What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a type of virus. The shape of this particular virus resembles a crown. This virus is known to affect humans, animals and birds. The virus is a contagious one and spreads in the same manner as the common cold or the seasonal flu.
How does the COVID-19 spread?
The COVID-19 virus can spread in the following manner –
- Through the droplets that an infected person expels when he/she coughs or sneezes
- Direct contact with an infected person
- Touching a surface such as doorknobs, handrails, etc. that an infected person has touched
The signs of COVID-19 virus are similar to that of the flu. You will experience breathing difficulties, high fever and bouts of cough.The problem arises when this infection spreads to the lower part of the respiratory system. This is when it may lead to pneumonia and turn fatal. The elderly are especially vulnerable to this virus. According to the statistics, most of the fatalities have been the elderly. This is the case because the elderly tend to have weak immunity in comparison to other age groups.
Another group that is vulnerable to COVID-19 is people with co-morbidities. It includes people who have illnesses like hypertension, high blood pressure, kidney problems, etc. If you think you have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, then it is best to go to your nearest clinic and get tested. A throat and swab test will be conducted to determine if you have been infected.
Can COVID-19 be treated?
As of now, the disease is being treated with a mix of anti-viral medications. There are no vaccines to prevent this disease but serious efforts are being made to create a vaccine at the earliest.
COVID-19 and India
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on the 30th of January, 2020. The case was reported in Kerala. It was a student who returned from Wuhan (the epicentre of the outbreak), China. The outbreak in India accelerated in March. From less than 100 cases at the beginning of March, the case count in India has gradually increased. The majority of the cases in India were foreign returnees, especially from the Middle East, Europe and China. Current COVID-19 status in India
Steps the government has taken
The government of India announced a nationwide lockdown on 24th March. It has been implemented nationwide to prevent community transmission. Lockdowns are a tool that governments across the world have turned to as a last measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Countries like China, Italy and Spain have enforced strict lockdown measures in their countries and to an extent have slowed down the spread of COVID-19.
In the lockdown, all state borders have been closed to restrict the movement of people. Only the movement of essential goods such as medicines, food supplies and other healthcare equipment is allowed. Similarly, there is a complete halt to both rail and air traffic. The government has also started developing COVID-19 hospitals to cater to the growing need for providing separate health care units for COVID-19 patients. Entrepreneurs and businesses have been encouraged to boost the manufacture of COVID-19 test kits, masks and ventilators to support the healthcare sector. Simultaneously, the union government and various state governments have also issued health advisories in public interest to spread awareness about this disease. These advisories include steps every citizen should take to prevent any virus transmission.
What can we do to help the government at this hour?
As responsible citizens of this country, we should ensure that all of us strictly adhere to the guidelines issued by the government.
Government advisory on COVID-19 prevention are as follows:
- Washing of hands regularly with soap and water. In the absence of soap, one can use an alcohol-based sanitizer to clean their hands.
- Practice social distancing at all times. This is necessary to break the chain of transmission.
- Avoid being near people who are sick.
- Stay in home quarantine if you suspect that you have come in contact with an infected individual.
- Don’t step out of your home unless absolutely necessary.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Maintain strict hygiene standards.
The government has created a fund to raise money to deal with the after-effects of the pandemic. Many businesses and individuals have come forward to donate massive sums of money to help those in need. At this hour, we too can make contributions to help those in need. Thus, we can practice social distancing to prevent ourselves from contracting the infection. In case of emergency, only one person should step out of the house. Since, the virus spreads very easily, staying at home is the best thing we can do right now.
If it is necessary for someone to step out, take the necessary precautions before doing so. Carry a sanitizer if possible and wear a mask.This is a time when we have to stand up and take responsibility as a citizen so that we can tide over the COVID-19 crisis without much trouble.