Coronavirus 101

by iupilon

People have been concerned lately about the news of coronavirus in cats.

The human coronavirus or COVID-19 has been making its rounds around the world in a globally patterned pandemic, and it is only now that it is becoming clear that this disease is going to be with us for a long, long time.

COVID-19 is part of a family that includes the coronavirus OC43 that infects cattle primarily. The equine coronavirus, on the other hand, is an RNA virus from the coronavirus family that infects horses (fecal-oral transmission) and has an incubation period of 2-4 days.

All these other animal coronaviruses are particular to species and will not readily jump to humans, so don’t be afraid of animals during this period. What we know is that humans can pass on COVID-19 to cats and dogs, but not the other way around.

There has been one recorded case of a tiger in New York that tested positive for COVID-19, and due to the conditions of the tiger, we can only intelligently assume that the virus was passed on to the tiger by someone from the public, or the zoo staff since the tiger is already in isolation.

COVID-19 Overview

The genome sequence of the COVID-19 virus was mapped from three bronchoalveolar lavage samples collected from a patient of unknown origin on December 30, 2019.

The surveillance of the virus began at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. The medical research in Wuhan yielded that this novel coronavirus was most similar to a SARS-like coronavirus strain called BatCov RaTG13. The similarity in genomic identity was established at 96%. Post-mortem samples of tissue from a deceased 50-year-old patient from Wuhan showed damage to the lungs, specifically.

The patient suffered from extensive respiratory distress, and the lungs exhibited signs of inflammatory infiltrates, with the domination of lymphocytes. There was also pulmonary edema, which is common for patients who suffered from pneumonia. An outbreak was reported by February 20, 2020, based on the Chinese National Reporting System. The virus had begun to spread throughout Wuhan and in surrounding provinces, like Hubei.

Based on data derived from 55,000+ patients, the median age for people infected by COVID-19 is 51 years old, with the majority of infected patients aged 30 to 69 years old. 51.1% of the cases were male. 21.6% of the patients were farmers by occupation.

COVID-19 is believed to be a zoonotic virus, with bats serving as the reservoir of the virus. Intermediate hosts, however, have yet to be identified as of this writing. Right now, COVID-19 is transmitted via respiratory droplets and fomites. Community transmission easily occurs in crowded spaces because of the risk of encountering respiratory droplets.

Fecal shedding of viral particles has also been observed in patients; however, there are only limited data about this. Viral shedding is one of the things that experts are continually monitoring up to today, to have a fuller understanding of how COVID-19 operates virally.

COVID-19 Symptoms

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus disease?

The major symptoms of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization, are fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production, shortness of breath or difficulty of breathing, myalgia, sore throat, and headache. In a small percentage of cases, COVID-19 patients experienced some nausea and vomiting. Secondary symptoms also included gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea in some cases.

It appears that this disease has a higher attack rate if the patient is between the ages of 30 to 69. Only 2.2% of patients in the data the WHO gathered from its China mission were aged 20 years old and younger.

The patients that were most at risk were those who were 80 years old and above (14.8% of cases), and several comorbidities may have contributed to the demise of high-risk patients. These comorbidities included cardiovascular conditions, type 2 diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer. Immunocompromised individuals are obviously at risk here because COVID-19 attacks the lining of the lungs.

Recovering from COVID-19

What is the recovery time for the coronavirus disease?

The recovery period depends on how lightly or severely infected a person has become after contracting COVID-19.

The current data shows that patients typically recover from COVID-19 within one to two weeks. In the most severe cases, a person may be hospitalized for six weeks or more.

The universal mortality rate for COVID-19 is 1% worldwide. It is currently not known when reinfections become possible in people with have become positive with COVID-19. Some patients also continue to test positive for the novel coronavirus after the symptoms have gone away. Since viral genetic material continues to persist in some patients after recovery, it would be better to take precautions when going out in public after you have recovered.  

The general rule is you can return to normal activities when seven days have passed (this is the minimum period from the onset of the major symptoms). When the fever has gone, and other symptoms are receding, you may return to normal activities after 72 hours.

COVID-19 Treatment

What is the treatment for the coronavirus disease?

According to Harvard Health Publish – Harvard Medical School, the majority of patients who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and will be able to convalesce at home. Right now, no specific treatment or vaccine exists to combat COVID-19.

So when you contract this disease, you need to do what is best when dealing with this type of disease from this virus family – you should get sufficient rest, stay well hydrated and take the right medication to control fever and muscular pains. These also help in combating the attack of COVID-19 once it is in the body.

Hospitals are now also looking into using convalescent plasma to help combat the disease. Convalescent plasma can be harvested from patients who have already recovered from COVID-19. The donor antibodies from the harvested plasma can help other patients, and the plasma can shorten the recovery time of other COVID-19 patients who aren’t doing so well.

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