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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are what are known as RNA viruses. These are pieces of genetic code and information that is uptaken and replicated inside human cells, causing havoc along the way.

How is Coronavirus Spread

Coronavirus is spread through ‘droplet spread’. This means droplets containing the virus are passed from one person to another on contact. For example, if someone sneezes, the droplets containing viruses can fall onto nearby surfaces. Another example, if someone has sneezed into their hands and then touched doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc the droplets containing the virus can be spread in that manner as well.

What Are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

Predominantly, the symptoms of coronavirus are like other upper respiratory tract infections. Symptoms may include sore throat, cough, fever, headache, shortness of breath and others. An infected individual may have all or some of these symptoms. Some people might also experience a sore throat while others might even have diarrhea. It’s not unusual to have these overlapping symptoms with many of the other forms of infections that we might be afflicted with.

Should You Wear a Mask?

This has been very contentious over the last few weeks. A lot of people have gone out and sought masks. If we’re talking about the general population, the great majority would not need masks. The WHO and the local health authorities have advised the public to avoid wearing masks, and that we should save them for those who need them most as there are currently a severe shortage of masks.

It is far better to exercise proper hygiene: washing your hands for 20 seconds regularly, using sanitizers that contain atleast 60% alcohol, limiting touching your face and distancing yourself from others who may show symptoms of infection.

Should You Be Worried About Coronavirus?

For you to catch the virus you have to come in contact with someone who has the virus and is infected in that period. As this is a new virus, for which we need to build immunity, it is best to exercise precautions with proper hygiene but there is no reason for panic or anxiety.

Is Coronavirus Worse Than the Flu?

Coronavirus is not worse or better; and we shouldn’t look at it as worse or better. They both cause severe illness in particular patients and the symptoms overlap. Some people who get the flu have very mild flu symptoms and it’s the same for Coronaviruses. Some people also die due to the flu, and it’s the same for Coronaviruses. Transmit-ability at the moment looks to be similar in that one patient probably infects two. This is just a new virus that we will learn more about, so we don’t know yet if it’s better or worse than the other.

Should You Avoid Public Spaces?

You should follow public health advice. When we say public spaces, we may include transportation, congregations, festivals and so forth. Each has its own risks. For instance, Saudi Arabia has banned gatherings for Umrah, and that was based on risk assessment by the government, and the same would occur to each and every single locality. So, if your particular public health authority advises you to avoid certain public spaces, then you should do so for your health and safety. Otherwise continue living life as normal.

Is It Safe to Travel?

Although there is a lot of worry at the moment due to the Coronavirus, again it’s more important to put things into perspective. Follow the advice on appropriate hygiene listed in this document, and limit travel to areas currently experiencing high volumes of cases.

Did Coronavirus Originate from Eating Bats?

Coronavirus did not come about due to consumption of bats; it’s because bats carry many viruses including Coronaviruses, and usually they are confined to one species. However, once in a while viruses adapt and mutate to be able to invade a different host such as humans.

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