By Sharon A. Lewis, M. Ed
Origins of the Disease
Coronaviruses, a large family of different viruses, have been around for decades. Some strains affect humans and other strains affect animals such as camels, cattle, and bats. The initial theory
about the novel coronavirus is that it started in a wet market in Wuhan, China (Identifying the Source of the Outbreak Source of the Outbreak, 2020). Wet markets are places where people can
purchase fresh “meats” of all kinds. Some of the animals are kept live and slaughtered on the premises.
Some markets sell standard food items like chickens, different fishes, goats, etc. But others sell illegal items such as cobra, pangolins, wild boars, raccoon dogs, and bats. (Letzter, 2020) The initial theory seemed plausible because Covid-19 is a zoonotic disease that travels from animals to humans with this strain thought to have originated from bats. The more familiar zoonotic diseases include dengue fever, yellow fever, rabies, and West Nile virus. However, research has proven that no bats were sold at the Wuhan wet market in late 2019.
It is plausible to believe that the Wuhan Wet market was the scene of a “super spreader” event. Meaning the virus might have found its way onto the market counters and infected merchants and customers alike. The search continues for the true epicenter of the initial Covid-19 outbreak. (Letzter, 2020) According to WedMD.com, “historically, human coronavirus was first identified in 1965. It caused nothing more than the common cold. Shortly after that, researchers discovered a group of human and animal viruses with similar crown-shaped structures and added them to the Corona Viruses list.” (WebMD, 2020) Seven known strains can infect humans. One strain of coronavirus causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which began in Southern China in 2002. Another strain of the coronavirus causes MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) which began in Saudi Arabia in 2012. (WebMD, 2020). The symptoms of SARS and MERS are like Covid-19; however, MERS can cause kidney failure. (WebMD, 2020)
To date, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) lists the symptoms of Covid-19 as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, the new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms generally show up 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. This list is not exhaustive as the virus affects children, adults, and the elderly differently. (CDC, 2020)
Immediate Care Needs
“The warning signs that indicate you need immediate emergency medical care include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and bluish lips or face. It is best to call your medical provider for any other severe or concerning symptoms. If you need to call 911 or go to the emergency room, call ahead to your local emergency facility and remember to notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.” (CDC, 2020)
We now know that a solid practice of mask-wearing during this time will decrease your chances of contracting the virus. (Neha Pathak, 2020) In a recent article on WebMD by Neha Pathak, MD, a board-certified internist, she explains that “there is scientific proof that wearing masks is a protective measure in the fight against Covid-19.
Face covers and masks primarily protect others from us, and other people’s masks protect us from them. A growing number of studies show that when entire communities mask up, the virus loses its power to spread from person to person. Recent studies suggest that large droplets from coughs or sneezes are not the only way to transmit the virus. It may also happen when we talk or breathe heavily and exhale aerosols, which are lighter, smaller particles that can hang in the air for much longer and travel farther than the prescribed socially distanced 6 feet.” (Neha Pathak, 2020)
Pathak’s article references the “three Cs” of when to wear a mask. The “three Cs” include crowded places, closed spaces, and close-contact settings. Crowded places include anywhere you cannot stay 6 feet apart indoors or outdoors. This includes restaurants, bars, and gyms. Closed spaces include “offices, schools, churches, grocery stores, elevators, hair salons, and your home if someone has the virus.” (Neha Pathak, 2020) These places are sometimes poorly ventilated, so open windows will lower the concentration of the viruses. Lastly, avoid close contact settings such as “hugging and kissing, talking closely, face-to-face, and sexual intimacy. In these instances, a mask is a necessary safety accessory with anyone outside of your “safety bubble.” (Neha Pathak, 2020)
“Make sure that your mask fits securely, and if reusable, that they are made of a tightly woven fabric for optimal protection that allows you to breath comfortably. Surgical masks are designed for a one-time use and should be discarded daily. Wash your cloth masks daily. Know that you do not need medical-grade masks unless you are regularly in contact with infected people.” (Neha Pathak, 2020)
Prevention and Self Care
Many of the things that are being proposed for remaining healthy or decreasing the severity of the virus in the age of Covid-19, including moderate exercise, vitamin and mineral supplements, getting proper rest, and eating a healthy diet, will be explored in the next article.
CDC. (2020, May 13). Symptoms of Coronavirus – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19). Retrieved from CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Letzter, R. (2020, May 28). The coronavirus didn’t really start at that Wuhan ‘wet market’. Retrieved from Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-did-not-start-at-wuhan-wet-market.html
Neha Pathak, M. (2020, October 6). What We Know So Far About Masks and Coronavirus. Retrieved from WedMD Blogs: https://blogs.webmd.com/webmd-doctors/20201006/mask-coronavirus-what-we-know?ecd=wnl_spr_101020&ctr=wnl-spr-101020_nsl-LeadModule_cta&mb=sHmli3OGKZtWxdNaneKwB7n8u1%2fayulBDQd5lOdmE%40U%3d
Prevention, C. C. (2020, July 1). Cases, Data & Surveillance: Studying the Disease. Retrieved from CDC Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/about-epidemiology/studying-the-diesease.html
Prevention, C. C. (2020, July 1). Identifying the Source of the Outbreak: Source of the Outbreak. Retrieved from CDC Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/about-epidemiology/identifying-source-outbreak.html
WebMD. (2020, April 15). Coronavirus History. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-history