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UPDATE: Important Facts About the Coronavirus

The Basics

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that have been known long before the new outbreak started.  They are the cause of various illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Both diseases are zoonotic, meaning they can transmit between animals and people through close contact.

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causes the disease COVID-19. Its first patient was identified in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. and since then it has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Scientists are still not certain where the virus originated, but they are suggesting it was transmitted from bats to humans through an intermediate animal.

The death rate of the virus appears to be a bit higher than that of seasonal flu, but it varies mostly by location. For example, in Hubei Province, the epicentre of the outbreak, the death rate reached 2.9%, whereas in other provinces was 0.4%. The person’s age and overall health conditions also have great impact on the progress of the illness.

Signs of Infection

The most common ones include respiratory symptoms, cough, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases of infection, it can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.

The virus can be easily mistaken for a flu since early signs are similar to a normal cold or a flu. It is thought to spread mainly from person to person who are in close contact with one another. As well as through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

How to React

As more and more cases of COVID-19 are being identified across the world, it is of great importance that we act accordingly. The spreading of the virus can be slowed at individual level (see our blog post from January 2020 on Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease) and at institutional level, including through the implementation of robust medical isolation and transportation procedures.

In these times of public health emergency, we need all help that we can get. For more information about the EpiShuttle medical isolation and transportation systems, please contact us here.

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