Coronavirus, or COVID-19 refers to a large group of viruses that includes the common cold. It also includes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), virus outbreaks that have previously gained global notoriety. COVID-19 is the name of a novel (new) coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China at the end of December 2019. It is believed the virus was generated at a seafood and poultry market.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and humans. Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe respiratory difficulties, kidney failure and death.
COVID-19 spreads from one host to another via droplets from the mouth or nose, from coughing or sneezing. Transmission can occur if these droplets come in contact with a surface, and an individual then touches their eyes, mouth or nose. The virus may also be communicated through inhalation of droplets from infected people. This concern has introduced the implementation of social distancing rules. The incubation period of the virus (the time between infection and symptoms showing), lasts up to 14 days, according to the WHO. The majority of patients infected with COVID-19 have had mild symptoms including a sore throat, cough and fever and have gone on to make a full recovery. In March of 2020 the WHO announced that the mortality rate for COVID-19 was 3.4 per cent. WHO communicated that the virus is deadlier than the flu but does not transmit as easily.
Currently there is no specific treatment for the virus. In April of 2020 it was reported that an antiviral drug called Remdesivir had proved effective against the coronavirus in a major study, reducing recovery time by four days on average. Development of a vaccine is underway. Human trials have begun as of March 2020 in multiple nations. At the beginning of May, it was estimated that between eight and 11 vaccine candidates were in the early stages of testing in China, the US, Britain and Germany.
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