The coronavirus outbreak: the greatest pandemic of the century

Coronavirus disease or COVID- 19 is a highly contagious disease caused by the corona virus that affects the respiratory system of human beings. The most probable source of this virus is bats. It spreads mainly through saliva droplets and nose discharges when an infected individual sneezes or coughs.  

History of coronavirus in humans

The history of coronaviruses, responsible for infections in the respiratory tract, dates back to the 1960s. In the year 1965, Bynoe and Tyrrell identified a virus, BB14, found in an adult’s respiratory tract. But, the past few years have witnessed an alarming advancement of coronaviruses. Since 2003, more than 5 new coronaviruses have been detected in humans, including the chronic respiratory tract infection which resulted in significant mortality.

How COVID-19 took the shape of a pandemic?

The city of Wuhan in China was the first to report a pneumonia case of an unknown nature to the WHO County Office on December 31, 2019. It was not until January 30, 2020, almost a month after the first case was reported, that WHO declared the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of international concern. The novel coronavirus disease got a name, COVID-19, on February 11, 2020. As it started spreading in other countries, WHO confirmed that it is a pandemic- one that requires “urgent and aggressive action.”

The countries battling COVID-19

COVID-19 has extended its grip to at least 194 countries worldwide. As of May 6, 2020, approximately 3740583 people are still infected in different parts of the world by COVID-19. With the highest number of cases, USA tops the list of most affected countries. Spain, Italy, France, UK, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Brazil are among the most affected nations.

 In the past few months, lives in these cities have gone through a sea change and the situation is still not under control. Metropolitan cities have been locked down, educational institutions, government and private offices have been shut down, airfare and trains have stopped in almost all parts of the world. Schools, colleges, and universities, cinema halls, and malls have been shut down till the situation becomes normal again.

India’s situation in the coronavirus outbreak

India reported its first COVID-19 case on January 30, 2020, found in an individual with travel history to China. As more people started getting affected, on 22 March the country observed public curfew for 14 hours, an initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nationwide lockdown started on March 24, 2020. As per data collected on 6th May, 2020, India’s number of positive cases is about to reach half a lakh.

Treatment of coronavirus

There is no particular antiviral treatment or vaccine to prevent coronavirus. The primary treatment done by doctors is supportive and symptomatic therapy. The recovery time for most people infected with it is 2 weeks. For patients with critical symptoms, it might take 3-6 weeks for full recovery. All great minds in the medical department are working day and night to develop a vaccine and experiments are going on.

Precautions and safety measures:

Protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 by taking necessary precautions as notified by public health agencies. The only way of doing that is social distancing. Maintain distance from people who are sneezing and coughing. Clean hands frequently with the help of an alcohol-based sanitizer or water and soap. Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes when you are in a public place. If you have a cough, fever or a breathing trouble, keep distance from other family members and get yourself tested.

Environmental benefits: the only positive side

It is difficult to look at the positive impacts of corona virus on the environmentin a time of widespread lockdowns and increasing infection rate. But, as the corona virus pandemic has left us with no choice other than staying back at homes, the air quality in several countries has improved beyond expectation. With the closure of large industries, flights grounded and reduced traffic in big cities carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide levels have decreased after several decades.

In Indian metro cities, people are finally breathing air that has relatively safer pollutant levels, thanks to the imposed lockdown. Another cheerful piece of news is that the ozone layer protecting us has started healing.

Conclusion

The pandemic has been the cause of the biggest global recession after the Great Depression. It has led to the cancellation and postponement of religious, political, cultural and sporting events, widespread shortage of supplies. The impact of the virus on economy of the affected countries is massive.

As there is no vaccine for the treatment of this illness, social distancing and practicing respiratory etiquette are the only ways of stopping the spread of this deathly virus. Let us keep our dear ones safe and hope that we can go back to the normal course of life soon.

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