The current COVID-19 pandemic is a viral infection caused by a novel coronavirus: the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus is a member of the large family of coronaviruses that cause cold-like symptoms in people.
How did it start?
Some coronaviruses cause illnesses in animals and do not affect humans. However, the most recent coronavirus is believed to have jumped from animals to humans . Over half of the first 41 confirmed cases of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic were related to a seafood market in Wuhan, China . Genetic analysis suggests that the virus may have originated from bats, possibly via an intermediate host before infecting humans . As this virus is new to humans, it has caused an outbreak similar to other coronavirus infections spread from animals, such as those that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012. COVID-19 may be less deadly than SARS and MERS, but the infection has spread quickly and is already more widespread . A coronavirus map produced by the Johns Hopkins University highlights the scale of the pandemic and provides updates on the spread of coronavirus cases.
How could coronavirus affect you?
Most people infected with the coronavirus will only have mild symptoms and will be able to recover at home. More severe illness is less common, but certain people are at greater risk, including the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, such as chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough, and tiredness. Some people may experience shortness of breath and less commonly, headaches, diarrhoea, and a runny nose . 1 in 6 people may develop complications that are life-threatening and require urgent medical attention. These complications may include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute kidney injury, and acute cardiac injury .
What should I do if I have a fever or a new, continuous cough?
If you have a fever or a new, continuous cough, the current advice from the NHS is to stay at home. To prevent the infection spreading, do not go to a GP, hospital or pharmacy.
If you develop symptoms, you should stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms began. To avoid further spread, people living with you should stay at home for 14 days in case they have caught the virus but are not yet experiencing symptoms.
What can I do to slow the spread of coronavirus?
The number of coronavirus UK cases are increasing, and it is crucial to continue social distancing and remain at home to slow the spread of the infection and reduce the burden on our healthcare system.
If you are worried that you may have coronavirus or have come into contact with the infection, the Atruchecks Coronavirus test is available to the public for easy home diagnosis. Check out our Coronavirus test today to order for you and your family.
Coronavirus updates and map https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
NHS advice https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Government advice https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
1. Zhou, P. et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature (2020) doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7.
2. Huang, C. et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet (2020) doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5.
3. Jung, S.-M. et al. Real-Time Estimation of the Risk of Death from Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection: Inference Using Exported Cases. J. Clin. Med. (2020) doi:10.3390/jcm9020523.