by 11th Grade Biology class under Ms. Veronika Garga
What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from a common cold to severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The corona virus we are facing today is globally known as the “Wuhan Corona Virus” because of its place of origin, however, it is better to know it as a novel corona virus, which is simply a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans, this corona virus belongs to a category of viruses that we have come across already.
This virus was assumed to originate from a marketplace in China, as a result of the poor health and maintenance conditions in the marketplace. Coronaviruses are zoonotic meaning they’re transmitted between animals and people. It is not as lethal as the media explains it to be, so we do not need to panic however that does not mean we shouldn’t be prepared and aware to make sure we do not get it as there is still no cure. Symptoms of infection include fever, cough and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and severe acute respiratory symptoms. However, if you have any of these symptoms, do not get too alarmed because it’s currently flu season in the Philippines and many people have the common cold. If you are sick, there is a higher chance that it is something else other than the coronavirus. Multiple countries are working towards the finding the cure and take precautions to stop the virus from spreading any further.
How Does The nCoV Infect People and Who is Particularly at Risk? (CDC, 2020)
The new, Novel Coronavirus (Novel: Hasn’t been seen before; new) that originated in Wuhan, China, has caused mass hysteria and wide-spread fear in today’s population, but this is all valid due to the severity of the issue. Despite being such a controversial virus, saturated by false and correct information, it is hard to determine which information is false, and which is the latter. The nCoV is not as prominent in the Philippines as it is in other nations effected, but that DOES NOT mean we should not be taking precautions such as stocking up on food or groceries that have a long shelf-life, as well as facemasks. The most efficient facemasks to use are N, P, or R 95-100, but if people can’t find stock of any of the former mentioned facemasks, any facemask accessible, is better than nothing.
The nCoV spreads through any bodily fluids that enter one’s body, that come from an infected individual (Coronavirus | About | Transmission | CDC, 7th Feb 2020). Although symptoms don’t show straight away, there is an incubation period of 2-10 days, whereby people may be infected by the virus but are what is known as ‘asymptomatic’. It is best to keep distance from most people, and always remember to bring rubbing alcohol, as well as one of the aforementioned facemasks.
People who are immunocompromised, elderly, or very young, are most at risk of both being infected by, and suffering the worst effects that this virus may bring. A person who is immunocompromised is someone who has had or does have any existing health issues, specifically those of respiratory or immune system. The best defense against this virus, and for us and everyone to win the battle against this virus, is to stay healthy, maintain a well-balanced diet, filled with all essential nutrients, vitamins, etc. Be sure to drink LOTS of fluids, and never go around with a dry throat, meaning always bring around a bottle of water. Take care, keep others safe, and take the precautions.
Common Misconceptions about the Novel Corona Virus (NCoV)
· Many people often freak out over the extreme effects of the Novel Corona Virus. Although the viruses deadly, like any virus, people with ‘compromised’ immune systems and elderly people or infants are vulnerable. This means that if you have a healthy immune system, you should not be affected by it. (Myth Busters, 2019)
· Many think that if they are infected, they should immediately go to the hospital for treatment. A lot of health professionals advise that you stay at home for at least 10-14 days (incubation period). It is not as urgent as most people believe. However, those who are infected must call any nearby hospital and inform them about their symptoms. Eventually, medical advice given must be followed. (Symptoms, 2020)
· The official name of this virus is the “Wuhan Novel Corona Virus”. The misconception is that the virus is simply known as the “Corona Virus” and that vaccines against Pneumonia can protect you from it. This is not the case. In addition, it is in fact a Corona Virus; however, this term is used to describe viruses that attack/target the respiratory system (E.g. Common Flu, Pneumonia, etc.) - (Myth Busters, 2019)
Safety Measures (Dr, 2020)
1. The best way of approaching the novel corona virus is to “be alert, not anxious”.
2. Wash your hand frequently throughout the day with either soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
3. Avoid touching your face specifically your mucus membranes (this includes your eyes, nose and mouth).
4. Cover your Coughs/sneezes with a tissue or arm.
5. Clean common areas such as community desks or door handles.
6. Avoid contact with others who are sick specifically 2 meters apart.
7. If sick, stay home to avoid the possibility of spreading anything, decreasing the viral load.
8. The CDC recommends not to wear masks due to the possibility of spreading the viral load, but it could be somewhat beneficial.
