Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
How COVID-19 spreads
The corona virus also known as COVID-19 spreads from person to person in close proximity, just like other respiratory illnesses like flu.
Droplets of fluids like saliva or mucus from an infected person are dispersed in the air or on surfaces by coughing or sneezing.
When these droplets come into direct contact with other people, they can infect those who pick them up by touching infected surfaces and then their face.
According to scientists, coughs and sneezes can travel several feet and stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes.
Transmission is of particular concern on transport, where droplets containing the coronavirus could pass between passengers or via surfaces like aeroplane seats and armrests.
The incubation period of the coronavirus, the length of time before symptoms appear, is between one and 14 days.
Although not yet confirmed, Chinese health authorities believe the virus can be transmitted before symptoms appear.
Signs and symptoms of Corona virus
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms,
- Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.