“Coronavirus” – The dreaded word, virus, and the subject that has been the centre of attention for most citizens across the world, including India. What is this virus, illness and the outbreak all about?
The World Health Organization has declared it a “Pandemic”and the worldwide death toll stands at 30,000+.
India has had 1,000+confirmed coronavirus cases, and 26 patients have lost their lives. 85 have now fully recovered.
Let’s briefly go through the facts, the present status and address some of the critical aspects related to the virus from Wuhan, China.
The Virus, Disease & The Outbreak
- Coronaviruses (CoV): A large family of viruses that cause illness, common cold to severe diseases such as Pneumonia, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
- Coronaviruses are zoonotic: Transmitted between people and animals.
- Novel coronavirus (nCoV) or 2019-nCov or SARS-Co V-2: A new strain that has not been previously identified in human beings.
- The disease and outbreak: COVID-19.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.” –WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while announcing the official name Coronavirus Disease, abbreviated as COVID-19.
Coronavirus & COVID-19 Illness: The Causes
- It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family never encountered before.
- The virus has come from animals. Initially-infected individuals worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Jianghan District, Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
- Spreads while inhaling or coming in close contact with droplets dispersed from an already-infected individual’s coughs and sneezes.
COVID-19 Illness: The Symptoms
- The patient experiences cough, fever, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
- Symptoms may appear within 2-14 days after exposure.
- The virus may lead to pneumonia.
- Organ failure and even death in severe cases.
The Global-India Impact
- The fatality rate of approximately 3.4% -multiple times more than the flu.
- 500,000+ confirmed cases across the world.
- Italy has reported the maximum number of 10,000+coronavirus deaths.
- 81,439 infected, 3,300 deaths and over 75,000 already-recovered cases reported in mainland China as on 29th March.
- COVID-19 cases have spread to 202 countries, areas or territories.
- 1,037 cases (26 deaths) in India, 113,000 (2,227 deaths) in the US, 17,089 (1,019 deaths)in the UK, 468(2 deaths)in UAEand 9,000+ (105 deaths) in South Korea.
- 1,693 cases and 52 deaths in Japan.
- 35,408 cases and 2,517 deaths in Iran.
- 37,575 in France with 2,314 deaths.
- Reported deaths in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Potential Economic Challenges
- The global economic growth in 2020 is set to stagnate.
- Coronavirus may impact consumption.
- Businesses could suffer due to lockdowns, erratic supply, increased costs or a decrease in demand.
- Investor sentiments primarily in travel, entertainment and hospitality sectors will be adversely affected.
Indian Government’s Response & Precautionary Steps
- The nationwide lockdown for at least 21 days has been ordered.
- Non-essential traffic, air travel, international and domestic, has been suspended.
- Offices have been closed, and businesses are being encouraged to utilise work-from-home options.
- Welfare schemes, financial packages and relief measures are being introduced.
- Hundreds of Indians stranded in Wuhan, Iran or Italy are being evacuated.
- Regular screening of passengers for Covid-19 symptoms: On 21 airports, 12 seaports, and border crossings across the country.
- Random testing across the country.
- Thousands of individuals are presently under community surveillance.
- Many states are publishing daily updates on quarantine, tests and hospitalisations.
- The ministry of health and family welfare in India has asked all the states to remain alert and vigilant with efforts generating community-level awareness.
Necessary Preventive & Treatment Measures
- Follow complete-lockdown guidelines as issued by the Government of India and all local authorities.
- Stay at home and maintain social distancing.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness.
- Use face masks as they offer some protection by blocking liquid droplets (recommended for people who show symptoms and those taking care of sick individuals).
- There are no antibiotics or specific vaccines.
- The antiviral drugs against flu are not useful.
- Hot shower and a humidifier can help in relieving a sore throat or cough.
- Many symptoms can be treated, and recovery depends on the strength of the immune system.
- If you have travelled from mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau or Malaysia and you are experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath, stay indoors. Avoid any contact with others for 14 days. Also, share your travel history with trained healthcare providers.
India has been proactive in fighting and containing the deadly coronavirus, especially when many of its neighbours have struggled. However, genuine concerns cannot be dismissed.
The government is not taking any chances. Against a suggested period of 14 days, in some cases, it is quarantining infected people for 28 days as a precautionary measure.
The focus must now shift from containment to mitigation. Active participation from all of us could play a key role in it. Thoroughly following all the preventive measures should be your first line of defence.
Coronavirus appears to be targeting older people with existing respiratory or immune problems. In case of severe infections, medical attention including hospitalisation may be required. That’s when your health insurance comes in handy. General health policies are not disease-specific. They cover all kinds of illnesses and treatments, including diseases that are not yet discovered.
Over 70% of Indians claim to be alert-enough and taking precautions against Covid-19,as per a recent survey from LocalCircles, a community-led social media engagement platform.
Are you amongst these responsible Indians?At Quickinsure,explore healthcare policies, buy or renew covers by comparing terms, conditions, exclusions and quotes from various recognized health insurance providers.
Sources:Ministry of Health and Family Welfare-GOI, World Health Organization, Live Science, The Guardian, The Economic Times, Livemint, The Pioneer, Money Control, CNBC, India Times, Wikipedia and other information channels.