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What is COVID-19?COVID-19, an infectious disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). It belongs to a large family of coronaviruses, which cause infectious illnesses, such as SARS—the last outbreak of which occurred in 2003 and MERS, which caused an epidemic back in 2012 and 2018.
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?The most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 are: dry cough Tiredness Fever But other symptoms are: runny nose nasal congestion sore throat aches and pains. And some of the less common symptoms are: Headache Body pain Chills Stomach pain Diarrhea Vomiting Symptoms are often mild and begin gradually. And those with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention as soon as possible. In more severe cases, COVID-19 can cause shortness of breath or even organ failure. A growing but a limited pool of studies suggests emerging symptoms, such as losing one’s sense of smell or taste or developing a “pink eye” or rash, but further analyses are needed to cement these findings.
How is COVID-19 Transmitted?COVID-19 is transmitted through airborne droplets. This means that virus particles are expelled through mucus or saliva. Theories vary as to how far COVID-19 droplets can actually travel. Some say COVID-19 particles can remain airborne for three hours, particularly in hospital settings. Some recent studies are looking into the possibility that it can travel up to 13 feet from the original source.
Is COVID-19 Airborne?But according to recent research, COVID-19 particles are too heavy to remain suspended in air, emphasizes the World Health Organization (WHO). And they fall to the ground or nearby surfaces quickly. But the WHO did, however, clarify that “airborne transmission” is possible in certain settings and circumstances, such as hospitals, where procedures that generate aerosols are performed. Examples of these are open suctioning of the airway, intubation, nebulization, or bronchoscopy.
How long can COVID-19 droplets remain on surfaces?Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have analyzed coronaviruses in general. This may provide helpful hints as to how long COVID-19 droplets can really remain on surfaces. Research has found that coronaviruses can remain on metal surfaces for 5 days, on wooden surfaces for 4 days, plastic for 2 to 3 days, and stainless steel surfaces for 2 to 3 days. Other studies have even found that coronaviruses can remain on cardboard boxes for 24 hours.
Who is Most at Risk for COVID-19?When the first few cases began to emerge, it mostly affected the elderly---aged 60 and above---or those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. But as the number of cases surged, it became increasingly apparent that even those under the age of 60 are also at risk.
How can we prevent COVID-19?In line with public advice given by the World Health Organization (WHO), preventive measures in the Philippines involve practicing hand and respiratory hygiene, avoiding touching the face, social distancing, disinfecting the environment, and seeking medical care if you experience COVID-19 signs and symptoms. Aside from these preventive tips, we can also help minimize the spread of COVID-19 by boosting immunity through a nutritious, balanced diet, exercise, and adequate sleep.
When will the cure or vaccine be available?Without proper social distancing and quarantine measures, experts predict a surge in cases. As of this writing, several clinical trials seeking to find a cure or vaccine for COVID-19 are in progress across the world. 70 vaccines are now under development across the world, according to the WHO. Though it takes 10 to 15 years for a vaccine to be developed and safely introduced to the market, research scientists are hoping to release a COVID-19 vaccine within next year. There are also treatments that have proven effective in managing COVID-19 symptoms. Some studies have found that blood plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 can help severe COVID-19 patients battle the disease through convalescent plasma therapy.