Updates on the 2019 Novelty Coronavirus Pandemic
2019 Novelty Coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several Coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered Coronavirus causes Coronavirus disease COVID-19.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.
Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms and do not feel unwell.
Most people (about 80 percent) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2 percent of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID- 19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.
They travel only short distances before settling, usually less than 1 meter. This is NOT the same as airborne transmission, where the virus is transmitted while suspended in air for prolonged periods of time.
Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
This is why it is important to stay more than one metre away from a person who is sick.
The incubation period is 14 days (95th percentile = 12.5 days)
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the websites and social media of the National Department of Health (www.health.gov.za), National Institute for Communicable Diseases (www.nicd.ac.za) and World Health Organization (www.who.int).
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