How deadly is coronavirus ?

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Fast spreading

World Health Organization has declared coronavirus a global emergency as the virus spreads fast in china and other countries. The spread is a concern for countries with a weaker health system than china and the first world. China alone has reports of 70,548 coronavirus infections as of February 17, 2020. Most of them were in Wuhan and surrounding regions. The high rate of infection has led to deaths of at least 1,770 people, according to a report by China’s national health commission. One person has died in France due to coronavirus, and many other countries across continents have been reporting new cases of the virus.

An analysis by scientists at Harvard University concludes than a person infected with coronavirus can transmit it up to an average of three people, making it highly contagious like SARS. New information since the publication of a report by Harvard suggested that that virus may be more infectious. It has spread to over 28,000 people a few weeks after detection, surpassing the total from the SARS outbreak that lasted for months. 

COVID-19 is not just infecting the people living with the Chinese areas that record a high infection rate. Non-Chinese persons who have visited the Asian country or come into close contact with persons who recently traveled there are also contracting the virus.

Long incubation period

Coronavirus has a long incubation period. A person will not know about its existence for many days, thus fail to get a timely diagnosis and early treatment. Estimates of the incubation period for coronavirus are that it lasts up to 14 days. Carriers do not show symptoms for all these days. A danger is that carriers can still infect other persons. The onset of the symptoms starts with fever and respiratory issues such as coughing or breathing difficulties. A test for COVID-19 only identifies a case when a person has symptoms.

Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield said during a briefing that the virus is difficult to detect. Redfield said a person could have a detectable virus that then disappears soon after then can be detected three days later. CDC still does not know the natural history of the secretion of coronavirus.

Severe attacks

The first symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of respiratory illnesses like dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Some also get a sore throat and headache. It might feel like a cold or severe flu.

The virus will, in the absence of treatment, develop to attack the lungs. Infections in around 20% of patients develop to become more serious infections. The virus starts to replicate as it enters lung cells, destroying them in the process. The immune system detects coronavirus as invaders triggering it to react in an attempt to contain the virus. The response of the immune system to the invader can also cause inflammation and destroy the lung tissue. The result might be pneumonia that will make it difficult to breathe if the air sacs start filling with fluid and get an inflammation.  

The higher number of more than 1.800 recorded deaths due to COVID-19 shows that coronavirus is deadly. The fatalities have surpassed the toll of the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003.