On January the 7th 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a new virus. It’s dubbed the Wuhan Virus since the disease originated from the Chinese city called Wuhan. Since then, the disease has been renamed COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019). The virus is from the coronavirus family, which also includes the better known MERS and SARS outbreaks.
COVID-19 has now spread to almost every country around the world. Around 3 million people have been infected, with more than 200 000 deaths recorded.
With scary statistics like this, we’ve put together all the noteworthy information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and how to prevent a coronavirus infection, especially if you’re traveling abroad.
Which Countries Are Most Affected By COVID-19
Worldometer, a live statistics, and coronavirus news tracking site, shows the most current statistics and daily numbers for COVID-19.
Coronavirus is a grouping of viruses causing disease in animals like birds, pigs, cows and chickens.
The disease spreads from infected animals to humans and causes respiratory infections as a result.
Authorities have linked the strain to a fresh food market selling seafood and living wild animals in Wuhan, China.
How Is COVID-19 Contracted
The coronavirus is airborne and spread when infected individuals cough or sneeze and in doing so, spread droplets. These droplets are either inhaled or settle out onto surfaces and spread to others via touch.
Who Is At Risk
Like many other viruses, coronavirus doesn’t favour a specific age group or ethnicity. Although people with weakened immune systems and the elderly are at higher risk, COVID-19 may affect anyone in its path.
Recent reports are showing cases in ages between 15-88. Because of this, everyone should be taking precautions to reduce its spread.
Signs And Symptoms
COVID-19 symptoms are very similar to that of a common cold or flu virus and include fever, headaches, fatigue, sore throat, and dry cough.
As the disease progresses, infected individuals experience difficulty breathing.
The only significant difference between the coronavirus and common flu symptoms is the onset of action. Usual Flu symptoms develop with 2-3 days after contraction, whereas COVID-19 symptoms show up as late as 14 days after contraction.
How To Prevent COVID-19
Ideally, you’d want to avoid public spaces and areas with large groups of people. However, If you’re traveling and cannot prevent these circumstances, take these steps below to limit the chances of infection.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing flu-like symptoms like coughing and sneezing.
- Wear a protective face mask when entering public and heavily congested areas. Keep in mind that viruses can seep through the thin surgical mask with time. Carry multiple disposable masks and change them regularly.
- Don’t touch door handles, banister and railings in public areas and if so, make sure you wash your hands with soapy water or waterless hand sanitizer afterward.
- When you’re in the company of others, keep your hands and fingers away from points of entry like your mouth, nose, and eyes.
For the most up-to-date and accurate advice, follow stories and events posted by the WHO.
Is There A Cure Or Vaccine?
So far, there is no COVID-19 vaccine for prevention. Labs all around the world are working day and night for its production. It’s unlikely that a vaccine will be developed before 2021.
There is also no cure or specific treatment.
As with common cold and flu viruses, symptomatic treatment reduces any discomfort.
Should We Panic?
Coronavirus infections are common, with most people contracting at least one infection within their lifetime.
New research on COVID-19 shows that 80% of patients have a mild form of the disease and will recover. In about 14% of cases, the virus causes severe diseases i.e. pneumonia and shortness of breath. 5% of patients have critical diseases including respiratory failure and only 2% of reported cases have been fatal.
The bottom line is to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are showing flu-like symptoms and have been traveling abroad.
So Now What?
For now, we must abide by the rules and travel restrictions.
A lot of us are wondering if the travel and tourism industry will ever be the same again. No one really knows the answers to that for sure.
The best we can do is stay indoors, wash our hands and dream of future travel adventures, should they be possible.
If you get a chance, read our article on Travel Fatigue- something COVID-19 brought to our attention.