There are a number of ‘corona’ viruses that have affected humans over recent years. All come from the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) family of viruses. Some may remember the ‘SARS’ virus from a few years ago which also originated in China and MERS which originated in the Arabian Peninsula. This current virus strain is officially called SARS-Corona Virus-2, or SARS-COVID-2. This has been abbreviated to COVID-19 (as it was first identified in 2019).
The challenge presented by Covid19 is that it typically has an incubation period (the time from when you catch the virus until you show some symptoms and realize you have it) of 3-7 days, although it may extend as far as 14 days. During this period you may not realize you have the virus and can infect other people.
While the virus has a (relatively) low fatality rate and most likely will not prove serious in most healthy adults, if you unknowingly infect small children, the elderly or those with a weak immune system or respiratory illness, the risk becomes severe. Therefore, taking precautions to prevent the spread to the world’s most vulnerable requires serious effort.
Currently, there is NO cure or vaccination available for COVID-19, and the effort to produce one will likely take up to two years.
Prevention is based around limiting contact between people who may be carriers and those who are not. The virus is believed to be passed only through mucus membranes (eyes, nose, mouth). Typically touching someone who is infected, or being sneezed/coughed on and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
The challenge is that many of those infected will not realize they carry the virus and may never show any symptoms. This is why many countries and organizations are taking measures to limit person-to-person contact.
This can include:
It is also strongly advisable that if you are beginning to feel cold/flu-like symptoms get medical assistance immediately.