COVID-19 is a form of coronavirus that was first discovered in November 2019. This strand of coronavirus causes respiratory tract infections in humans and can be fatal for many if not identified and treated immediately. COVID-19 has proved to be difficult to contain with many countries having to go into full lockdown.
In this article we will be looking at some of the reasons why health experts have been finding it difficult to eliminate this virus. As of right now there is still very little we know about this virus but here are some explanations of why COVID-19 has not been contained in many countries.
- Incubation Period
This is the time between when a patient is first infected with the virus and when they first show symptoms. For COVID-19 the incubation period identified by CDC is 2-14 days however there are reports of cases that have exceeded this. As the infected individual is not aware that they have become infected they will continue to do their day-to-day activities such as going to office, meeting friends, visiting public places, etc. This will lead to many more getting infected and spread the disease in the same way.
COVID-19 is very contagious and there are several instances of how it can be spread. The virus is transmitted through droplets that are produced when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.
If you are standing within 1 meter of someone who has COVID-19 you can be infected by breathing in droplets that they have exhaled. This is prevalent in public places such as concerts halls, public transportation or conferences where everyone is closely packed together.
Once the infected person breathes out, the droplets will gradually fall and settle on surrounding surfaces. The virus can survive on these surfaces for several hours. For this to spread, someone would have had to touch the contaminated surface and then touched their mouth, nose or eyes for it to be able to enter our body.
- No cure or vaccine
As of 1st May there is no proven cure or vaccine. This means that patients who are infected will continue to be sick and infect everyone they are in contact with. People who are not sick will be vulnerable to being infected with the virus. The patients that have recovered will may also been at risk to get infected again, there has been some reports of recovered patients getting coronavirus for the 2nd time.
- Common cold symptoms
The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. As these are the same symptoms of a common cold it is difficult to distinguish the two. This makes it difficult for the subject to know if they are infected and need to take precautions such as social distancing. Many people who become infected will assume they have the common cold and continue with their day to day activities thereby infecting many more.
- Test Kit Availability
With the increase in COVID-19 test kits available and with health professionals promoting awareness regarding this danger is now minimised. Anyone who shows symptoms of fever, tiredness or dry cough are urged to self-isolate for 14 days and if symptoms persist, they can now get tested for COVID-19. This was not the case during the first 3 months of this outbreak where test kits did not exist or were not readily available.
This post was last updated on 1st May 2020 and may not reflect advances since.