A QUICK GUIDE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Origin, symptoms and impact
The Covid-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm during the last few months. With over 300,000 deaths worldwide and large economies crumbling down, there is hardly a person today whose life hasn’t been affected by the pandemic in one way or the other. At Newshour, we bring you a comprehensive guide to the Covid-19 pandemic which covers all that you need to know. Take a look:
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. These include some viruses that cause the common cold as well as some that cause major diseases such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Origin of novel coronavirus
The coronavirus outbreak originated in China, and came to light on December 31, 2019. China reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) that a cluster of pneumonia of unknown origin had been found in Wuhan City. Later, on January 9, 2020, the WHO issued a statement regarding the emergence of a novel coronavirus.
Global health emergency
Due to the rapidly increasing number of patients in China as well as in other parts of the world, WHO declared coronavirus to be a global health emergency on January 31, 2020. Speaking on the deadly virus, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the world must “wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one.”
China’s chief medical advisor on Coronavirus and a prominent epidemiologist, Zhong Nanshan said, “I hope this outbreak or this event may be over in something like April.” He also claimed that although the number of new cases has been falling in some of the provinces, February would be the peak of the epidemic.
Nomenclature of the disease
The coronavirus pandemic was given the name Covid-19 by WHO. ‘Co’ stands for corona, ‘vi’ stands for virus, ‘d’ stands for disease, and ‘19’ stands for the year in which the outbreak took place in China – 2019.
Symptoms of Covid-19
The primary symptoms of Covid-19 were identified as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, as research progressed, some new symptoms were also identified. These include aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.
Prevention from Covid-19
So far, the only effective ways to prevent Covid-19 have been social distancing, washing hands with soap and water at regular intervals, wearing protective gear such as gloves and masks, and avoiding touching one’s face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. In order to ensure social distancing, several nations across the globe, including India, have declared a complete lockdown.
Cure for Covid-19
Till date, there is no definite cure for Covid-19. Once the virus enters the body and attaches itself to the cells, it stays active for a period of two to six weeks, depending upon the severity. Scientists and researchers across the globe are working on formulating vaccines and medication for the disease.
In order to treat the afflicted people, several drugmakers are also working on antiviral drugs, some of which are already used in the treatment of other diseases. Anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, as well as an anti-viral drug remdesivir, have helped doctors stabilize some Covid-19 patients.
Some vaccine companies are also working on preventive vaccines for Covid-19. While some formulations have reached human trial stage, the extent of their efficacy against the novel coronavirus is yet to be determined.
Impact upon healthcare system
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought more attention towards the cracks and crevices that existed in the healthcare systems of several nations in the world. In India, the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the shortage of medical equipment, particularly life-saving machines such as ventilators.
Shortage of hospital beds, inadequate connectivity to healthcare centres, and limited medical workforce amid a 1.3 billion-strong country that’s struggling from a pandemic – the situation is a dangerous concoction itself. The healthcare system in India is strained, surviving only because of the decreased inflow of non-Covid patients due to the lockdown.
Impact upon education
Covid-19 pandemic has led to the closure of educational institutions worldwide. Due to lockdown in India, no schools, colleges, polytechnics, and coaching centres have been allowed to open until the lockdown lifts. Examinations of Class 10 and Class 12 students have been rescheduled, while most students of Classes 1 to 9 and Class 11 have been promoted to the next class without examinations.
Impact upon economy
Along with the threat to human life, the virus is also squeezing the gigantic economies of first-world nations and developing countries alike. A significant number of corporates have been unable to get back to their businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Many economists believe that the outbreak has already started to break the backbone of some of the largest economies of the world.
In India, the government has declared a stimulus package worth Rs. 20 lakh crore in a bid to boost the staggering economy. Amounting roughly as 10 per cent of the country’s GDP, the package covers almost every sector, and is expected to benefit a large number of people, especially women, MSMEs and farmers.
India’s response to the pandemic
India responded quickly to the outbreak, along with preparing the necessary infrastructure for Coronavirus. The Indian government hurriedly evacuated over 600 Indians from Wuhan City, the epicentre of Covid-19 outbreak. The government also evacuated its citizens from several other parts of the world.
At home, the Indian government stated that it is monitoring and reviewing the situation on a daily basis. Officers at airports, ports and at border crossings have been trained on the management of coronavirus. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) was also announced to track and follow up passengers coming from China, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Since March 25, 2020, India has been under a nationwide lockdown in order to curb the spread of the virus and enforce social distancing. Districts have been divided into red, orange and green zones, depending upon the emergence of Covid-19 cases. The zones have been allowed different levels of relaxation in the lockdown norms.