Coronavirus and Human Health


The Coronavirus Disease 2019, known as COVID-19 or simply coronavirus, is a member of the coronavirus family, named as such because of its crown-like shape when seen under the microscope. This family of viruses has been known to humankind for around sixty years; it is infamous for causing human infection with several disease, ranging from the common cold and simple flu to the much more serious Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV).

COVID-19, however, is a newly developed strain humans have not experienced before; it came to be known in 2019 as a disease that infects animals and not humans. Nevertheless, in November 2019, the first human infection was discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan, when two patients suffered severe pneumonia, after which it was discovered that they were infected by a new coronavirus. COVID-19 can be transferred from animals to humans, similar to other members of the coronavirus family; SARS-COV is transferred from civet cats to humans, while MERS-COV is transferred from dromedary camels to humans.

The mildness of the symptoms and their similarity to those associated with the common flu makes it tricky to detect COVID-19 infection. On the one hand, some underestimate the symptoms when they start appearing, mistaking them for the common cold, because patients can still move around and go about their normal activities, without feeling the need to stay in bed. In reality, they are moving transmitters of the infection, without getting tested or abiding by general hygienic rules. On the other hand, some panic and freak out when they experience any kind of coughing, even while eating. That is why it is essential to be aware of the COVID-19 symptoms, to distinguish it from other diseases; this is, of course, in addition to continuously abiding by general safety and sanitary measures, as well as staying home to protect all members of the society, curb the spread of the disease, and control it.

COVID-19 symptoms are: fever, coughing, and difficulty of breathing; in severe cases, they can develop into pneumonia or severe acute respiratory syndrome.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the COVID-19 as pandemic, because of its widespread across the entire planet with all its continents and countries, and because anyone can get infected regardless of race or location, which means it is not possible to predict or identify the number of those exposed to infection. If a disease is widely spread, but it is possible to predict the number of those vulnerable to infection, and it is confined in a single country or a region, then it is not a pandemic.

We must not underestimate the situation, thinking that infection is far from us, but we also should not panic; as a matter of fact, diseases attack as a result of stress and extreme anxiety. Moderate precaution and maintaining healthy measures are necessary for protection; to control the fear, we can take simple steps, starting with researching accurate information, to get acquainted with the facts of the virus and its dangers, as well as identifying the fears and planning to face the worst should it occur.

There is no shame in asking for help; we can support each other, by providing researched advice, assisting with dire needs, or simply psychologically supporting each other in these difficult times, so that all humankind can get through this crisis safely.

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