How to Protect Yourself from the CoronaVirus?
What is COVID-19?
On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, China. ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of what we now know as ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ (COVID-19). Since then, the virus has spread to more than 100 countries, including South Africa.
Shortness of breath
There is no need to panic – 82% of COVID-19 cases are mild: patients only experience a slight fever, fatigue and a cough.
Only about 6% of patients need intensive care. The vast majority of people can stay at home and get better without hospital treatment.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Who is most at risk?
Currently, travellers to areas where there is ongoing sustained transmission of COVID-19 including Mainland China (all provinces), Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy and the Islamic Republic of Iran are at greatest risk of infection.
Furthermore, the elderly, individuals with co-morbidities and healthcare workers have been found to be at a higher risk of death.
How is it transmitted?
The spread of the disease is thought to happen mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Thus far, the majority of cases have occurred in people with close physical contact to cases and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.
What are the symptoms and how to protect yourself?
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever.
The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.