Published: 2020-09-22 16:36
Last Updated: 2020-09-22 16:36
Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses which can infect both animals and humans, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).
Coronaviruses cause respiratory diseases in humans which range in severity from a common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and more recently COVID-19.
The world has been struggling to find appropriate recommendations to tackle the coronavirus, such as wearing masks and quarantine. However, researchers have made significant progress on the nature of the virus and how to combat it.
Below are nine facts published by the WHO:
The Center For Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) advised people to wash hands, regularly disinfect surfaces and use tissues whilst sneezing as it was believed that the virus spreads mostly through handshakes and coming into contact with infected surfaces or other humans.
However, scientists now agree that the virus can actually be transmitted through small airborne droplets called aerosols which can infect people from a six foot distance.
Whilst health experts say that the risk of catching the virus outdoors is lower, it is not zero, which is why avoiding large crowd, wearing masks and social distancing is essential.
When Coronavirus first appeared, health officials stressed the importance of social distancing and washing hands whilst neglecting to encourage the use of face masks.
This was due to:
Severe shortages of medical masks with the priority going to healthcare personnel.
The primary means of the virus spread was not conclusively identified.
The outbreak was only present in specific areas and not widespread
However, after several months, health experts recommend using face masks to reduce the spread of the virus.
The CDC claimed that the three main side effects of COVID-19 were fever, coughing and shortness of breath, however, as the virus spread, doctors began to notice new symptoms.
These symptoms include:
More recently, scientists say that even blood vessels appear to be affected, and that few diseases cause a wide variety of multi-system symptoms.
Scientists confirm that there are many studies about blood clots caused by the virus, and that a large percentage of these patients also suffer from damage to the kidneys, heart and brain.
It was thought that COVID-19 was more dangerous for elderly people due to an increased number of infections and deaths in nursing homes and elderly facilities.
Elderly people accounted for more than 40% of COVID-19 deaths, leading the public to believe that younger individuals are not in danger.
Meanwhile, morbidity rates from COVID-19 in children and young people are still low, it is no longer excluded and the risk does increase with age. However, infections amongst the younger population is increasing and doctors fear that this may result in strokes; multisystem inflammatory syndrome, heart and kidney complications and some other long-term consequences.
In conclusion, no age group is excluded from the risks of COVID-19 and it has become clear that it can leave people of any age with chronic effects, and is likely to have consequences.
Given that heat and humidity slow down the spread of viruses like the influenza, there was speculation that the coronavirus spread would decrease in warmer temperatures as well.
Coronavirus outbreaks in the Southern Hemisphere during March proved otherwise which means that new infections may increase at higher rates during the cold weather due to people being forced to stay indoors and in more crowded places.
It was thought that coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu, however, studies show that is is actually 10 times more deadly.
COVID-19 death rates are not alarming, this could be due to a lack of documentation of the actual number of cases reported, which is now believed to be around 10 times higher than the numbers stated.
Studies have shown that the death rate from the coronavirus is about one out of 200, while the death rate from influenza is about one out of 1,000.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the world expected that the coronavirus would disappear on its own. However, recent statistics show that cases have increased and a need to tackle this is essential otherwise the pandemic will escalate.
Although the virus was thought to be transmitted very quickly, the reasons of the spread were unknown. Studies later found that the coronavirus can be spread by people who show little to no symptoms.
There was a high-level of optimism that a vaccine will be developed in the near future. According to scientists, a vaccine may take years to develop.
Recently, three companies in China, the University of Oxford and the United States announced successful early trials for COVID-19 vaccines, each of which appears to be safe.
These vaccines must go through larger human trials, and then they must be mass produced in billions of doses worldwide. Scientists emphasized that the vaccine must only be 50% effective in order to be released into the market.
The vaccine is expected to be given to the public by March 2021.