Coronavirus or COVID-19 has gone global in recent months and has reached pandemic status in many countries across the world, including Italy, Spain, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. It is believed that COVID-19 first emerged in a seafood market in Wuhan, China.
Wuhan is widely believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak of the disease, and it is also believed that the number of cases in Mainland China is underreported, leading to speculations that more people have been infected and have died from the disease at the epicenter country in recent months.
COVID-19 is only one among many other viruses in the coronavirus family. Coronaviruses affect both humans and animals and are often tied to respiratory distress and disease when zoonotic transmission becomes possible.
Some researchers in the medical community that COVID-19 may have made the jump from animals to humans, which would explain the newness of the disease and why the epicenter of the infections emanated from a place where exotic animals for trade and humans tend to mingle.
Previously, SARS and MERS have made their rounds in the past 25 years, but in terms of scope and speed of infections, COVID-19 seems to surpass these two previous coronavirus spreads.
The first symptoms of coronavirus include having a fever, a possibility of developing a dry cough, and a general feeling of tiredness or fatigue. In some patients, it has been observed that COVID-19 can trigger body aches or muscular aches and other pains, some nasal congestion, symptoms of sore throat, and diarrhea.
The initial coronavirus symptoms are usually limited to respiratory symptoms, which makes carriers potentially dangerous because they will be coughing and sneezing all the time before the secondary symptoms begin manifesting. Some additional symptoms of COVID-19 include repeated shaking with chills, plain chills, headaches, and sudden loss of taste or smell. The key symptoms that we all have to be wary about are developing high temperature, coughing, and sudden difficulty in breathing. While other conditions may trigger similar symptoms, if you believe you have been exposed, it would be a good idea to call your GP or physician or get yourself to a hospital to have yourself tested for COVID-19. Early detection and treatment are still your best allies in battling this coronavirus. The National Health Service of the United Kingdom advises people who have a temperature of more than 37.8˚ Celsius to immediately self-isolate to avoid passing on any pathogens to others. You may take your temperature at home by tucking a thermometer at the center of your armpit, or by mouth (under the tongue) and through the ear if you have a temperature reader that works with the ear.
Current WHO statistics show that 80% of COVID-19 patients show mild symptoms, while 14% develop more severe symptoms. 6% of those infected become critically ill, and these people can go into a variety of conditions that are mortally dangerous for people, including lung failure, septic shock, organ failure, and death. Those with mild symptoms may develop fever and coughing, and they may also develop pneumonia. Those in the second tier may have DOB (difficulty of breathing) and consistent shortness of breath.
Some cases of COVID-19 have also shown that it is possible to have coronavirus without fever. These are called asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. In a WHO situation report, the transmission is broken down into three layers: symptomatic transmission, pre-symptomatic transmission, and asymptomatic transmission.
Symptomatic transmission takes place when a patient develops the signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19. COVID-19 is primarily passed on to other people through respiratory droplets, which are released by the body through coughing and sneezing. Close contact is usually needed before a person to person transmission takes place. Contaminated surfaces that also have viral particles from infected people are also known to cause infections in the general public.
Upper respiratory tract infection and symptoms can occur as early as three days after infection. Data suggests that people are more infectious during the early onset of the disease (the first few days after being infected) than later on when secondary symptoms begin to appear.
So if someone catches COVID-19, he is most infectious within the first three days, and he is also most effective in passing on the disease when the symptoms are mainly just sniffles, coughing, and sneezing. The problem with COVID-19 is that during the first few days, the disease resembles other conditions like dry cough, colds, seasonal flu, etc. In short, it doesn’t look dangerous until things get worse later on.
The average incubation period of COVID-19 is five to six days, and this is the period where the primary symptoms begin to appear in most patients. However, it should be noted that the incubation period can last as long as 14 days in some people. Within this period, COVID-19 positive patients can become contagious even if they don’t have a fever, body aches, or nasal congestion.
What this simply means is that any person who has the virus can pass it on mere days after being infected. It has been suggested through global contact tracing efforts that pre-symptomatic transmission can occur 1-3 days after getting the virus, still through the spread of respiratory droplets (via sneezing or coughing).
The hallmark symptoms perhaps are developing fever and body aches as these symptoms are significantly more alarming than just sniffles and coughing, and people typically just go on their day when they have a minor cough, and this can increase the likelihood of community transmission because people do not typically self-isolate on account of a cough.
There is not a lot of data on the asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19, but scientists and doctors still believe it is possible. Asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world. These cases occur when the immune system of the patients is relatively strong, and they are not affected terribly by the virus.