumonia, with a few cases in a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China. Initially, a few cases were detected around December 8, and a cluster was revealed on approximately December 31, 2019, when the WHO office in China was given the information. The market was shut down on January 1, 2020, and the Chinese authority announced the viral threat. All active and suspected cases were tested. At that time, 300 cases were positive and 4 people had died. Initially, few reports verified human-to-human transmission, and reports of super-spreading patients included 15 healthcare workers and viral spread to different Chinese cities. Various other countries also confirmed human-to-human transmission. After China, SARS-CoV-2 spread to Europe, across Asia, and throughout the rest of the world. On January 31, 2020, first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Kerala, India, where a student tested positive as she returned from Wuhan, China. Presently, SARS-CoV-2 is still spreading throughout the world and has affected nearly 132,758 persons globally in 167 countries. Throughout the world, the death rate is extremely high (Fig. 1, as of March 20, 2020).
COVID-19 has been declared a national disaster by the Indian government. The scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are continually obtaining global information related to the pandemic. They suggest the use of retroviral drugs. The ICMR is providing free and reliable testing and diagnosis to all individuals with symptoms of COVID-19. The government is trying to expand laboratory testing using Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and non-ICMR laboratories in many facilities and organizations, such as the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Defence Research, and the Development Organization (DRDO), and government medical colleges. Thus far, 15 laboratories in India are testing for SARS-CoV-2, and 19 will soon be added.8 The agencies in India conducting COVID-19 testing include the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Hyderabad, and the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi. All of these agencies work under the NIV. A fund named the COVID Fund for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries has been started by SAARC countries to fight COVID-19. In addition, the Indian government has appealed to its citizens to follow social distancing procedures, which is the most effective way to stop the community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
The current COVID-19 situation has affected the whole world and has had a dramatic impact on India. In India, the death rate is comparatively good, but the recovery rate of infected persons is not, which is leading to a difficult situation in India. Infections are increasing day by day in India, even though community transmission began only recently. The Indian government has taken a few necessary steps to control the situation, such as making masks and sanitizer available and providing free testing and diagnosis. Public awareness and programs of “do’s and don’ts” for COVID-19 are run at public places. Environmental conditions may also support controlling SARS-CoV-2; across Asia spring temperatures are increasing, which may decrease viral spread somewhat. Early prediction methods and a specific vaccine are not yet available, although government has been able to control the pandemic thus far. The World Health Organization (WHO) helps developing countries by providing funding, medical kits for testing, and proper guidance for treatment and safety. In India, the death rate and the recovery rate indicate that the pandemic is being controlled, largely because of the preparation done by government before COVID-19 reached more advanced stages. The numbers of laboratories, test kits, and medical facilities have been enhanced appropriately. The Indian government is collaborating with SAARC countries to fight this pandemic. Because the Indian government has taken the appropriate actions outlined here, the COVID-19 pandemic, although tragic, will have the best possible outcome in India.
Pooja Sharma MTech1 and Karan Veer PhD1 1 Department of Instrumentation & Control Engineering, Dr B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.
Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. (See Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus).
Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face mask can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to use masks wisely.
WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and mis-use of masks (see Advice on the use of masks).
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus for more information.
The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Occasionally, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people. For example, SARS-CoV was associated with civet cats and MERS-CoV is transmitted by dromedary camels. Possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed.
To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.
While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.
WHO continues to monitor the latest research on this and other COVID-19 topics and will update as new findings are available.
It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.
The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:
In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.