Over the last couple of weeks, we have heard a lot about the coronavirus without really knowing what it’s truly about. China has been hit the hardest by the virus, but it is also spreading far and wide with thousands of cases across the world. There have also been a number of reported deaths from the virus.

The virus originated in a seafood market located in the Wuhan province of China. In this market, slaughtered and live wild animals, including birds, rabbits, bats and snakes are traded illegally. It is suspected that the virus came from bats, which was also the original source of the Sars virus in 2002.

Here we’ll explain more about coronavirus, it’s symptoms and how you can better protect yourself and your family from being infected.

How Is The Virus Transmitted?

It has been reported by the Chinese Health Commission that the Wuhan coronavirus was originally transmitted from animal to human and is now transmitted from human to human. Simply put, the host (animal) doesn’t have to be there for the virus to spread.

That’s why there have been a number of tests on passengers traveling from China. Most Chinese nationals that have shown any signs of the virus have been quarantined before flying so as to not risk mass exposure.

Where Else Has The Virus Been Reported?

Other than China where the virus was first reported, there have been cases reported in other parts of Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. The countries with confirmed cases so far include the following.

  • Australia
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Japan
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Nepal
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • U.A.E
  • USA
  • Vietnam

What Are The Symptoms?

One of the major symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus is Pneumonia. With this, patients will experience difficulties in breathing, coughing, and high fever.

In other cases, though quite severe, patients may face organ failure. With this, patients will need to have their lungs (and other organs in some cases) supported, as well as fluids added to the body.

The antiviruses that we currently have don’t work on this virus, so the health outcome ultimately depends on the patient’s immune system.

Most of the reported deaths have come from patients who already had poor health conditions.

I Have A Cough, Should I Go To The Doctor?

This is a question that will go through many people’s heads at the moment, especially since the reported coronavirus cases in other parts of the world. But don’t panic yet. Unless you have recently been to China or have come into contact with someone who has either been there or been infected, you’re not at high risk.

Don’t be overly alarmed, but in the case that flu-like symptoms persist, such as a cough, chest pains and difficulty in breathing, visit a doctor.

How Bad Is Coronavirus Compared To Normal Influenza?

Currently, out of the thousands of cases reported, the mortality rate is at around 3% or less. The data, though not completely out yet, doesn’t fully show how deadly the virus is.

Also, bear in mind that a number of people have been infected but not to the point of being admitted to a hospital. So, the data still remains far stretched and unclear.

Should I Panic?

First of all, the spread out of China was worrying but expected.

Until the data is finally clear about how transmittable coronavirus is and when it becomes so severe that you should go to the hospital, stay calm and take preventative measures.

Coronavirus is currently hitting hard among older people and children. So, healthy young to middle-aged adults, though still not clear, have less to worry about.

Coronavirus Prevention

Preventative measures against coronavirus mainly consist of using common sense. Firstly, wash your hands frequently. Secondly, don’t go to work or take your kids to school or daycare when you or your kids are sick. When using public transport, maintain distance from anyone who appears to be ill and carry tissues and hand sanitizer in your bag.

Coronavirus Treatment – Vaccination?

There is currently no vaccination or cure against coronavirus, however, if you have come into contact with someone who is infected and you believe you have symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor will recommend next steps for treatment.

Patients with confirmed cases of coronavirus are currently receiving hospital treatment in isolation to stop the spread of the infection. Treatment for mild cases generally consists of an intravenous drip for blood pressure issues, fluids for diarrhoea, and ibuprofen for pain relief while the body’s immune system fights off the infection.

More severe cases that result in pneumonia – an inflammation of the lungs – are treated with oxygen and in the worst cases may be put on a ventilator.

Although vaccination does not exist, tests are currently under way in China to see whether two antiviral drugs called lopinavir and ritonavir can be used as an effective treatment. These drugs are used to treat patients with HIV and were shown to help fight Sars in 2003.

What Are The Experts Saying?

During the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which started on 24th Jan 2020, it was widely expected that the coronavirus would spread. This forced the Chinese government to largely cancel the holiday in most cities after they locked the cities down.

At the moment, and with the supporting data, mostly those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk.

The experts are, however, worried about the symptoms as some patients are experiencing severe symptoms while others are only experiencing mild ones. This makes it hard to establish the real data, as not all infected individuals will know, or feel the need to go to the hospital.