Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus.
One of the many epidemiological diseases that led to a community outbreak is the respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The virus engulfed not only a few countries but it spread like wildfire in the whole world hence it is a pandemic rather than an epidemic. Countries that are affected by its consequences include China, America, Italy, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Canada and probably every country that exists on the world map. It initially originated from the commercial city of China called Wuhan, Hubei province. The first detected case of this virus was identified on 17th November, 2019 while on 31st December, 2019 its identification was made official by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The first reported case of coronavirus outside of its origin country was confirmed on 13th January, 2020 in Thailand while United States of America confirmed its first case on 20th January, 2020 (Holshue et al., 2020). According to the World Health Organization live statistics, there are a total of 11,669,259 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide whereas 539,906 number of people have been died as a result of it (WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard | WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard, n.d.). Nonetheless, these statistics are unceasingly increasing day by day. However, countries like China and New Zealand have halted its spread.
Epidemiology is a study that quests for the determinants of a particular disease that affects the community. Determinants are the breeding cultures and other factors that results in the dominion of a disease and other health-related circumstances. They believe that diseases do not spread on their own rather there are factors that are involved in its spread. When a person has a multiple of these factors inside his body then the person could contracts the disease and become ill.
Coronavirus is spread from an infected person to another person in his close contact via respiratory droplets, first-hand contact with the infected person or by touching any defiled surface.
The Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) is measured in order to check the virulence of a disease. However, in case of corona virus, the IFR changes for every region or country. Initially, 58 people died of this virus for every 1000 people in Wuhan, China. Similarly, in America the case fatality ratio of this virus is 5.9%. Although these statistics vary when the number of testing is increased or the region is changed.
Corona virus is spread either by direct contact with an infected person or by his respiratory droplets (>5-10µm) thrown into the air by sneezing, coughing or even talking or through contact. When a healthy person is in range of 1 m from an infected person who has respiratory symptoms it is possible that he can contract the virus by inhaling the droplets that are sneezed or coughed by the in infected person. Airborne transmission is only possible when situations producing aerosols are involved e.g. ET tube intubation.
Corona virus is unaffected by the hot, humid or cold temperature climate. The growth rate and the frequency of cases of the virus spread remain unaffected by any change in temperature.
Crowding is a determinant for Corona virus as the lesser the distance from 6 ft is there the more chances are there for the spread of infection.
Health prevention measures such as washing hands after every 2 hours, using hand sanitizer often, maintaining a safe distance of 6 ft and disinfection of every object that is suspected of contamination if not practiced can lead to the contraction of virus.
The risk factors for corona virus are as follows:
Old aged people and people having comorbidities (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, asthma etc.) are at higher risk of contra ting the virus and hospitalization due to their decrease capacity off fighting the virus. Whereas, people within their young age of 20s have also been reported of virulence.
- Competency of virus
Getting the positive result of PCR for corona virus does not mean a person is ill and is able to transfer the disease as long as the virus is replication-competent (Criteria for Releasing COVID-19 Patients from Isolation, n.d.).
- Behavioral and environment conditions
People living an unhygienic lifestyle where washing hands and maintaining hygiene is not common are more at risk of contracting the virus.
- Immune compromised people
People who have a compromised immune system such as cancer, AIDS and patients on steroids have higher chances of contracting the disease due to their lower count of antibodies which is required for fighting the viral attack.
- Congested living and working environment
People who live in Congested environment such as dormitories and work in small spaces like small cubicles, schools, universities etc. are more prone to acquire the virus.
There are not many sources of the virus transmission. The respiratory means include by inhaling the droplets of sneeze and cough projected into the air by the infected person, whereas aerosol spread means when those droplets suspend in the air and then inhaled by a healthy person. Another route of transmission is via physical contact which means when the droplets of saliva are rested over different objects and a healthy person touches it and then touches his face, nose or eyes.
Since the communicable disease has spread exponentially not only in my country but the whole world, it has drastically affected the organizations at a system level. Take an example of my school. My school schedule has been suspended for the past three months and we have been relied upon online teaching and learning systems to cover our course. Because students have to sit closely together in the classrooms that is why not only schools but universities as well are closed up until the “flattening of the curve”. Similarly, the working schedule of all office-going employees has shifted to online system as well. “Work from home” is the new trend that everybody is following during the pandemic be it the small business owners or local government officers.
The organization most severely hit by this pandemic is the hospital system. Hospitals are over flooded by patients diagnosed with the corona virus. Doctors overdue their duty hours and the hospital beds have fallen short for patient admissions. Outpatient department has been closed because people visiting hospital unnecessarily can contract the virus. Hence doctors are scheduling teleconsultations for their patients and only serious cases are entertained at the hospital premises. Emergency departments of the hospitals are overcrowded whereas hospitals are getting short on the doctors available to treat the viral disease.
In case of an outbreak spread, my community has laid down some emergency protocols that citizens can avail in an untimely event. The basic protocol that has been laid down by the local governments is that if anyone comes across an infected person than he must Covid-19 reporting form. Then he must locate every place he has visited so that appropriate investigation can take place. And once the case is confirmed, self-quarantine is recommended with a follow up for the coming weeks. The public health departments have allegedly asked all the laboratories to inform them of any detected case as soon as it is recognized after the PCR testing services. Moreover, the government has established The National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) in 2009, which is an online based website that responds to citizens during all kinds of epidemics and pandemics described by state, local and territorial public health agencies in United State of America (National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) | CDC, 2019).
Considering that medications and vaccines are not yet available for corona virus, that is why personal and societal strategies are important to practice in order to prevent its further outbreak. Few of these measures are as follows:
- Pay attention to the change in symptoms one is experiencing such as cold, fever, tastelessness, breathlessness, productive cough etc. Once these symptoms are recognized, quarantine oneself and rush to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
- Practice social distancing of 6 ft as much as possible and avoid social gathering with too many people.
- Avoid going outside of the house purposeless and cancel international travelling until the virus is contained.
- Opt for food items that improve and enhance the immunity system such as intake of vitamin C, green tea, citrus fruits, spinach, almonds etc.
- Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible and use hand sanitizer whenever water is not available.
- Use face mask if in the presence of a gathering to prevent getting in contact with the sneezing or cough droplets.
- Advice the infected person to take rest and sleep as much as possible and self-quarantine himself for at least 14 days after inhabiting the virus.