Corona-virus is a family of viruses, which can cause the common cold or more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and the new corona-virus disease that first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, called COVID-19. A COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 270,000 people and sickened more than 3.8 million people globally, with numbers still rising. In the United States, there are more than 1.2 million cases, and over 75,500 people have died.
COVID-19 is a contagious disease that causes mild to severe respiratory symptoms with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It can be transmitted through person-to-person contact, mainly through respiratory droplets that become airborne when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. However, much remains unknown about how it spreads.
The new coronavirus was first identified on Dec. 31, 2019. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30. This declaration places countries on alert to do all they can to identify, isolate, and care for people who are infected; to prevent transmission; and to help other countries with weaker health systems. The WHO later declared a pandemic, meaning it is spreading globally, on March 11.
“The WHO’s pandemic declaration underscores what we at World Vision have been saying since the beginning of the outbreak: We mustn’t forget the world’s most vulnerable,” In developing countries, we’re taking steps to ensure children and families can protect themselves from this global health threat.
YERF is working diligently in all its program and development areas to keep children safe from infection. “We’re working with our sponsored children and their families to make sure their families have the protective equipment that they need,” YERF program manager for humanitarian and emergency affairs. “Then also [they need the] education and understanding of how they need to protect themselves from this and talk to kids about the fear and stress they may be having.”
Worldwide, World Vision aims to provide targeted support to at least 72 million people. YERF is also responding, aiming to reach 650,000 vulnerable people. Each kit provides a week’s worth of food for a family of five, hygiene and protective items, educational supplies and resources for kids, and other essentials. We’re also assisting in replenishing the personal protective equipment supplies of healthcare providers and emergency responders.
What does COVID-19 stand for? What is it?
“CO” stands for corona, “VI” for virus, “D” for disease, and 19 refers to 2019, the year in which it was first discovered. COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a novel member of the coronavirus family — SARS-CoV-2 — that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past. There is still much to learn about the disease.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome. People with chronic health conditions and the elderly are more likely than others to have a life-threatening case of the disease.
Why is the new coronavirus worse than the flu?
Although the seasonal flu can spread globally like the new coronavirus, the mortality rate is much lower and more people have immunity. Globally, about 3.4% of people infected with the coronavirus disease have died. For perspective, flu cases currently dwarf the number of coronavirus disease cases, although the death rate is less than .1% for the flu.
How can I prevent getting the new coronavirus?
The World Health Organization has the following recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including the new coronavirus:
- Frequently clean your hands by using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. (Learn how to wash your hands properly!)
- Practice physical distancing (formerly social distancing, here’s why!) by limiting your time in public places to essential trips, staying at least 6 feet from other people, and not greeting others with a handshake or other touch.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue. Then throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
- If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share your travel history with your healthcare provider.
- Avoid the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products. Handle raw meat, milk, and animal organs with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, per good food safety practices.
Should I wear a mask?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control released new guidance recommending that people wear face masks to prevent spreading infection to others, since some people who have COVID-19 may not have obvious symptoms of the disease. Authorities caution that wearing a cloth mask or one commonly used for household cleaning or construction is not a sure way to avoid contracting the disease.
Even when wearing a mask, you should avoid touching your face and continue to follow handwashing, physical distancing, and shelter-at-home orders for your location. Medical masks such as N-95 respirators should be reserved for medical personnel who really need them.