Coronavirus (Covid-19): A Pandemic With Severe Devastating Effects

July 27, 2021

Covid- 19 is among the deadliest pandemics the world has ever experienced. The pandemic shook the national health systems globally and has cost thousands of human lives. The outbreak that scientists had predicted was bound to happen due to spillover from animals to humans. This pandemic has impacted negatively on the economic and social activities globally. The global health crisis attacked everyone at its core and has affected all population segments globally. Every person and country has felt the impact of this pandemic that does not discriminate against anybody regardless of their age, social-economic status, or education level. This article addresses the origin of the deadly virus, the disease symptoms, and signs and how to manage and treat these symptoms.

Origin

Scientists had warned against the emergence of coronavirus since 2007. Researchers had warned about the potential for bat–to–human transmission of a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) by a coronavirus. Human beings were intensively interacting with coronavirus-infected bats. Additionally, scientists had detected the possibility to transmit the virus directly and infect human beings. Studies had shown that the virus could infect and cause disease in laboratory humanized mice. The new strain of coronavirus, SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), was first transmitted from bats to humans in China and reports of the first cases were heard in December 2019 in Wuhan. It is still unclear how the virus spread from the bats to humans, but the disease has spread through person-to-person contact. Infected people, with or without symptoms, may emit aerosols when they breathe or talk. The aerosols can float in the air for up to three hours, and people who breathe in the particles may get infected. Transmission can also happen when a person is in close contact with an infected person, and the droplets find their way to their body through the mouth, eyes, and nose. It can happen when a healthy person comes into contact with droplets from a sick person. The virus may invade the body through the nose, mouth, or eyes.

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period once a person is infected with this virus is around five to six days. However, studies have shown that these signs might take longer, up to thirteen days, or appear within three days. For the past year, the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus disease continue to get longer. During the initial days when the disease was reported, cough, headache, shortness of breath, fever, loss of smell, taste, rashes, and muscle aches were the most common symptoms. Viral infections can make people lose their sense of smell. This is why covid-19 patients lose their sense of smell because a virus causes the disease. As time goes on, a list of other signs and symptoms has been associated with the deadly virus. Pneumonia has been a common disease that results from covid -19 patients experiencing severe cough, high fever, and shortness of breath. Some people will show respiratory symptoms while others will not.

Additionally, people with covid 19 can experience gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms. The disease affects brain function in some patients where they manifest various symptoms such as numbness in the hands, muscle weakness, and dizziness. This is because the virus spreads to other non-respiratory sites such as the brain. Many patients have been reported to have cases of cerebral hemorrhage complications. However, there is no enough research to support this. Other patients might show become confused, develop seizures and delirium, and others stroke. The gastrointestinal symptoms associated with this disease include loss of appetite and diarrhea. The infection might harm the digestive tract and liver tissue that plays a vital role in digestion; most covid 19 patients may have belly pains and gastrointestinal bleeding. Some patients will experience acid reflux, belching, indigestion, or inflammation of the intestines in rare cases. In other cases, the disease might destroy the bowel tissues, and patients experience problems with their bowel movements. The virus has been detected in stool, hence maintaining high hygiene every time a person visits the washroom.

Covid 19 strikes people differently, and the symptoms usually depend on the patient. Some patients are asymptomatic and would not show symptoms at all, while others will manifest mild symptoms and others severe ones. Some people who might seem healthy and young might get very sick and even die from the disease, while others seem unhealthy and old sail through without a single symptom. Studies have shown that people who get very severe with covid 19 do not have enough interferon response. Most people have genetic mutations that prevent their body from producing enough interferons, while others might have their antibodies mistakenly attacking and neutralizing the interferons. Interferons play a vital role in innate immunity. They quickly signal the neighboring cells to guard themselves against invasion and signal the adaptive immune system in the body to develop a specific long-term antibody response.

Management and Treatment

Clinicians conduct covid-19 tests based on the signs and symptoms a patient presents. Sometimes the tests can be random and other times, they can be performed because a person contacted someone diagnosed with the disease. Healthcare professionals test samples from a person’s saliva, throat swab, or nasopharyngeal swab. Disease treatment and management should commence immediately after the test results come out positive. There are three different clinical conditions of the covid-19 disease. They include mild, moderate, and severe. Asymptomatic people or those that experience mild symptoms of the disease can manage and treat it at home. People who experience various symptoms such as a continuous cough, fever, sore throat, and aches should immediately isolate themselves and start looking after themselves. As long as they feel that the symptoms are manageable, they do not need medical attention. The symptoms can be managed by drinking water, getting enough rest, and buying over-the-counter medicine to treat various symptoms such as coughing and headache. If the symptoms do not improve or worsen within seven days, a patient should seek medical attention.

Patients with moderate symptoms need close monitoring, and if need be, some might be hospitalized. Patients with moderate symptoms might experience pneumonia, although not a severe one. They might be treated in an outpatient, primary care, or and emergency department. Close monitoring and treatment might be done at the hospital or home. Isolation of such patients remains a crucial practice; then, offer supportive care and the proper treatment depending on the clinical presentation. Any area where a patient with severe covid 19 symptoms is cared for should be equipped with oxygen delivering interfaces, functioning oxygen systems, and pulse oximeters. Patients with emergency signs such as absent or obstructed breathing, shock, and convulsions should receive oxygen therapy and emergency airway management. Positioning techniques such as high, supported sitting can help to reduce energy expenditure, ease breathlessness and optimize oxygenation. They should be given advanced ventilator/oxygen support.

Although the disease has no cure, medication can be given to treat the symptoms. Antiviral drugs such as antibody-based treatments and Remdesivir (Veklury)are usually more effective during the initial stages, before or after the onset of the symptoms. At later stages, the disease develops more clinical complications due to coagulopathy and hyperinflammatory syndrome. During this state, anticoagulants, immunomodulators, and anti-inflammatory might be more effective than antiviral medication. Scientists around the world have also developed vaccines for this new coronavirus. A few have been approved, including the AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccines are effective in keeping people from spreading or getting the virus. The vaccines also help to keep people from getting seriously ill when they get infected with the virus. Getting vaccinated helps people to protect those around them and especially those at a higher risk of developing severe or critical symptoms.

Overall, as scientists work on rolling out vaccines and developing drugs to treat covid-19, it is crucial to protect oneself and others from this deadly disease. People must stay safe by keeping simple precautions such as avoiding crowds, wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and observing hygiene such as cleaning hands with soap and running water. In addition, people should know the full range of covid 19 symptoms, remain home and isolate if they have mild symptoms, seek medical attention when the symptoms become more severe, and stay updated with the current information from reliable sources.

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