What is Coronavirus & COVID-19?
The virus SARS-CoV-2 causes an airway disease called COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019). The virus, which was first discovered in the city of Wuhan in central China in late 2019, has spread rapidly and is presently in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Australia as well as in North and South America. SARS-CoV-2 is called Coronavirus in the media.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus & COVID-19?
More than 80% of people affected by COVID-19 experience mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, fatigue, mucus when coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, muscle pain and chills. Only 2-10% of patients with COVID-19 experience gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Runny nose is not a symptom of COVID-19.
Those who experience more severe problems and who have so far died as a result of COVID-19 are usually over 60 years of age and comorbidity, that is, the presence of one or more other diseases besides COVID-19, occurs among these persons.
How many have died of Coronavirus & COVID-19?
About 4% of those infected have died of the virus, but the true mortality rate can be significantly lower. The people who have died as a result of being infected by COVID-19 are older people with pre-existing health problems such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes.
It is difficult to know the exact mortality rate because the number of infected people is probably significantly higher than those who have been found to be infected with tests. This means that the actual mortality rate is lower and, in all likelihood, COVID-19 has significantly lower mortality than about 4%.
In addition, one does not usually die from the viral disease itself but from other sequelae; this is one reason why the Public Health Authority writes “number of the dead within 30 days from a laboratory-verified seasonal flu” in its statistics.
How long does the coronavirus have incubation time?
The incubation period, that is, the time that elapses between the time of infection and the time when the disease breaks out, is about 2-14 days with an average of about five days for the coronavirus.
The long incubation period is one reason why the virus can spread so rapidly around the world. The usual flu has a shorter incubation period (1-3 days), which means that you stay at home and do not have the opportunity to transmit infections as much as in infections with longer incubation times.
What sets Corona apart from common flu viruses?
The usual so-called seasonal flu regularly returns to many countries every winter. The seasonal flu is really different variants of the common flu virus types A and B that always circulate around the earth.
During the cold months, more people get sick with the flu compared to the summer months.
One reason why more people get sick during the winter is because the air is colder and drier during the winter months, which in turn means that the virus particles stay longer in the air before falling to the ground.
We are also more indoors and use municipal transport to a greater extent during the winter months, which increases the risk of infection spreading. Another interesting observation is that we have the lowest levels of vitamin D in the month of February. Vitamin D contributes to a normal immune system and precisely the immune system is one of several parameters that determine how sick we are of the seasonal flu.
After all, although the coronavirus spreads rapidly, the vast majority recover well despite the absence of a vaccine.
This means that we know that a good immune system can handle the coronavirus for most people and if you do not have other serious diseases, the probability is that you will do well despite being infected by the coronavirus. In this way, the coronavirus is similar to a regular seasonal flu, since healthy people affected by the seasonal flu usually do well.
Do we have immunity to Coronavirus?
The surface molecules of common flu viruses usually change slightly between seasons, which means that you can suffer from different types of flu viruses year after year, even if they are of the same type. The body, on the other hand, may have some type of immunity to various seasonal viruses that recur. However, this is not the case with the new Coronavirus. It is a completely new virus, for the body, and no human has previously had antibodies to the new Coronavirus. This, together with the long incubation period, causes the virus to spread rapidly around the world.
Research on SARS, another coronavirus, also first discovered in China and which caused an epidemic in 2003–2004, shows that people infected with the virus and recovered had antibodies at sufficient levels to protect themselves against a new infection for about two years. after the infection. By year three, however, the antibodies dropped significantly and thus the immunity to the SARS virus.
How great is the mortality rate for common flu?
Regarding the regular seasonal flu, the Public Health Agency reports that during the 2018–2019 season, 3.7% of those with a laboratory-confirmed flu diagnosis died within 30 days (451 dead out of 12 195 verified cases). Corresponding figures for the season
It is very difficult with exact statistics for both mortality and death rates for different influenza. In fact, the most common cause of seasonal flu is not the viral infection per se but a subsequent bacterial pneumonia and, in the alternative, myocardial infarction or heart failure.
Do we have the right statistics for Corona?
