Coronaviruses typically affect the respiratory tracts of birds and mammals, including humans. Doctors associate them with the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and coronavirus disease 2019. They can also affect the gut. coronavirus symptoms transmission death
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face. coronavirus symptoms and coronavirus transmission
In this article, we explain the different types of human coronavirus, their symptoms, and how people transmit them. We also focus on three particularly dangerous diseases that have spread due to coronaviruses: COVID-19, SARS, and MERS.
Researchers first isolated a coronavirus in 1937. They found a coronavirus responsible for an infectious bronchitis virus in birds that had the potential to devastate poultry stocks.
Scientists first found evidence of human coronaviruses in the 1960s, in the noses of people with the common cold. Common human coronaviruses include 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1.
The name “coronavirus” comes from the crown-like projections on their surfaces. “Corona” in Latin means “halo” or “crown.”
Among humans, coronavirus infections most often occur during the winter months and early spring.coronavirus symptoms and coronavirus transmission
In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started monitoring the outbreak of a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Authorities first identified the virus in Wuhan, China.
As of April 22, 2020, over 2.5 million people have contracted the virus worldwide, and it has caused over 170,000 deaths.
In the United States alone, the virus has affected over 800,000 people, resulting in more than 45,000 deaths.
The first people with COVID-19 had links to an animal and seafood market. This suggested that animals initially transmitted the virus to humans. However, people with a more recent diagnosis had no connections with or exposure to the market, confirming that humans can pass the virus to each other. coronavirus symptoms and coronavirus transmission
In the past, people have spread respiratory conditions that develop from coronaviruses through close physical contact.
On February 17, 2020, the director general of the WHO presented at a media briefing the following updates on how often the symptoms of COVID-19 are severe or fatal, using data from 44,000 people with a confirmed diagnosis: coronavirus symptoms and coronavirus transmission
|Stage of severity||Rough percentage of people with COVID-19|
|Mild disease from which a person can recover||More than 80%|
|Severe disease, causing breathlessness and pneumonia||Around 14%|
|Critical disease, including septic shock, respiratory failure, and the failure of more than one organ||About 5%|
The WHO report that the two groups most at risk of experiencing severe illness due to a SARS-CoV-2 infection are older adults and people who have other health conditions that compromise their immune system. coronavirus symptoms transmission death
According to the CDC, children are not at higher risk of COVID-19 than adults.
Although there are currently no published scientific reports about the susceptibility of pregnant women, the CDC note that:
“Pregnant [women] have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections.”
Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms vary from person to person with COVID-19. It may produce few or no symptoms, but it can also lead to severe illness and may be fatal.
Common symptoms include:
- a fever
- a cough
- a potential loss of taste or smell
It may take 2–14 days for a person to notice symptoms after infection with the virus.
No vaccine is currently available for COVID-19. However, scientists have now replicated the virus. This could allow for early detection and treatment in people who have the virus but are not yet showing symptoms.
According to the CDC, the following groups have a higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19: coronavirus symptoms transmission death
- people aged 65 years or older
- people living in a nursing home or care facility
- people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, including chronic lung disease, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, a compromised immune system, or diabetes
The CDC advise that although there have been reports of complications in young children, these are rare. COVID-19 most commonly produces mild symptoms in children.
Unlike rhinovirus — which is another cause of the common cold — scientists cannot easily cultivate human coronaviruses in the laboratory. This makes it difficult to gauge the impact of the coronavirus on national economies and public health.
There is currently no cure for coronaviruses that cause symptoms resembling the common cold. Treatments include self-care and over-the-counter medication. People can take the following steps:
- resting and avoiding overexertion
- drinking plenty of water
- avoiding smoking and smoky areas
- taking acetaminophen for pain and fever
- using a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
A doctor can diagnose the virus responsible by taking a sample of respiratory fluids, such as blood or mucus from the nose.
Coronaviruses belong to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae.
Different types of human coronavirus vary in how severe the resulting disease becomes and how far they can spread. coronavirus symptoms transmission death
Doctors currently recognize seven types of coronavirus that can infect humans.
Common types include:
- 229E (alpha coronavirus)
- NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
- HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
Rarer strains that cause more severe complications include MERS-CoV, which causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and SARS-CoV, the virus responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The CDC recommend that all people wear cloth face masks in public places where it is difficult to maintain a 6-foot (2-meter) distance from others. This will help slow the spread of the virus from asymptomatic people and people who do not know that they have contracted it. People should wear cloth face masks while continuing to practice physical distancing. Instructions for making masks at home are available here. Note: It is critical that surgical masks and N95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers.
Researchers believe that the viruses transmission via fluids in the respiratory system, such as mucus.
For example, coronaviruses can spread in the following ways:
- Coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth can disperse droplets into the air.
- Touching or shaking hands with a person who has the virus can pass it between individuals.
- Making contact with a surface or object that has the virus and then touching the nose, eyes, or mouth can spread it.
- Some animal coronaviruses, such as feline coronavirus, may spread through contact with feces. However, it is unclear whether or not this also applies to human coronaviruses. coronavirus symptoms transmission death
SARS is a contagious disease that develops after infection with the SARS-CoV coronavirus. It can lead to a life threatening form of pneumonia.
During November 2002, the virus started in the Guangdong Province in southern China, eventually reaching Hong Kong. From there, it rapidly spread around the world, causing infections in more than 24 countries.
SARS-CoV can infect both the upper and lower respiratory tracts.
The symptoms of SARS develop over the course of a week and start with a fever. Early on in the disease, people develop flu-like symptoms, such as:
- dry coughing
Pneumonia, a severe lung infection, usually develops. At its most advanced stage, SARS causes failure of the lungs, heart, or liver.
According to the CDC, authorities marked 8,098 people as having contracted SARS during its outbreak. Of these, 774 infections were fatal. This equates to a mortality rate of 9.6%.
Complications are more likely in older adults. According to one source, over half of those who died from the infection were over the age of 65. Authorities eventually controlled SARS in July 2003.