|What is Covid-19.
Corona viruses are among the big family of zoonoses. They transmit infections such as common cold, flu, Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome between vertebrate animals and human. These viruses can cause epidemic or pandemic infections that could result to pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
Studies indicate that corona viruses attach themselves to the protein coding particle or gene called Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) inside the host cells. The ACE2 serve as pathway or agent through which viruses are transported to cells of entry ports of eyes, nose, mouth and/or lungs. Corona viruses cause respiratory infections. The infections mainly spread through air droplets or secretions when an infected person sneezes, coughs or yawns.
Covid-19 is a member of the corona viruses whose transmission started about November 17, 2019 from Wuhan district of Hubei province in China. Someone had contact with wild animals in Wuhan seafood market which resulted to infection that manifested symptoms and sign of Covid-19.
For easy public communication of this new version among the family of corona viruses, the World Health Organization on February 11, 2020 pronounced that the official name would be Covid-19. This simply means a new or specific form of corona virus that started pandemic infection in the year 2019. It is fondly referred to as highly infectious, novel corona virus or 2019 corona virus.
This strain of corona viruses whose incubation period, according to studies, is between 1-2 weeks started infectious pandemic. The pandemic has caused massive humanitarian crisis and economic shrinkage of more than 6% within few months of its spread. Covid-19 has spread to all nations under the Heaven. It has affected millions of people and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. There are about one-third cases of recoveries among the infected. However, people still shed Corona virus through their saliva and feces after about two weeks of recovery. The attack of Covid-19 pandemic could be diminished by heat or ultraviolet light.
Signs and symptoms of Covid-19
Covid-19 infection can be asymptomatic with no obvious illness. However, the following common signs and symptoms are experienced. They includes:
· Chilly shaking
· Cold or fever
· Chest pain
· Blurred sense of taste and smell
· Breathing difficulty
· Dry cough
· Runny nose
· Sore throat
· Organ failure.
Risk factors of Covid-19
There are secondary or pre-existing illnesses that can promote survival difficulties or death from Covid-19 especially among the elderly. Patients with the following underlying health conditions have increased risk of Covid-19 attacks. The risk factors/pre-existing illnesses are:
· Hypertension and other heart diseases
· Chronic lung diseases or infections such as asthma, pneumonia and HIV
· Blood clotting problems
· People over 60 years old
· Cigarette smoke
Effects of Covid-19 on global scale
Covid-19 pandemic is a prevailing public health challenge. It has confined the low and high profile personalities to their localities and made every visitor a suspected carrier. This is the singular pandemic which has reduced to nothingness, distinctions to race, sex, class and age in respect of its uncontrollable infection and spread. The Covid-19 pandemic has suddenly forced the whole world to lock borders and businesses. Schools, religious centres, industries, offices, movements, and sporting and social activities are under lockdown.
The lockdown has caused incalculable human, material, economic and social problems to individuals and nations. The fatality rate of covid-19 pandemic has progressively approached millions in terms of deaths. Even the frontline health workers and high profile officials are not spared. The Covid-19 induced global lockdowns can generate job and food insecurities plus famine.
Treatment and diagnosis of Covid-19
There is no definitive treatment targeted at Covid-19 cure, presently. Corona viruses including Covid-19 strain are self-limiting and rapidly mutate. Therefore, their symptom-based treatments are mostly aimed at relieving discomforting signs and symptoms. Also infected patients whose attacked or impaired vital body organ(s)’ functions are already compromised are supported. After infection, patients are expected to recover between 2 to 8 weeks of treatment. Presently, recoveries do not confer immunity.
However, there are potentially effective vaccines and drugs under clinical trials. The infection is mainly diagnosed through medical results from vital signs and laboratory tests.
Prevention of Covid-19
Studies have shown that the best approach to evade viruses such as Covid-19 attacks or pandemic is prevention. This is possible through social life, lifestyle or habits modification and/or vaccination. The outcome of the approach will break the chain of transmission and global spread of the pandemic.
The preventive measures against Covid-19 pandemic are to:
§ Wash hands frequently for about 20 seconds at a time with running or warm water and soap or rub alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands
§ Keep your hands away from suspected surfaces, your eyes, nose, face and mouth
§ Compulsorily and regularly wear face mask that covers the nose and mouth especially when you experience common cold or flu symptoms; and when coughing or sneezing
§ Keep a social distance of about 2 metres between people
§ Wear personal protection equipment or gadgets especially when handling Covid-19 patients or suspects
§ Stay safe at home, isolation or quarantine
§ Avoid cigarette smoke and other habits that can weaken or compromise functions of the lungs
§ Report early to hospital for expert medical intervention if you experience the above signs and symptoms
Lessons of Covid-19 pandemic
This august pandemic with sustained transmission between people of nations has many lessons for governments of the world. Some of the lessons are documented here for urgent attention. The governments of the developing nations especially, should realize that it is important to have independent, well-equipped and formidable local health care facilities that are of competitive standard. Covid-19 pandemic have made governments to understand better and appreciate the contributions of each health care professional in an ideal health care team. Governments of developing nations especially should understand the need to operate national health care systems under the control of highly motivated health care work forces. This will help to cut down the rate of health workers’ brain drain; and overseas travel and expenses on medical treatment. There is need to have regular state sponsored in-service training, workshop and seminars locally and internationally. This is to help health workers to be exposed and share experiences for sustained readiness for diseases/infections prevention, management and control.
There is opportunity to learn how to implement policies that are devoid of conflicts and neglect. This is necessary for the promotion of good health care delivery, and life quality and expectancy. Overhauling of our community health system has become a priority and inevitable. This is proper for the realization of global health care delivery preparedness against health emergencies and infectious disease pandemics or epidemics. It is ideal time to put in place the best practices in national health care system policy implementation at all levels of health care.
Covid-19 pandemic is a good pointer to the fact that the attentions of governments are refocused on how to fund and provide enabling environment for pharmaceutical industries to thrive. It is essential to produce relevant drugs, medical appliances and other essentials for optimum performance in health care delivery. More efforts should be directed to researches and production of potent vaccines and drugs. These will invariably prevent and treat any strain of viruses that often cause hard-to-control infections.
Governments should pay attention to durable social security policies that will benefit the most vulnerable such as women, elderly, children, disabled and the unemployed. There is need for urgent attention on food security through deliberate attempt to mechanize agriculture. Industrialization should be encouraged for adequate food preservation and storage. Interest-free loans can be granted to small scale farmers and industries to support the efforts of governments for provision of steady food to the populace.
Each country should set up a national trust fund for health emergencies and associated fall-outs. Developing countries especially should keep all children away from streets. They should consciously engage in massive education for easy buy-in, understanding and adherence to measures against pandemics or health emergencies whenever they occur.