What do we know about the virus now?
The Covid-19 virus is an individual from the coronavirus family that made the jump from animals to humans late last year. Many of those initially tainted either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the focal point of the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Unusually for a virus that has made the jump starting with one species then onto the next, it appears to transmit viably in humans – current estimates show that without strong containment measures the average person who catches Covid-19 will pass it on to two others. The virus also appears to have a higher mortality rate than normal illnesses such as seasonal flu.
The combination of coronavirus' ability to spread and cause serious illness has provoked many countries, including the UK, to introduce or plan extensive public health measures aimed at containing and restricting the impact of the pestilence.
How might I stop myself and others from getting contaminated?
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and do this frequently, including when you return home or into work. Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your face.
Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow (not your hand) and put used tissues straight in the container. Avoid close contact with individuals who are showing possible symptoms. Follow NHS guidance on self-isolation and travel.
How might I protect myself from the coronavirus outbreak?
The World Health Organization is prescribing that individuals take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.
The UN agency advises individuals to:
- Frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap
- Spread their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough
- Seek early medical assistance on the off chance that they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providers
- Avoid immediate, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.
Despite a surge in sales of face masks in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, experts are separated about whether they can forestall transmission and infection. There is some proof to suggest that masks can help forestall hand-to-mouth transmissions, given the large number of times individuals touch their faces. The consensus appears to be that wearing a mask can restrict – but not eliminate – the risks, if it is used effectively. Many countries are presently implementing or suggesting curfews or lockdowns.
In the UK any household where a person develops a fever or another continuous cough are prescribed to self-isolate for 14 days.
How might you differentiate among flu and Covid-19?
The coronavirus outbreak hit amid flu season in the northern hemisphere and even doctors can struggle to distinguish between the two – the overlap in symptoms probably contributed to slow discovery of community infections in some countries, including Italy.
Typical flu symptoms, which normally please quickly, include a high fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, shivers, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and, all the more occasionally, retching and diarrhea.
Doctors are still working to understand the full scope of symptoms and severity for Covid-19, but early studies of patients taken to hospital found nearly all of them built up a fever and dry cough, and many had fatigue and muscle aches.
Pneumonia (lung infection) is normal in coronavirus patients, even outside the most severe cases, and this can lead to breathing difficulties.
A runny nose and sore throat are far less normal, revealed by just 5% of patients.
The main real confirmation of having Covid-19 is taking a test though.
What should I do in the event that I have symptoms?
In the UK, the medical advice is presently that the household of anyone who develops another persistent cough or high temperature should all stay at home for 14 days, keeping away from others.
This applies to everybody, regardless of whether they have traveled abroad. You should look on the dedicated coronavirus NHS 111 website for information. On the off chance that you deteriorate or your symptoms last longer than seven days, you should call NHS 111.
Individuals will never again be tested for the virus unless they are in hospital.
In the event that I get coronavirus, how sick will I get?
A large study in China found that about 80% of affirmed cases had fairly gentle symptoms (characterized as no significant infection in the lungs).
About 15% had severe symptoms that caused significant shortness of breath, low blood oxygen or other lung problems, and less than 5% of cases were critical, featuring respiratory failure, septic shock or multiple organ problems.
Be that as it may, it is possible that a larger number of exceptionally mellow cases are going under the radar, and so this breakdown in severity could change after some time as more extensive screening takes place.
More seasoned individuals and those with respiratory problems, heart disease or diabetes are at greater risk.
What is the mortality rate of the new coronavirus?
It is probably about or somewhat less than 1%. Much higher figures have been flying about, but the central medical official, Chris Whitty, is one of those who believes it will end up being 1% or lower.
The World Health Organization's director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, talked of 3.4%, but his figure was calculated by isolating the number of deaths by the number of officially affirmed cases.
We know there are many increasingly gentle cases that don't find a good pace are not being counted, which would bring the mortality rate significantly down.
Deaths are highest in the older, with extremely low rates among younger individuals, although medical staff who treat patients and get exposed to a great deal of virus are thought to be more at risk. But even among the over-80s, 90% will recuperate.
Can you get contaminated on public transport?
Most infections happen in families, where individuals live at close quarters. You should be inside one to two meters of somebody to be contaminated by viral-loaded water droplets from their coughs or when they are speaking. That is less likely on public transport. Be that as it may, it is possible to pick up the virus on your hands from a surface that somebody with the infection had touched.
The virus can wait for 48 hours or even possibly 72 hours on a hard surface, such as the hand rail in the tube – though less time on a soft surface. That is the reason the advice is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face, to forestall the virus getting into your nose, mouth or eyes.
Is there a cure for Covid-19?
Not right now, but drugs that are known to work against some viruses are being trialed in China, where there are thousands of patients, and new trials are starting in the US and different countries. Large numbers are expected to see if they work in a couple of individuals or many individuals or no one at all.
The most hopeful are Kaletra, which is a combination of two anti-HIV drugs, and remdesivir, which was attempted but failed in Ebola patients in west Africa in 2013 and 2016. Some Chinese doctors are also trying chloroquine, an antimalarial drug, which is off-patent, consequently cheap and profoundly available, and would be useful in low-salary countries.
The first results are normal in mid-March and should indicate if the drugs will at least assistance those who are most severely sick. A miracle cure is not anticipated.
When will we get a vaccine?
Efforts to build up a viable vaccine for Covid-19 have been quick compared with historical epidemics, such as Ebola. A number of teams are already testing vaccine candidates in animals and preparing to carry out small trials in individuals.
The US company, Moderna Therapeutics, is already recruiting and hopes to enlist 45 volunteers somewhere in the range of 18 and 55 and launch the trial before the finish of April.
Phase one trials like this look at whether the vaccine triggers an immune response and whether the given dose causes adverse effects and could be finished quite quickly. In any case, the subsequent phases, which will include thousands of volunteers and will look all the more closely at efficacy, will take longer and obtaining a commercially available vaccine inside a year would be incredibly quick.
The administration's boss scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said he didn't think a working vaccine to protect individuals from the coronavirus would be produced in time for the current outbreak, but that a time frame of a year or year and a half "was not unreasonable to assume".
Since you're here...
2020 CoronaVirus Survival Guide
To help keep you educated, we have created the Ultimate Guide to Surviving the 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak.
Packed full of researched data, this guide helps you cut through the piles of misinformation and help you understand the risks and how best to protect yourself and your family in this trying time.