The COVID-19 pandemic
On March 2020, WHO (World Health Organization) defined COVID-19 as pandemic. This term describes an epidemic illness that has spread on a global scale. The first case notification was from Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. Since then, it was confirmed that new COVID-19 cases were expanding from the Asian continent to Europe. On Feb 2020 was recorded the first case on Italy. The country was the stage of one of the biggest outbreaks. The short time span observed between the infection and death startled health organizations all over the world. Brazil’s first confirmed case was a 61 years old male that had arrived from Italy in the end of February 2020.
Cornavirus is the name of a virus family that causes respiratory tract infections in animals and humans alike. The novel coronavirus outbreak agent (SARS-CoV-2) was discovered on December 31, 2019 after China reports of a new disease spreading: The COVID-19.
The first human coronavirus were isolated on 1937. However only in 1965 the virus was described with this name on account of its crown-like microscopic profile. Throughout their lives, people, especially children, are commonly infected by other mild coronaviruses such as Alpha coronaviruses 229E0 and NL63, and Beta coronaviruses OC43, and HKU1.
The SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), responsible for the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) can cause symptoms similar to other respiratory diseases. These symptoms are: fever, cough, coryza, and in some acute cases, the patient might present body pain, severe shortness of breath, and sore throat. The symptoms usually vary according to each patient. However, people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma and bronchitis, diabetes and heart problems may present more severe symptoms. There are also asymptomatic patients, i.e. people who do not present any symptom. Nevertheless, even asymptomatic patients must maintain social distancing since they are also potential disease transmitters.
In the current scenario, institutions and official health related organizations such as the WHO and the Brazilian Health Ministry are highly recommending social distancing. Furthermore, people who had contact with any COVID-19 patient or people under suspicion of infection must self-quarantine for at least 14 days. That is the amount of time the virus remains active and transmissible. If possible, during this pandemic, stay home and stay safe.
Text from April 1st, 2020. Source: WHO (2020) and Brazilian Health Ministry – Federal Government (2020).