Coronavirus: How worried should we be?

coronavirus uk_

(Credit, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Laura Maisvoreva, a first-year medical student at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Tuesday 31 December, 2019. The start of what has now been declared by the World Health Organization a “global health emergency”.

A sixty one year old man in Wuhan, China visited a local hospital presenting with pneumonia. This seemingly common problem only lead to the unraveling of a more sinister illness that has taken the lives of 170 and infected more than 7000 others (data as at Friday 31 January 1300 hours). This virus has received much attention from its rapid spread to 18 other countries, with cases in France and the USA, according to the World Health Organization.  So, what is there to know about this new epidemic?

Coronavirus, named for its crown-like appearance, is part of a group of viruses that affects mammals and birds. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a member of this group. Interestingly, contrary to physiological understanding of viruses, this group of viruses is considered both living and non-living. Speculations that this new strain of coronavirus, 2019-nCOV, arose by zoonosis from bats or snakes remain to be proven. Other theories suggest seafood in China may have been a main contributor to the spread of this virus.

Transmission involves inhalation of an infected person’s respiratory secretions or physical contact with infected individuals or surfaces. Dr Isaac Bogoch, an Infectious Diseases Specialist at the University Health Network claims “the ease of transmission is still unknown”. The most concerning thing about the coronavirus is its symptoms. Mimicking symptoms similar to a common cold can cause infection with the virus to be overlooked and mistaken for an influenza virus, especially in countries in the flu season. Early reports demonstrate that people sixty years and above have higher fatality rates and experience harsher symptoms, including pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure. This can be attributed to the fact that this age group is generally immunocompromised.

The only treatment available involves supportive care – fluids, rest and pain medication. Unfortunately, an antidote has not yet been made, neither has a vaccine been manufactured. Disease control measures have been taken in countries with suspected or confirmed cases, and involve isolation and close monitoring.

A simple, daily practice can assist in prevention of infection – washing hands. It is of utmost importance to practice good hygiene and not undermine any flu-like symptoms.

The coronavirus has certainly gone viral, but there is nothing to fear. The healthcare industry is fully aware of the manifestations of this virus and how quickly it is spreading. Control measures are being taken, and at an individual level, it is imperative to ensure any suspicious symptoms are reported to health officials.

About the author

Laura Maisvoreva is a first-year medical student at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. She is an active member of the Zimbabwe Medical Student’s Association (ZiMSA) and participates in the Standing Committee for Public Health (SCOPH). Her interests revolve around public health, as demonstrated by her completion of four Coursera courses that are medically related, namely, “Stanford Introduction to Food and Health”; “Understanding Obesity”; “Stories of Infection”; and” Epidemics- Dynamics of Infectious Diseases”. She is passionate about healthcare, and aspire to be a surgeon and an influencer of positive change in Zimbabwe.

 

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

A new approach to scaling-up renewable power in emerging markets

Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day

COVID-19 wave III and the lessons learned

Threats from mammoth banks and Brussels fuel May’s poll rates

EU and Amazon cut deal to end antitrust investigation over e-books deals

MEPs urge EU countries to be transparent about their COVID-19 vaccine supplies

Here’s how private investors can turn plastic into gold

Still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in all EU countries

Africa is set to get its first vertical forest

‘Millions facing starvation’ – Global political and business leaders on the economic impact of COVID-19

How the gender commuting gap could be harming women’s careers

Will 2020 be the year blockchain overcomes its hype?

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

Bacteria vs. humans: how to fight in this world war?

The future of energy is being shaped in Asia

What we know and what we don’t know about universal basic income

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

OECD household income up 0.7% in first quarter of 2018, outpacing GDP growth

First seat projections for the next European Parliament

The energy industry is changing. Are governments switched on?

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

Trump ‘used’ G20 to side with Putin and split climate and trade packs


Re-thinking citizenship education: bringing young people back to the ballot box

Commission issues guidance on the participation of third country bidders in the EU procurement market

Car rentals: EU action leads to clearer and more transparent pricing

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

Support for EU remains at historically high level despite sceptics

US pardons for accused war criminals, contrary to international law: UN rights office

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Brexit casts a shadow over the LSE – Deutsche Börse merger: a tracer of how or if brexit is to be implemented

Migrants and refugees face higher risk of developing ill-health, says UN report on displaced people in Europe

Autumn 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: immigration and climate change remain main concerns at EU level

Stop the waste: UN food agencies call for action to reduce global hunger

The term AI overpromises. Let’s make machine learning work better for humans instead

How blended finance helped to keep energy supplies flowing during COVID-19

What will a post-pandemic economy look like? Here’s what chief economists expect

Innovation is the key to the pay-TV industry’s long-term growth

Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

Coronavirus: Commission launches call for innovative response and recovery partnerships between EU regions

Parliament names radio studio after journalists murdered in December attack

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

World-famous cultural institutions closed due to coronavirus are welcoming virtual visitors

As Houthi forces withdraw from key Yemeni ports, UN monitoring chief welcomes ‘first practical step on the ground’

Get out, stay out: how financial resilience helps end poverty

The ‘ASEAN way’: what it is, how it must change for the future

30 years of tissue engineering, what has been achieved?

Businesses are lacking moral leadership, according to employees

Mental health and suicide prevention

‘Perseverance is key’ to Iraq’s future, UN envoy tells Security Council

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

The Future of Balkans: Embracing Education

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

Could Europe become the first climate-neutral continent?

Venezuela’s needs ‘significant and growing’ UN humanitarian chief warns Security Council, as ‘unparalleled’ exodus continues

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s