Coronavirus: What do we know?

It’s been almost 3 months since we’ve learned about the breakout of a new, unidentified coronavirus disease (later named COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. Up to this day, over 128,000 people have been confirmed to be infected with it in over 120 countries all over the world. More than 68,000 have already recovered, but unfortunately over 4,600 people passed away. As of yesterday (11th March 2020), the WHO (World Health Organisation) has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

As a care company providing services to the most vulnerable people in our communities, we’ve prepared this blog to pass on key information and advice from WHO and the UK Government to ensure that both our team, but also anyone else interested, stay safe during this dynamically changing situation. We’d also like to highlight that it’s important to remain calm and focus on prevention.

Hand Hygiene

What is COVID-19?

It’s a highly infectious, respiratory disease, caused by the new coronavirus that broke out in December 2019 in China.

What are the symptoms?

Very similar to cold/flu. Most common ones are fever, sore throat and dry cough. In more severe cases, an infected person would experience difficulties with their breathing and require hospital treatment.

The incubation period is 1-14 days, but majority of people start showing first symptoms within 5 days from the contact with the virus.

Who’s at risk of getting infected?

The entire population, however studies have shown, that people with underlying medical conditions (blood pressure issues, diabetes, heart problems, etc.), weak immune systems and the elderly are the most vulnerable and most likely to become severely ill.

How does COVID-19 spread?

WHO is still researching how exactly can you contract the virus. What’s known so far is that the virus is highly contagious and spreads from person to person, mainly through small droplets from the nose or mouth of someone already infected when they cough. Up to date studies show that the risk of contracting the virus from someone that is not showing symptoms yet is very low, but not impossible. They also say that the virus is very likely to survive on handles and surfaces from few hours to up to few days and can be contracted by touching them and then touching your nose, mouth and eyes.

How to protect yourself?

WHO and UK Government advices up to date are as follows:

  1. Wash your hands frequently for at least 30 sec at the time.
  2. Avoid touching your face before washing your hands.
  3. Avoid crowded places and social gatherings.
  4. Refrain from any unnecessary travels.
  5. If you’re unwell – stay at home and seek medical attention over the phone first.
  6. When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow.

How worried should we be about this virus?

We should definitely be cautious and do what we can to help prevent any further spread of COVID-19. If the number of infected people keeps rising, we could be facing a big strain on the UK’s healthcare system, economy, education, etc. It’s important that we all take this outbreak seriously and stay safe and careful. However, if we continue to promote good hand hygiene, check our temperatures regularly for increase and follow WHO and government advice, we will be taking positive steps to decrease the virus’s ability to spread.

Misinformation and unnecessary panic are our worst enemies, therefore you should only follow instructions from legitimate sources and authorities and look out for official announcements and advices from the UK Government.

To find out more, go to:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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