What is Covid-19 – the virus that causes the illness that began in Wuhan?
A member of the crown virus family has never been before. Like other coronary viruses, he came from animals. Many of those who were first infected in Huanan seafood wholesale market worked in the Chinese city center, selling live animals and newly-slaughtered animals.
Are there other crowns?
There are usually new viruses and worries about animal hosts. Other examples are Ebola and influenza, and coronviruses originating from animals caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers). In 2002, Sars distributed almost non-stop to 37 countries, creating a global panic, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing more than 750. It seems easier to move people from person to person, but more fatal, killing 35% of about 2,500 infected people.
What are the properties of Wuhan coronary?
The virus can cause pneumonia. Those with illness are reported as having troubles, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases organ failure can occur. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are not used. Our anti-virus drugs will not work against influenza. If people are admitted to hospital, they may receive support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids. Recovery will depend on the strength of their immune system. Many people who had already died were ill.
Is the virus transmitted from person to person?
One-to-one transmission has been confirmed by the Chinese national health commission, and such referrals are elsewhere. As of 17 February more than 70,000 cases have now been confirmed and 1,696 deaths on mainland China. A change in the calculation of metrics has resulted in a major jump in the number of cases identified.
There are cases in 28 other countries outside China, and deaths were recorded in France, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan. The number of people contracted with the virus could be much higher, as people with mild symptoms may not have been detected.
There are nine cases of the virus in the UK. There were four in Brighton, one in London. At Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, 83 people were allowed to leave holiday quarantine after having tested them negatively. Of the 1,750 tests carried out to date in the UK, more than 99% were negative.
Why is this worse than normal flu, and how worried are the experts?
We still don’t know how dangerous the new crown virus is, and we don’t know that more data will come in. The mortality rate is 2%. However, this is likely to be an overestimation as there are likely to be more people infected by the virus but not enough signs to attend the hospital, so they have not been counted. For comparison purposes, seasonal influenza mortality is generally below 1% and it is estimated that there are around 400,000 deaths every year worldwide. Sars had a death rate of more than 10%.
Another unknown key, which scientists should have a clearer idea over the coming weeks, is how the coronavirus is infectious. A critical difference is that unlike the flu, there is no vaccine for the new crown virus, making it more difficult for vulnerable people of the population – older people or people with respiratory or immune problems – to protect themselves. It is important that people wash and avoid others if you are ill. The flu vaccine is one sensible step, reducing the burden on health services if the outbreak is a wider epidemic.
Should I go to the doctor if I have a cough?
Anyone who has traveled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macao should last two weeks and t has a cough or fever or breath is just a call to NHS 111, even if the symptoms are mild, the NHS gives advice.
Is the outbreak the pandemic?
Health experts are starting to say that it could be a pandemic, but now it is just what the WHO would consider. A pandemic, in WHO terms, means “spreading disease worldwide”. Coronavirus cases were confirmed in approximately 25 countries outside China, but not in all 195 in the WHO list. It is not currently spread within these countries, but in a small number of cases. Most of the people who collected the virus in China are travelers.
Should we panic?
There is concern about the spread of the virus outside China but it is not an unexpected development. The WHO has confirmed that the outbreak is a public health emergency, and states that there is an “opportunity opportunity” to stop the spread of the disease. The main issues are how transmissible this new crown virus is between people and what percentage becomes seriously ill and goes into hospital. Viruses that circulate easily often have less impact.
Healthcare workers may be at risk if they come across a person with respiratory symptoms who traveled to a affected region. Usually, the coronary virus appears to be hitting older people, and few cases in children.