What is the coronavirus? (COVID-19)

What is the coronavirus? (COVID-19)

The new coronavirus is a family of viruses that causes Covid-19, an infectious disease that affects the airways. Because it is highly transmissible, in a short time this virus has spread throughout the world.

Science already knew the coronavirus since 1937, but it was not until 1965 when it was called by this name because it looks like a crown when viewed under a microscope. This family of viruses, in humans, causes respiratory infections that can range from a common cold to more serious illnesses, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The new coronavirus is a genetic evolution of the virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, although they are not the same. COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by it.

The first cases of COVID-19 arose in the city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019, presenting pneumonia symptoms of unknown cause. The great increase in the number of sick people made the government of that city determine a quarantine period, starting on January 23, 2020.

Since the disease is highly communicable, cases soon began to emerge in other countries. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) decreed a state of pandemic, which means the worldwide spread of the disease.

Some people are infected with the new coronavirus but do not have symptoms or feel bad. Most infected people (about 80% or more) recover from the disease without the need for special treatment. But one in six people develops a severe condition with difficulty breathing. This is more common among older people and / or people with high blood pressure, heart, respiratory, cancer, or diabetes.

According to the Ministry of Health, anyone who has close contact (approximately 1 meter away is enough) with someone with the new coronavirus can become infected. Transmission can occur through droplets of saliva or mucus, expelled through the mouth or nostrils when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These drops fall on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people become infected with COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Most of the time, it is evident if a person is sick, but there have been reports of people with the virus still with no apparent symptoms that could already transmit the disease.

There is still no vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection. Prevention guidelines are the same as for other respiratory transmitted diseases. Learn more about how to prevent it and the symptoms of the disease in the next texts.



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