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 Milestone

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

Neelie Kroes at the European Young Innovators Forum: Unconvention 2014

Deeper reforms in Korea will ensure more inclusive and sustainable growth

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

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

Genocide threat for Myanmar’s Rohingya greater than ever, investigators warn Human Rights Council

France-Germany: Divided in Europe, USA united in…Iran

‘Uphold human dignity’, dismantle ‘specious notion of racial superiority’ urges UN chief

UNESCO food and culture forum dishes up fresh serving of SDGs

These are the 5 most exciting cycling projects in the world

EU Budgets: Europe hoping for Xmas gifts

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

Eurobarometer survey: Majority of EU citizens positive about international trade

Digital Single Market: New EU rules for online subscription services

More than one million sexually transmitted infections occur every day: WHO

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

An Eastern Wind

4 key ways countries can finance their SDG ambitions

IMF: Sorry Greece it was a mistake of 11% of your GDP

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

6th Edition of India m2m + iot Forum 2019 concluded, in association with The European Sting

This one small change could transform education for millions

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

Why this city is paying people to move there

Independent rights experts sound alarm at Iran protest crackdown, internet blackout

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

Telemedicine and the Brazilian reality

Alarm over violent attacks on lawmakers, opposition in Malawi, ahead of elections

Ebola: EU releases additional €3.5 million to tackle epidemic

Talking the talk: the voice-recognition disruptors looking to outsmart big tech

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Tunisia coastline in need of climate cash boost

Mine ban agreement ‘has saved countless lives’, but ‘accelerated efforts’ needed to end scourge for good: Guterres

Eurozone: Bankers-politicians rig keeps robbing taxpayers

GSMA Announces First Keynote Speakers for 2019 “MWC Los Angeles, in Partnership with CTIA”

This study wants every child in the UK to spend a night under the stars

‘Champion for multilateralism’ readies to hand over UN General Assembly gavel

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

Youth leaders share positive visions of the future, as Guterres launches UN75 in New York

EU Commission challenges Berlin by proposing breakthrough legislation on banks

Get off the path of deadly emissions, UN chief Guterres to urge in key climate change speech

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Free trade agreement between EU and India?

Why press freedom should be at the top of everyone’s agenda

‘Ground Zero’: Report from the former Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan

Humane leadership must be the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s real innovation

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

Boris to end up in jail if he loses the next elections?

Around 600,000 Afghan children face death through malnutrition without emergency funds: UNICEF

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

Libya: UN report urges accountability for deadly attack against migrant centre

Greece to stay in the euro area but the cost to its people remains elusive

Passwords should become a thing of the past. Here’s why

How tech can lead reskilling in the age of automation

3 ways governments and carmakers can keep up with the future of transport

In Sweden you can roam anywhere you like, without the landowner’s permission

New UN agriculture agency report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

Italy’s Letta: A European Banking Union soon or Eurozone collapses

State aid: Commission approves Danish public financing of Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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