What Is Coronavirus Disease COVID-19?

The Coronavirus disease COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory illness that can spread from person to person very quickly. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel or newly discovered coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease on February 11, 2020. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.

According to WHO, investigations into the COVID-19 have shown that most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.

But older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness that may result in death.

In Ghana, the Minister of Health, on the night of Thursday, 12 March announced the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Since then, the number of confirmed infections have risen to 24 with one death recorded as at 23 March.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • tiredness
  • dry cough.

Other symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • aches and pains
  • sore throat
  • and very few people will report diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose.

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.

People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy are advised to self-isolate and contact their medical provider or a COVID-19 information line for advice on testing and referral.

People with fever, cough or difficulty breathing are advised to call their doctor and seek medical attention quickly.

How To Prevent COVID-19

To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, the WHO and medical experts around the world advise that people do the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.

Now you know. So follow the safety guidelines and stay healthy and safe always.

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