Understanding and demystifying the new outbreak of Coronavirus

covid racket

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Mariah Peres Gonçalves, a 4th semester student at FURB’s (Fundação Universitária Regional de Blumenau) medical school, located in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil. 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.


Yes, there have already been other outbreaks of Coronavirus, and society has survived. The one happening now is about the brand new type of Coronavirus recently discovered after it erupted in the middle of China. It is believed it comes from bats, like the others types that initiated in other animals and have circulated through them for years before jumping to humans.

According to Live Science (RETTNER, R. January 29, 2020), scientists have analyzed genome sequences of the virus gotten from infected chinese people, and are all surprisingly similar, reinforcing the questionable origin. The fact which hugely called media attention and got Coronavirus on everyone’s mouth was the great speed in which it is spreading. This event set a worldwide euphoria that rapidly dispersed throughout the continents, much faster than the actual virus, and the panic created by the dissemination of the disease does not match its real risk.

Despite its big transmission rate, mainly people who have been wandering around China are at larger risk of contracting the virus and getting sick. Still, it is important to keep unwashed hands away from eyes, nose or mouth, wash hands frequently and keep distance from people with alarming symptoms. This enormous fear of getting Coronavirus and grand velocity it spreaded out created several misleading informations about transmission and dimension of the disease.

For example, it is unlikely one could get infected by a mail package from China, since the virus could not survived so many hours on that surface. And only a small amount of people who has it actually dies, most of them get better after a few days. In agreement with CNN news (YEUNG, J.; RENTON. February 5, 2020) up till february the virus has killed nearly 500 people and infected at least 24.500 people in several countries, moreover there are great chances of recovery from Coronavirus, specially if you are healthy and young.

Even though the Coronavirus is usually responsible for light upper respiratory system sickness, the new type can cause more severe symptoms that include pneumonia and bronchitis, which start off like a common cold. Symptoms like sore throat, shortness of breath and fever can begin up to 14 days after exposition to the virus, which is the time people getting to their home countries from China are staying in quarantine.

Chinese experts have confirmed relation of transmission and direct contact with the sick, and defend the implementation of measures to prevent larger dissemination of the disease on populations at risk (LI, Q. et al. January 29, 2020). However, researches show that the transmission of the virus will not occur during incubation period, therefore highlighting the importance of recognizing the action of Coronavirus on the organism to avoid dissemination.

BCC news (February 5, 2020) informs its readers about government investments on getting a vaccine and better treatments, since so far there are only medicine to soften the symptoms and no cure. Therefore, all around the globe politicians and researchers are mobilizing to inform, prevent and treat this novel virus that has emerged upon humans.

References

BBC news’ team. Coronavirus, five things you need to know. February 6, 2020.  https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51386894.

RETTNER, R. New Coronavirus may have started in bats. But how did it hop to humans?. Live Science online magazine. January 29, 2020. https://www.livescience.com/amp/new-coronavirus-origin-bats.html

YEUNG, J.; RENTON, A.; WOODYATT, A. February 5 Coronavirus news. February 5, 2020. https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-02-05-20-intl-hnk/index.html

LI, Q., M.Med.; GUAN, X., Ph.D.; WU, P., Ph.D.; WANG, X., M.P.H., et al. Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2020 [January 5]. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa2001316.

About the author

Mariah Peres Gonçalves is a 4th semester student at FURB’s (Fundação Universitária Regional de Blumenau) medical school, located in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Graduated from high school in a small city in West Virginia in 2015, teaches English in a national franchise English school close to the university. She is coursing medicine for her passion about biology and the human body, and hopes to be able to help people as a doctor in the future.

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