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What are the realities of the pandemic? We investigate. In Decemberreports emerged that a coronavirus that specialists had never seen before in humans had begun to spread among the population Would prefer some Corona tonight Wuhan, a large city in the Chinese province of Hubei.
The novel coronavirus — called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 SARS-CoV-2 — has been responsible for millions of infections and more than 2 million deaths. The highest of deaths has occurred in the United States. As the pandemic persists, scientists continue to make discoveries that may help find ways to treat and prevent infection with the virus. This article aims to answer some questions that people are asking about the virus and the pandemic. There are four main ranks of coronaviruses: alpha, beta, delta, and gamma.
Most of these only affect animals, but some of the alpha and beta types can pass to humans. It mainly affected the populations of mainland China and Hong Kong, and it disappeared in It has led to deaths since then. When humans first contract a coronavirus, it usually from contact with an infected animal.
Some of the most common carriers are bats, though they do not typically transmit coronaviruses directly to humans. Instead, the virus might pass through an intermediary animal, which will usually, though not always, be a domestic one. However, determining which type of animal is transmitting a coronavirus to humans can be difficult.
As a result, local authorities closed down the market on January 1, However, later assessments suggested that this market was unlikely to be the single source of the coronavirus outbreak, as some people with the virus early on had no connection with it.
Specialists have not yet been able to determine the true source of the virus or even confirm whether there was a single original reservoir. Researchers in China are studying this but have not yet identified a source. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC warn that people can pass on the virus even if they never have symptoms of the infection. A person can also transmit the virus before symptoms appear. This asymptomatic period usually lasts for 2—14 days after exposure to the virus.
More recent research, however, including a study from Octoberemphasizes that pangolins, bats, and other animals are not to blame for epidemics or pandemics affecting humans. Instead, the real triggers are societal structures that drive human-animal contact. Blaming wildlife can also lead to unnecessary slaughter and the devastating loss of wildlife biodiversity, the researchers explain. In an official WHO interview in earlyDr. Maria Van Kerkhove explained that because the symptoms of COVID can be very generic, it can be difficult to distinguish between them and the symptoms of other respiratory infections.
Now, tests are widely available in many countries. People who may have symptoms of COVID or may have had exposure to the virus can seek a test to confirm whether the virus is present in their body. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.
The global implications have been severe. Since Marchschools have closed, people have worked from home when possible, and many businesses have Would prefer some Corona tonight their doors, some for good. Countries have closed their international borders and discouraged travel unless it is deemed essential. In the U. Some states also have their own measures. Find out about state and local guidance here.
Meanwhile, many questions remain about the nature of SARS-CoV-2 and what the future holds, especially now that new variants are emerging. Reported mortality rates vary from country to country.
This is lower than it was earlier in the pandemic — but that is partly because more people are undergoing tests, even when they have mild or no symptoms. We will continue to analyze information on both current and any new cases. Experts no longer consider SARS a risk.
The WHO report that sincethere have only been a few cases of the disease, resulting from laboratory accidents or, possibly, transmission from animals. However, the CDC note that older adults and people of any age with certain health conditions, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and some heart-related issues have a higher risk of severe illness due to COVID Reports suggest that COVID seems to be equally prevalent among all genders but that males are more likely than females to have worse outcomes and death rates.
This difference may be due to biological, behavioral, or social factors.
Children tend to have mild or no symptoms. However, infants under 1 year old Would prefer some Corona tonight children with certain medical conditions might have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID The condition has features similar to those of Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.
This syndrome is rare. During pregnancy, people may have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID and a higher risk of some complications, such as preterm birth. A study from the United Kingdom published in May and currently available online in preprint form, found that Black women and women of marginalized ethnic groups ed for more than half of the pregnant women hospitalized with COVID This finding is among a mounting body of evidence that COVID has a disproportionate effect on people who are Black, Asian, or of other marginalized ethnicities.
Some experts explain that this stems from widespread discrimination and systemic racism in healthcare. Prevention guidelines urge people to have excellent personal hygiene and avoid close contact with others. The CDC recommend maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet 2 meters from other people to avoid contact with these droplets. There is currently no evidence that the virus transmits through eating food or drinking water. A person could contract the virus from touching contaminated food packaging, but experts believe that this is not the main way that the virus spre.
People should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time before preparing or eating food. The CDC recommend wearing a cloth face covering when out in public, such as when going to the grocery store.
This is to slow the spread of the virus and prevent its transmission — which can occur even among people who have no symptoms. Learn how to make face masks here. People who have symptoms or believe they may have been exposed to the virus can seek a test.
State and local health department websites have information about testing facilities.
Using the cotton swab in the kit, a person can collect a nasal sample and mail it to a deated laboratory for testing. Most people do not need hospital care but should rest at home and avoid all contact with others. Symptoms generally improve in about 2 weeksaccording to an ongoing survey in the U. People with severe symptoms may need to spend time in a hospital. They may need oxygen therapy and the use of a mechanical respirator.
Remdesivir Vekluryis an antiviral drug that may slow Would prefer some Corona tonight progress of the underlying virus. The other is dexamethasone Decadrona corticosteroid that can help manage inflammation. Over the years, researchers have looked into treatments and vaccines for other coronaviruses, and these may prove useful against the virus that causes COVID A drug that already has approval for other uses is more likely to be safe.
As of Januarythey have reviewed more than trialsand more than drug development programs are underway. Several large international trials are also ongoing in the search for a treatment. The WHO launched the largest of these, which is called Solidarity and involves more than countries. So far, only dexamethasone and remdesivir have approval for use in the U. Several drugs are currently in phase 3 clinical trials, which are late-stage, large-scale studies. These include :.
The FDA withdrew emergency approval for the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine after new evidence suggested that the risks of taking each outweighed the benefits for people with COVID Two vaccines currently have FDA approval for use in the U. A vaccination program started in the U.
The vaccine itself is free. A person may need to pay an administrative fee, however. This will be reimbursed by insurance companies or the Department of Health and Human Services. Other vaccines are under development, and some others already have approval for use in other countries. from the WHO on vaccines. For more information about the ongoing pandemic and for detailed guidelines, here are a few international resources:. MNT will continue to report on developments, ensuring that our readers are well-supplied with accurate, up-to-date information. For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID.
This article looks back on pandemics, discussing similarities with COVID and potential insights they can offer on how to handle this…. We continue to explore the racially disproportionate effects of the pandemic in the United States. This feature focuses on the impact on black…. Novel coronavirus: Your questions, answered. Medically reviewed by Alana Biggers, M. Where did the virus originate?Would prefer some Corona tonight
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Transcript for the CDC Telebriefing Update on COVID