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My input on the Coronavirus pandemic

3 February 2020 at 18:07 | 2821 views

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By Dr. Nanah Sheriff Fofanah-Sesay, PV Special Correspondent, USA

Coronaviruses are a group of common viruses that infect most people at some point in their lives. This infection usually causes mild to moderate upper respiratory infections that last a few days. The infection is usually referred to as the common cold; however, these viruses can also cause more severe illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

The purpose of this narrative is to bring about awareness on the causes, transmission, symptoms, and treatment of the Coronaviruses in order to minimize pandemic adverse reactions from this illness.

Coronaviruses were initially identified in the 1960’s. The source of the viruses is unknown but they derive their names from their crown-like shape. The viruses can infect both animals and humans. It can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, touching an infected person’s hands or face, touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have contacted.

Common symptoms of the Coronaviruses are similar to any other upper respiratory infection such as running nose, coughing, difficulties breathing, sore throat, and fever. When the virus spreads to the lower respiratory tract such as the bronchioles and lungs, it can cause bronchitis and pneumonia respectively. In order to minimize worsening of the infection, certain preventive steps must be implemented. These steps include but are not limited to hand washing with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. In addition, infected individuals must avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Those who are healthy should avoid close contact with people that are infected.

People who are infected must drink adequate amounts of water, get plenty of rest while avoiding overexertion, avoid smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, take over-the-counter Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, or Naproxen to reduce pain and fever, and use clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer. Do not give Aspirin to children to prevent Reye Syndrome. The Center for Disease and Infection Control has recommended standard contact and airborne precautions for the management of hospitalized patients with known or suspected Coronavirus infection (MERS-CoV).

From an epidemiology point of view, about 858 people have died from the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. In May 2015, there was an outbreak of MERS in Korea. In 2003, 774 people died from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak (CDC, 2020). According to CNBC and The New York Times Coronavirus live update, China has reported a death toll of over 200 and 9,692 confirmed cases since January 2020.

Since these viruses are easily transmitted among large numbers of people, the ongoing global mobility of humans, the fact that it can be easily dismissed as the common cold, and most importantly, its lethality, we can no longer afford to sit back with indifference and apathy.

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