Coronavirus, (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, central China, and has since spread globally, resulting in the coronavirus pandemic. Common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Muscle pain, sputum production and sore throat are less common. In most cases, you get mild symptoms, but sometimes there can be progress to severe pneumonia and several organs can fail.
The virus is usually spread from one person to another via respiratory drops produced during coughing. It can also spread from touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the face. The time from exposure to symptoms usually starts between 2 and 14 days, with an average of 5 days but has been as much as 45 days. The standard method of diagnosis is by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) from a nasopharyngeal swab. The infection can also be diagnosed using a combination of symptoms, risk factors and a breast CT scan showing features of pneumonia.
Recommended measures to prevent infection include hand washing, social distancing (maintaining distance from others) and keeping hands away from the face. There is no vaccine or specific antiviral therapy for COVID-19. Management involves treating symptoms, supportive care, isolation and experimental measures.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak of 2019-20 as a pandemic and a public health crime for international concern (PHEIC). Evidence of local transmission of the disease has been found in almost every country in the world.
People can experience:
- Rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, caused by a virus infection)
- Sore throat
- Breathing difficulties
- Persistent pain or chest pressure
- Confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people who are seriously ill and dying.