The novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 has upended life and society as we know it. Here are the basic facts about the disease that has caused a global outbreak:
- What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The virus basically spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Most people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The following are the symptoms of COVID-19 according to WHO:
Most common symptoms:
- dry cough
Less common symptoms:
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- loss of taste or smell
- a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- chest pain or pressure
- loss of speech or movement
For those with serious symptoms, immediately seek medical attention. Call your doctor or the nearest hospital.
- How long does it take before symptoms show?
According to the WHO, it usually takes 5 to 6 days from when a person is infected with the virus for symptoms to show. Sometimes, however, it can take as long as 14 days before symptoms manifest.
- Is there a cure for COVID-19?
So far, the world has yet to find a cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Some scientists however have reported sterling progress on their studies for a vaccine and cure.
- How deadly is COVID-19?
According to the WHO, around 95 percent of people who have been sick with COVID-19 to date have recovered or are recovering. The WHO however warns that even a disease that 95 percent of people are recovering from can cause a significant number of deaths if it infects enough people.
So far, children and adolescents have been far less affected by COVID-19 and their symptoms have almost always been mild.
- Who are most vulnerable to COVID-19?
- Healthcare workers
- People over 60 years of age
- Those with underlying health conditions (e.g. heart or lung diease, diabetes, or immunocompromised)
- How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
Anyone can get infected with COVID-19, below are some tips from the World Health Organization on how to protect yourself from the rapidly spreading disease:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
- Keep 1-meter distance away from others
- Cough or sneeze in your bent elbow—not your hands. Wash your hands after.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Limit social gatherings and time spent in crowded places
- Avoid close contact with someone who is sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.