WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS? WHAT IS COVID-19
Coronavirus, also known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an infective virus that causes Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, when it finds its way into the living cell of a host.
COronaVIrus Disease – 2019, shortened to COVID-19, is the official name given to the disease associated with Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans – until December, 2019 when its outbreak was first noted in Wuhan, Hubei province in China.
At present, the virus has spread to over 180 countries around the world, with about 1.2 million infections. The rate of infection is high. Consequently, governments of worst hit nations have either enforced lockdown or restricted movements of its citizens.
HOW CORONAVIRUS SPREADS
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or when people interact with the infected person for some time in close proximity (usually less than one metre). The droplets from an infected person can be inhaled, or they can land on surfaces that others may come into contact with, who can then get infected when they touch their nose, mouth or eyes.
It is believed that the virus can survive on different surfaces from several hours up to a few days. However, the amount of viable virus declines over time and may not always be present in sufficient numbers to cause infection.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN A PERSON IS INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS
When a person is infected with COVID-19 virus, s/he will likely experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19 vary in severity from having no symptoms at all (being asymptomatic) to having fever, cough, sore throat, general weakness and fatigue and muscular pain and in the most severe cases, severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis and septic shock, all potentially leading to death. Reports show that health deterioration can occur rapidly, often during the second week of disease.
WHEN IS AN INFECTED COVID-19 PERSON INFECTIOUS?
The infectious period may begin one to two days before symptoms appear, but people are likely most infectious during the symptomatic period, even if symptoms are mild and very non-specific. The infectious period is now estimated to last for 7-12 days in moderate cases and up to two weeks on average in severe cases.
TREATMENT OF COVID-19
At present, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Healthcare providers are mostly treating the symptoms rather than target the virus, and provide supportive care (e.g. oxygen therapy, fluid management) for infected persons, which has proven to be highly effective.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COVID-19 VIRUS
- The virus enters the human body through your eyes, nose and/or mouth, hence it is important to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or cleaning hands thoroughly with alcohol-based solutions, gels or tissues is recommended in all settings.
- It is also recommended to stay one metre or more away from people infected with COVID-19 who are showing symptoms, to reduce the risk of infection through respiratory droplets.
- As much as possible, avoid social gathering of any form, especially if you are in an arear with reported cases of many COVID-19 virus infections
- STAY AT HOME AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
HOW TO PROTECT PEOPLE AROUND YOU FROM COVID-19 VIRUS
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue. If you use a tissue, dispose of it carefully after a single use
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Stay one metre or more away from people to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through respiratory droplets.
- If you feel unwell, stay at home. If you develop any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, you should immediately call NCDC or your healthcare provider for advice.
CAN FACE MASK PROTECT YOU FROM COVID-19 VIRUS?
If you are infected, the use of surgical face masks may reduce the risk of you infecting other people. On the other hand there is no evidence that face masks will effectively prevent you from becoming infected with the virus. In fact, it is possible that the use of face masks may even increase the risk of infection due to a false sense of security and increased contact between hands, mouth and eyes while wearing them. The inappropriate use of masks also may increase the risk of infection.
VACCINE FOR CORONAVIRUS
There are currently no vaccines against human coronaviruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. This is why it is very important to prevent infection and to take measures to contain further spread of the virus.
CORONAVIRUS IN NIGERIA
The first confirmed case COVID-19 in Nigeria was announced on 27 February 2020, when an Italian citizen in Lagos tested positive for the virus. On 9 March 2020, a second case of the virus was reported in Ewekoro, Ogun State, a Nigerian citizen who had contact with the Italian citizen.
On 17 March, Nigeria confirmed the third case in Lagos State, A 30-year-old Nigerian female citizen that returned on 13 March from the United Kingdom.
At present, 238 number of cases have been recorded in 14 states around the country, with Lagos State having the most number of infected persons (120 cases), and closely followed by Abuja (47 cases). Most of the reported cases have been people who returned from countries with large numbers of COVID-19 and others who interacted with them after their return.
At the moment, Lagos, Abuja and Ogun States are on lock down to present local spread of COVID-19 virus
NIGERIA CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL (NCDC)
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is Nigeria’s public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.
NIGERIA CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL RESPONSE NUMBER
0800 9700 0010