Will You Catch The Corona Virus?

By Ben Hamill - February 21 2020
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Corona Virus

Coronavirus is shutting down the world. As millions of Chinese are quarantined, the rest of the world is struggling to comprehend the impact of this threat. Around the world, isolated groups of people are being shut inside hospitals and even cruise ships in a bid to ward off what threatens to become a global plague. No wonder people are wondering if they are at risk of contracting the coronavirus. The good news seems to be that most people are not at risk if they are healthy. However much remains unknown and nobody should assume that they are safe.

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The coronavirus was spread by people eating wild animals

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

In December 2019 a new coronavirus, now called 2019-nCoV, broke out in the city of Wuhan, China. Within weeks, millions of Chinese citizens were trapped inside their own city. Globally, countries quarantined any of their nationals travelling from China.

 Like other coronaviruses, 2019-nCoV comes from wild animals. Many of those initially infected either worked or frequently shopped at a wholesale food market in the centre of Wuhan City. The market is supposed to sell seafood but it was actually one of many “wet” markets selling wild animals for human consumption. Consumers of wild animal flesh often believe that it will cure them from their ailments. If this belief is responsible for the spread of disease, it is extremely ironic.

The coronavirus was spread by people eating wild animals

In the USA, five major cities -- Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle -- are testing patients with flu-like symptoms for the new coronavirus.  New testing centres will be established in, with more cities to be added.

To date, there is no indication that the coronavirus is spreading in the United States or other countries outside of China.  As of Friday, 14 February, only 15 patients had been diagnosed in the U.S., a tiny number compared to the 64,000 cases reported in China. Most these originate from Wuhan. All cases in the U.S. can be traced to people travelling from Wuhan province.

Current limitations on travel to and from China are meant to reduce the risk for the deadly virus to potentially advance onto U.S. soil, but global travel limits are unsustainable in the long term.

Anti-viral drugs are no defence

Symptoms of the coronavirus mimic those usually associated with flu such as running a fever, chest cough, body aches and extreme fatigue.

 The coronavirus kills by causing pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs that have been developed against the flu will not work in this case.

In the latest report, nearly 1,400 people have died in China from the coronavirus, putting the world’s second largest economy under tremendous strain and causing a headache for its government.  However, in the United States,common flu remains a much greater threat than the coronavirus.  

Protect yourself against coronavirus

The success of recovery depends largely on a patient’s immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.

Everybody should be aware the 2019-nCoV coronavirus – and the potentially fatal respiratory disease it causes -- can be transmitted from person to person. This is usually after close contact with an infected carrier at home,  at work, in a shopping mall, or any place where people congregate.  It is advisable to seek medical help if you experience any symptoms listed above.

The Chinese state has banned the sale of wild animals for human consumption.

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