9. The recommended mask is N-95
Death/infected toll and time of incubation:
The Coronavirus appeared on 31 December 2019 has now resulted in approximately 28 276 cases world (determined by PCR tests (Polymerase, 2020) and there is a total of approximately 564 deaths, leading to a 2.0% fatality rate as of February 7. (Australian, 2020)
However, in China alone, more than 892 cases were cured, and the patients discharged according to National health commission of the people’s republic of China. (截至2 2020, as of February 4) Even though there is no viable cure yet.
The disease has a relatively high transability rate. It is indicated to have a reproductive number of 1.4-2.3 (reproductive number is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person) this is close in comparison to SARS that had a value of 2.0 and the common flu with a rate of 1.3. (Worldometer—Real time world statistics, 2020)
The symptoms start to appear about 5 or 6 days after a person is exposed but can range from 2 to 14 days the same time period a person is incubated for approximately, even though there is no medicine or vaccine produced for the disease. It is being worked on at a rapid pace. According to CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) (Li, et al., 2020)
Corona in the Philippines:
As of February 7th, there are a confirmed 2 cases in NCR and 1 in Visayas, of which 2 have been discharged (cured), and 1 has died. 57 have tested negatively and 215 still pending. According to Republic of the Philippines Department of health (DOH, 2020)
It is important to know that if anyone has symptoms to go to an either a level 2 or 3 hospital, these are the only hospitals which can deal with the virus because the only solution known for now is to isolate the contaminated people.
· List of Accredited Level 2 Hospital as of October 31, 2019 in the Philippines: https://www.philhealth.gov.ph/partners/providers/institutional/accredited/L2hospitals_10312019.pdf (February 7)
· List of PhilHealth Accredited Level 3 Hospital as of October 31, 2019 in the Philippines: https://www.philhealth.gov.ph/partners/providers/institutional/accredited/L3hospitals_10312019.pdf (February 7)
Be aware that if a person that is potentially contaminated goes to a hospital less then 2 or 3 there is a chance of increasing spread instead of decreasing it.
For updates in the Philippines:
This resource provides daily updates on the virus in the Philippines
https://www.doh.gov.ph/doh-press-release/doh-updates-the-public-on-the-2019-nCoV-ARD-health-event (Feb. 5th, 2020, frequent updates)
截至2月4日24时新型冠状病毒感染的肺炎疫情最新情况. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2020, from http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/yqtb/202002/17a03704a99646ffad6807bc806f37a4.shtml
Australian Government Department of Health. (2020, March 1). Coronavirus (COVID-19). Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
CDC. (2020, February 11). 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Department of Health website. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2020, from https://www.doh.gov.ph/2019-nCov
DOH REVEALS MORE NEGATIVE 2019-NCOV CASES; CONFIRMS FIRST NCOV ARD DEATH IN PH | Department of Health website. (2020). Retrieved February 13, 2020, from https://www.doh.gov.ph/press-release/DOH-reveals-more-negative-2019-nCoV-cases-confirms-first-nCoV-ARD-death-in-PH
Li, Q., Fauci, A. S., Guan, Gates, B., Fauci, A. S., & Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, February 28). Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia: NEJM. Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2001316
“Myth Busters.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters. Retrieved Feb 7th2020
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (article). (n.d.). Khan Academy. Retrieved February 13, 2020, from https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/biotech-dna-technology/dna-sequencing-pcr-electrophoresis/a/polymerase-chain-reaction-pcr
“Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (2019-NCoV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Jan. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
Dr, M. (2020, January 29). The Truth About The Coronavirus - YouTube. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI90iqFqLXs
Real time world statistics. (2020). Retrieved March 5th, 2020, from https://www.worldometers.info/