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The dawn of 2020 ushered in many newsworthy headlines,
but few have turned the heads of the masses as sharply as the
arrival of a novel coronavirus that was fi rst identifi ed in Wuhan,
Hubei Province, China. In late 2019, Chinese authorities
identifi ed the new virus, which has resulted in scores of
confi rmed cases in China, and additional cases identifi ed in a
growing number of international locations.
Both the World Health Organization and The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention have closely monitored the
coronavirus, which was named COVID-19 in mid-February
2020. The public is understandably concerned, but educating
oneself about COVID-19 and coronaviruses in general can
assuage some fears.
What is a coronavirus?
Medical News Today reports that coronaviruses typically
affect the respiratory tracts of mammals. Coronaviruses are
responsible for between 15 and 30 percent of common colds.
They’re also associated with pneumonia and severe acute respiratory
syndrome, or SARS.
Coronaviruses were given their name based on the crown-like
projections on their surfaces (in Latin, “corona” means “halo”
or “crown”). Coronavirus antibodies do not last or work for
very long, so a person who becomes ill can catch the same
virus again a few months later. Also, antibodies for one strain
of coronavirus may not be effective against other strains.
What is COVID-19?
In 2019, a new type of coronavirus not previously identifi ed
was discovered in China. Like other coronaviruses, this virus,
COVID-19, can be spread easily from person to person, particularly
through respiratory droplets acquired when someone
with the virus coughs or sneezes. Most often people need to
be within six feet of the infected person for contraction. The
CDC says that COVID-19 also is believed to be spread from
animals to people. It’s currently unclear if a person can get
COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus
on it and then touching his oer her own mouth, nose or eyes.
Those confi rmed as having the virus reported illnesses ranging
from mild symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of
breath to more severe illness. Reactions to COVID-19 can
differ from individual to individual. It’s believed that symptoms
of COVID-19 can appear in as few as two days or as
long as 14 after exposure. Those who have been in China or
around others who have visited from China and are experiencing
cold or fl u symptoms are advised call their physicians.
Prevention and Treatment
The WHO says that if a person is healthy, he or she only needs
to wear a mask if this person is taking care of another with a
suspected COVID-19 infection. One also should wear a mask
if he or she is coughing or sneezing.
Doctors advise that frequent handwashing, and in the absence
of warm, soapy water, alcohol-based sanitizers that are at
least 60 percent alcohol can be effective in preventing transmission
of COVID-19. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose
and mouth with unwashed hands.
Currently there is no specifi c antiviral treatment for the disease;
people should receive supportive care for symptoms.
However, research into antiviral drugs, such as those for HIV
and infl uenza, are being tested for their potential effi cacy
against COVID-19, Research into developing a vaccine for
this novel coronavirus also is ongoing.
Concerned individuals should speak with their healthcare providers
for accurate, up-to-date information about COVID-19
as global health organizations continue to monitor conditions
Pennysaver- March 19, 2020 Find Us Online at PennysaverPlus.com ! 105 Mastic Beach-S. Shirley-Smith Point - Pg 19