We currently need significantly better and more reliable information to say how many people were actually infected by SARS-CoV-2. It can be as many as 3 times as many or 300 times as many. He further believes that the mortality presented can be greatly distorted and worry both power holders and the population unnecessarily.
There are more people who are infected than we know about, and most people do not become particularly ill. The mortality of the new coronavirus is thus significantly lower according to Ioannidis.
Furthermore, those tested positive are usually those with the worst symptoms, which means that the mortality rate is probably higher among those tested positive than for the population as a whole.
At present, there is only one case where there is relatively safe statistics regarding the Coronavirus from a closed population. It is from the Diamond Princess cruise ship whose passengers were quarantined after corona-infected passengers were found aboard the ship. There were a total of 3,711 people on the ship and 634 people (17%) were found to be infected by the new Coronavirus. Of 634 infected, 328 had no symptoms. Of those with symptoms, mortality was 1.9%, but of all people infected, mortality was only 0.91%. Those who were over 70 on the ship were most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
The average age of the ship is high, which means that extrapolating the figure to the normal population would probably mean that mortality would be significantly lower than 1%.
Are there other coronaviruses?
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that occur regularly in society. Some coronaviruses create mild cold symptoms while other coronaviruses create more severe problems. Some coronaviruses only cause problems in specific animals and normally they do not infect animals and humans.
However, coronavirus infection between animals and humans has occurred a few times with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) first detected in Guangdong Province in southern China in 2002. Both MERS and SARS are thus also coronaviruses that were more serious than regular coronaviruses.
Why do so many people die in Italy but so few in South Korea?
Italy has an overrepresentation of the number of deaths when compared with South Korea. According to physician and infection specialist Kent Sepkowitz of Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City, this is because a larger proportion of the Italian population (28.6%), compared to South Korea (18.5%), is 60 years and older. 90% of the deaths in Italy occurred among those 70 years or older. In South Korea there were significantly more young people infected, only 20% of those infected in South Korea were over 60 years.
The next reason for the difference in mortality is gender. There are about as many women as men who are infected, but on the other hand, there seem to be more men dying compared to women. More women were relatively infected by the Coronavirus in South Korea.
Finally, smoking habits appear to affect mortality. 24% of Italians smoke. The corresponding figure for South Korea is 27%. However, 28% of men and 20% of women smoke in Italy. In South Korea, 50% of all smokers are men while only 5% are women.
South Korea had an outbreak among young, non-smoking women, while Italy, unfortunately, suffered an outbreak of corona among the elderly, several of whom were smokers. Another factor could be that the South Korean Covid tests were significantly more sensitive than the Italian ones. With the same test may be the number of infected in Italy would be significantly higher and then the mortality rate would decrease statistically even if the death rate is the same.
Does our genetics affect the frequency of infection?
It is known that age, gender, and underlying health problems are some of the factors that affect the severity of COVID-19, but there is research that also indicates that genes can affect how sick you become from the coronavirus.
There is a gene called ACE2 that interacts with viruses. Various types of viruses, including coronavirus, penetrate cells by attaching to an ACE2 receptor on the surface of the cell. Once inside the cell, the cell proliferates. There are many ACE2 receptors on the cells of the respiratory tract which make them extra sensitive to viruses. 95% of the Asian population has been found to carry the main ACE2 gene variant.
The corresponding figure for Europe is only 65%. If you carry the main gene variant of ACE2, you have more ACE2 receptors through which the coronavirus can enter the cell and proliferate. However, more research is needed to confirm the link between the ACE2 gene and COVID-19.
Where does the SARS-CoV-2 / Coronavirus come from?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), that is, the United States National Public Health Authority, the coronavirus is probably originally from bats that infected reptiles, such as snakes. The new coronavirus also genetically corresponds to mutant coronavirus from the ant, which in turn is infected by the mutant coronavirus in bats. The same applies to both SARS and MERS that have been mutated in bats and then infected with camels (MERS) or sibet cats (SARS). In these, the coronavirus was further mutated and could then infect humans.
How the Coronavirus infects
Coronavirus infects primarily through small droplets that come from sneezing, coughing, touching or regular conversation, ie contact infection or through the air. If you are within 2-3 meters of an infected person you may be infected with the coronavirus. The longer the time but is close to an infected person, the greater the risk of being infected. Coronavirus can also infect via feces what you think today. Coronaviruses can be infected by touching a surface that has the virus on them or by passing through air with aerosols, that is, tiny, tiny particles in the air that carry the infection.
