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Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is A Coronavirus And COVID-19?

The Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a new strain of Coronavirus which was detected only after the outbreak was reported in China’s Wuhan in the end of 2019

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is A Coronavirus And COVID-19?
Highlights
  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness
  • Virus SARS-CoV-2 causes infectious disease COVID-19
  • In past, Coronavirus has led to two major outbreaks - SARS, MERS

New Delhi: The COVID-19 causing novel coronavirus was first reported in China’s Wuhan in late December 2019 and since then the world has come to a standstill. Earlier on March 11, addressing the media, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), declared the infectious disease as a ‘pandemic’. Dr Tedros said, “WHO has been assessing this outbreak round the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

The novel coronavirus as a pandemic and the world’s battle against it raises few questions; most important being – what is a novel coronavirus and why is it fatal?

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is The Difference Between Pandemic And Epidemic?

What Is A Coronavirus?

“Coronavirus is a family of viruses which have been detected since the 1960s and in fact, there have been two major outbreaks of the scary Coronavirus that is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2013 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, says Dr Monica Mahajan, Director, Internal Medicine at Max Health.

According to the information shared by the WHO on their website, coronaviruses may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to the more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS.

The name of coronavirus comes from its shape, which resembles a crown or solar corona when imaged using an electron microscope.

What Is COVID-19?

What the world is battling right now is the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a new strain of Coronavirus which was detected only after the outbreak was reported in China’s Wuhan. The Novel Coronavirus, the source of which is unknown, causes the coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. The official name of the virus is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). According to the WHO, This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. Although, the two viruses are different.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Are The Different Stages Of COVID-19 Transmission

What Are The Symptoms Of COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of any other flu. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. According to the WHO, some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea.

These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80 per cent) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention, reads the information on WHO’s website.

In case an individual witness any or all symptoms of COVID-19, experts suggest seeking medical advice and following preventive and precautionary measures to break the chain of the transmission of COVID-19.

Also Read: Understanding What Is Flattening The Curve And Its Importance

What Is The Source Of COVID-19 And How Is It Transmitted?

Other viruses in the coronavirus family-like SARS and MERS were identified in animals like bats, dromedary camels which then infected humans following which the virus spread between people through people to people contact. While the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 has not yet been established, the theory that has been postulated is that the virus originated in bats and from there it transmitted to an intermediary animal, suspected to a pangolin or snake and then from there possibly affected humans.

The SARS-CoV-2 is thought to be spread from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets which are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. An individual can catch COVID-19 if he/she breathes in these droplets. This is the reason, WHO advises maintaining a distance of at least 1 meter from others.

How Is COVID-19 Different From SARS?

SARS belongs to the same large family of viruses as the novel coronavirus, therefore, the two are remotely related and are capable of causing severe disease. According to the WHO, based on the current situation, there are some differences,

Most importantly, the novel coronavirus does not appear to transmit easily between people while the SARS virus was much more transmissible.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explained: All You Need To Know About The SARS Epidemic Of 2002

How Is Novel Coronavirus Different From Other Pandemics The World Has Faced In Past?

In the 20th century, three influenza pandemics occurred – Spanish Flu caused by A (H1N1) virus, estimated to have caused 20–50 million deaths in 1918–1919; Asian Flu caused by A(H2N2) virus) in 1957-1958 and estimated to have taken 1-4 million lives; Hong Kong Flu caused by an A(H3N2) virus in 1968 and estimated to have caused 1–4 million deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. Mortality was high among people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic. Since there was no vaccine available, the world resorted to non-pharmaceutical interventions like isolation, personal hygiene and others.

Also Read: What Are The Four Types Of Vaccines Being Worked On To Fight Coronavirus?

Later in 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged and was designated as influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus. 2009 flu pandemic primarily affected children and young and middle-aged adults. The two vaccines were produced for the virus – H1N1 flu shot and H1N1 nasal spray vaccine.

If we look at the SARS-CoV-2, in India, the mortality is high among people with co-morbidity and older people. Just like other pandemics, as of now, there is no vaccine available against COVID-19 but around 100 projects for the development of a vaccine are underway. The world’s largest vaccine producer, Pune-based Serum Institute along with Oxford University may deliver a vaccine by September 2020.

Also Read: Pune’s Serum Institute With Oxford University May Deliver A COVID-19 Vaccine By September

World

23,96,06,768Cases
20,13,42,617Active
3,33,82,100Recovered
48,82,051Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.

India

3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
2,03,6782,908Active
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35

Kerala

48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96

Karnataka

29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10

Delhi

14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29

25,089

Odisha

10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,035 16

105 158

7,60,881

10,049 174

Bihar

7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2

9,661

Telangana

6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1

Assam

6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2

Punjab

6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6

Jharkhand

3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4

Goa

1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2

Puducherry

1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53

1,849

Manipur

1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84

1,889

Mizoram

1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4

Tripura

84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12

816

Meghalaya

82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3

Chandigarh

65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26

280

Sikkim

31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7

390

Nagaland

31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17

673

Ladakh

20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 1

10,668 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

2 0

10,312

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2

129

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