I am Dr Tampiwa Chebani, in this article I would like to share with you very briefly what is known about COVID-19; what is it? What does it do to the infected? How do we stop the spread of COVID-19? Thereafter, I would like us to start a discussion in which we can share our thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Through such a discussion, we will help each other in coping and hopefully allay some of our fears and face this crisis with reasonable and rational minds coupled with a sense of hope.
Throughout recorded history, the world has, at unfortunate periods of time experienced global crises. Of course, some of these crises were man-made, a result of greed, gluttony or even pure malevolence among humans; world war 1, world war 2 and several other atrocities that were based on gender, race, color, and creed.
Alas, here we are as earth inhabitants, facing yet another crisis. Firstly, the overarching question is whether our race will survive and secondly, if we are to survive, what actions do we have to take as a collective? Lastly, what will the post-COVID-19 human race be like? Coronavirus has no concept of gender, race, color or creed, as such, the first step is for humanity to unite. We, therefore, must unite by way of sharing knowledge, sharing our experiences, sharing our fears and by way of offering assistance to those in need.
As of writing, a lot of people around the world have been affected by this pandemic. The number of cases currently stands at 383,894 and 16,585 deaths, a bleak picture indeed. My heartfelt condolences go to everyone who has lost loved ones. To those who are sick, or caring for the sick, our minds and hearts are with you.
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2). This naming is used to distinguish the current outbreak from the 2003 SARS outbreak. Note that although this is a SARS virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has tended to use the term “COVID-19 virus” or “the virus that causes COVID-19” in an effort to avoid inciting anxiety associated with the 2003 SARS outbreak.
How do People Get Infected?
Coronavirus is transmitted via aerosol droplets left in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Bodily fluids such as Saliva and mucus can be infectious. The virus can survive on surfaces for up to 8 hours depending on the surface. Recent evidence also suggests the virus can be in the air for up to 8 hours.
When Do Symptoms Start?
The incubation period, which is the time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms, varies. The current official estimated range is 2-14 days. However, there are extreme cases that show symptoms with a few hours and others that may become symptomatic as late as 27 days.
What Happens to the Infected?
Symptoms of infection include but are not limited to sore throat, Fever, runny nose, cough, Shortness of breath and lethargy. Symptoms can be mild or severe depending on the individual. There is evidence that people with pre-existing conditions like; cancer, heart disease, lung disease, hypertension, and diabetes are more likely to experience severe illness. These groups of people along with the elderly constitute a significant proportion of mortality.
Severe illness requires intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Most patients die from respiratory failure, sometimes associated with other organ system failures.
What are the Best Protective and Preventive Practices known?
As of writing, there is no known cure or vaccine against COVID-19. The most you can do is to guard against being infected. You can prevent infection through the same measures you would use to protect yourself against the common cold.
These may at first glance look simple, but they are effective. These include:
- Washing your Hands Frequently
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This practice kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintaining Social Distancing
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) from anyone who shows symptoms of coughing or sneezing. This is because when one coughs or sneezes, they may release viral particles. Being too close puts you at risk of breathing them in.
- Avoid Touching your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
- Viral particles from surfaces can easily be transferred to the eyes, nose, and mouth in this way, thus giving the virus entry into the body.
- Practice Respiratory Hygiene
- Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow when you sneeze or cough. You can also use a tissue then dispose of it.
- Stay Informed and Follow Expert Advice
– What to do if you Recently Visited (past 14 days) Areas Where COVID-19 Is Spreading.
Follow the guidance outlined above. Stay at home, even with mild symptoms such as sore throat and slight runny nose, until you recover. This stops the spread of the COVID-19 virus and also decongests health care facilities.
If symptoms become severe; cough and difficulty breathing, call in advance and tell your health care provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
In conclusion, I would like to offer a word of encouragement to you; we will overcome this perilous situation. To do so will require us to unite and take all necessary precautions by following expert advice and seeking advice when in doubt.
I am available to answer any questions you may have regarding COVID-19. Please share your experiences, fears and hopes on this global crisis.
Use the comments area bellow to ask me any question about the current pandemic!