From the time of first detection back in December, the coronavirus, also known as covid-19, has begun spreading rapidly throughout every corner of the world. It all started when the World Health Organization (WHO) heard reports of a previously unknown virus that was behind a number of pneumonia style cases in Wuhan, China. The city has a population of over 11 million.
Since then the disease – formerly known as coronavirus but now called Covid-19 – was first discovered over 75,000 people in mainland China, with more than 3,000 cases reported from 25 other countries. While the outbreak initially occurred in China, where every province and territory has been affected, the virus has spread to countries including Canada, the US, Australia and Iran.
According to the latest situation report posted by WHO there have been over 2,500 known deaths that are related to the virus. A little over 2,400 of those deaths have occurred in China while the remaining deaths have happened in other countries around the world.
How did coronavirus start?
The disease appears to have originated from a Wuhan seafood market where wild animals, including marmots, birds, rabbits, bats and snakes, are traded illegally. While the animal that is the cause behind the outbreak has not yet been identified, a team of virologists at the Wuhan Institute for Virology released a detailed paper showing that the new coronaviruses’ genetic makeup is 96 per cent identical to that of a coronavirus found in bats.
What is coronavirus (covid-19)?
Covid-19 is lumped together with a large group of viruses that are known to infect both humans and animals, and in humans it causes respiratory illnesses. These illnesses range from common colds to much more serious infections. The most well-known case of a coronavirus epidemic was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), which, after first being detected in southern China in 2002, went on to affect 26 countries and resulted in more than 8,000 cases and 774 deaths.
What are symptoms of coronavirus infection?
Coronavirus infections are common and typically lead to the common cold. Gastrointestinal disease is possible for young infants. Symptoms of coronavirus are usually mild to moderate and can include:
- runny nose
- sore throat
- a general feeling of being unwell
If you believe that you’re infected:
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following:
- stay home while sick
- avoid close contact with others
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if you are concerned about your symptoms. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances are for recovery.