How long does Coronavirus survive on surfaces or in liquid?
An infected person who sneezes in the hand and who then takes in, for example, a handle, letter or other surface will transmit the coronavirus to the surface. The same applies if a person sneezes straight into the air and drops with coronavirus end up on a surface. It is not entirely certain how long coronavirus will survive on surfaces. It depends on what material the surface is, as well as the ambient temperature and humidity.
RNA from the SARS virus (another type of coronavirus) was found in wastewater from two hospitals in Beijing that treated patients with SARS. Samples showed that the SARS virus found in the wastewater became infected even after 14 days at a temperature of 4 ° C but only for 2 days at a temperature of 20 ° C.
SARS virus can live up to 14 days and can infect fully up to five days at temperatures of 22-25 ° C and 40-50% relative humidity. Thereafter, the virus’s effectiveness gradually decreases. At a temperature of 38 ° C and 80-90% relative humidity, the viability of the SARS virus decreases even after 24 hours. MERS (another type of coronavirus) is also viable at lower temperatures and lower humidity. This applies to most viruses.
This is why more virus infections occur during the winter than during the summer. Another reason is that we spend more time indoors during the winter.
There is no exact data for how long the new coronavirus survives on different surfaces, but it is known from previous studies that both MERS and SARS that occur on surfaces can infect for more than a week at room temperature. On materials such as copper and steel, MERS and SARS do not survive for a long time, while survival is longer on materials such as cardboard, paper and plastic. The best part is to treat areas with disinfection that quickly make viruses of various kinds completely infectious.
The risk of being infected by Coronavirus from contaminated surfaces, packages, letters is likely to be low if these have been transported for several days. Handles, handrails, switches, and shopping trolleys are likely to be major contaminants of the coronavirus. Viruses can survive on money but you do not know how long the coronavirus survives on banknotes or coins.
Vaccine or medicine for the Coronavirus?
In his article “Vaccine against the coronavirus at the earliest in five years”, the world of pharmaceuticals writes that a vaccine that has undergone all the necessary studies and has become clear and approved by the authorities will take at least five years.
Several different drugs are also being developed around the world to fight the coronavirus and in China, the first antiviral drug against the coronavirus has been approved. HIV drugs are also tested against the Coronavirus. Antibiotics help against bacteria; because the coronavirus is just a virus, antibiotics do not help coronaviruses.
Xi’an Jiaotong University Hospital, a C9 League university in Xi’an, China, has officially released Vitamin C intravenous as a treatment protocol for Coronavirus. Vitamin C contributes to a normal immune system, but the larger randomized clinical trial that began in mid-February at ZhiYong Peng, Zhongnan Hospital in China where intravenous vitamin C treatment for COVID-19 is investigated will present its final results only at the end of September 2020.
Does a face mask help against the Coronavirus?
Regular surgical masks or mouth protectors that consumers can buy do not help the coronavirus what you know today. In contrast, masks that have the KN95 standard, that is, masks that filter out 95% of all particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns, seem to reduce the risk of infection
Coronavirus – what to do?
- Wash your hands frequently and carefully. Always wash your hands immediately when you get home or to work. The wash time should be about 30 seconds for a really efficient wash. This advice is the first and most important piece of advice that the World Health Organization and the health service in all countries provide.
- Cover your nose and mouth if you need to sneeze or cough and throw the paper immediately in the trash.
- Do not touch your face, nose, mouth or eyes unless you have to. If you have to touch your face, wash your hands before doing so.
- Avoid public transport such as metro and bus.
- Avoid cigarette smoke.
- Keep away from people who cough or sneeze.
- If you get sick, you should isolate yourself at home for at least 14 days.
Coronavirus – the immune system
A good immune system is important for the body to fight viruses. For example, a cold virus can lie in the body and wait for the immune system to become weaker. Vitamins and minerals do not protect against coronavirus, but the following vitamins and minerals contribute to the normal function of the immune system:
- Vitamin A (available in all multivitamin minerals)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B12