What We know About the Coronavirus

Climate and environment blog

What is confirmed about the spread of the new corona virus?

What is the true source of the new corona virus has still not been confirmed. It is likely that an animal source from a live animal market in Chinese Hubei Province was behind some of the first reported human infections.

What is known, on the other hand, is that coronaviruses are spread through contact between people or by coughing and sneezing, what is called drip infection. Being infected just by passing someone outdoors or standing next to someone for a short while in, for example, public transport, says state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell at the Public Health Authority to the news agency TT is very unlikely.

The majority of those infected with the new coronavirus, called sars-cov-2, become mildly ill with respiratory symptoms that pass by themselves. Some suffer from more serious illness, such as pneumonia. In many cases, people who have died in the suites of the new virus have had another serious underlying disease.

The World Health Organization WHO estimates that mortality in covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus sars-cov-2, is 3 percent in China. The figure is based on data from all confirmed cases in China. This can be compared to the flu pandemic in 1918, where mortality was 5 percent.

At present, the World Health Organization estimates that mortality in the new corona virus is 1–2 percent. This is based on international studies.

The largest study done on the infection comes from the Chinese Infection Protection Agency. That study showed that the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying increased with age, and some basic illnesses also increased risk.

Scientists are looking for answers about the virus

The Chinese infection control agency CCDC has examined confirmed and suspected cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus sars-cov-2. The study, published in the journal Chinese Journal of Epidemiology, shows that the risk of dying as a result of the infection increases the older you are. For people 80 years or older, the risk of dying was 14.8 percent.

But the majority of all cases examined, 81 percent, were classified as mild. A total of 14 percent were affected by a serious infection, and for just over 5 percent the condition became critical. According to the Public Health Authority, mortality is almost at the level of a seasonal flu.

Researchers have mapped out the first 41 virus victims who received hospital care in China. The review, published in the scientific journal The Lancet, shows that every third of these patients had an underlying disease. All had pneumonia. A total of 13 were admitted to the intensive care unit and six of these died later.

An analysis published in The Lancet shows that some confirmed infected patients develop very rapidly serious conditions, such as shock lung, multiple organ failure and septic shock, which are associated with high mortality.

The review is based on 99 infected patients, all of whom were admitted to hospitals during the month of January. All patients had pneumonia, several with an infection in both lungs. About half of the patients had underlying chronic diseases.

In another report published in The Lancet, researchers conclude that the new corona virus differs so much from the sars virus that spread from China in 2003 that it should be seen as a completely new virus. Both belong to the coronavirus group. The researchers’ genetic analysis of ten sequences of the new coronavirus, obtained from nine patients in Wuhan, shows that the virus is most closely related to two ulcer-like coronaviruses found in bats.

One research theory is that bats are the original source of the new coronavirus. This is because the genetic mass of the virus is 96 percent identical to a Coronavirus found in bats, according to data published in the scientific journal Nature. The infection may then have spread through another animal before it began to spread to humans.

Researchers at South China Agricultural University believe the mammal ant cone may have spread the new corona virus from bats to humans.

How big is the risk of infection?

The coronavirus sars-cov-2 infects through close contact between people, through coughs and sneezing, ie what is called drip infection (where someone who is sick has viruses in their airways and mucous membranes that end up on someone else). The vast majority of people who suffer are mildly ill with respiratory symptoms that go away by themselves.

Being infected just by passing someone outdoors or standing next to someone for a short while in, for example, public transport is very unlikely. Rather, it is required that you be close to someone for an extended period of time, such as at work or at home.

According to the Public Health Authority, the incubation period, ie the time it takes from being infected until the disease breaks out, for coronavirus between two and 14 days. The authority has examined the facts surrounding the infection and believes that it is impossible for the new coronavirus to infect throughout the incubation period. The authority’s assessment is that it is contagious when the patient is ill and in connection with the illness.

There is no indication that this type of virus would infect via items such as mail and packages.

The infectiousness index for the new coronavirus is between two and three, which is about the same level as regular influenza.

Although new individual cases are discovered here, it is not the same as the spread of infection in the country.

The World Health Organization WHO has classified the outbreak of the new Coronavirus as an international threat to human health. The concern is above all that the virus can spread to countries “with more fragile health care systems”.

The classification means that measures must be coordinated at the international level. For example, WHO can issue temporary recommendations globally.

But so far, this is not a pandemic, but an epidemic that is spreading, especially in the Chinese Hubei province, according to WHO.

What is happening in China to prevent the spread of infection?

According to the Public Health Authority, the rapid spread of the new Coronavirus in China is due to the fact that no one in the population has been able to develop immunity against this.

In order to prevent the spread of the virus, residents of several Chinese cities, including Wuhan, have been quarantined. But several Chinese provinces have in recent days lowered preparedness since the infection seems to have stopped, at least outside the severely affected Hubei province.

When will a vaccine come?

There is no vaccine or drug for the virus. WHO believes that a first vaccine against the new Coronavirus may only be produced in 1.5 years.

When you have enough virus, the substance is killed by heat, formalin or radiation. Then it is injected into the body, to trigger the immune system. This causes the immune system to react and attack when the real virus tries to infect cells.

The treatment that the infected sheep receive is to support the function of organs, such as the lungs and kidneys.

How can you protect yourself against the new coronavirus?

At present, most should speak out because close contact between humans is required for the virus to be infected. Mouthguards do not protect against infection.

General recommendations

The public health authority’s general recommendation is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face and eyes. One should also avoid close contact with sick people. Anyone located in China should avoid markets with live animals.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against all trips to Hubei Province and advises against all unnecessary trips to other parts of China, with the exception of Hong Kong and Macao. The Foreign Ministry also advises against unnecessary trips to Iran.

The authority has an ongoing dialogue with the airports and cooperates at the EU level on these issues. The focus is on getting information to airports about where to turn if they find signs of illness.

How do companies act to prevent the spread of infection?

The large industrial fair in Hanover is being moved forward due to the corona virus. Instead of April, it should be held in July.

This year’s Mobile World Congress was canceled. The car fair in Geneva is also canceled. Switzerland has introduced a ban on all events with over 1,000 participants to prevent the spread of infection.

The organizers behind the Game Developers Conference have chosen to postpone the conference of concerns about the spread of infection.

Facebook has also decided to cancel its annual developer conference F8 in San Jose, California, in early May due to the virus outbreak.

Facebook and Twitter opt-out of the South by Southwest festival in Texas, which will take place March 13-22, out of concern over the spread of the new Coronavirus.

Several companies have chosen to close their Chinese factories out of concern for the spread of infection.

What’s the new virus, really?

There has been some confusion about what the new Coronavirus is actually called. This has not been facilitated by the World Health Organization announcing a name almost at the same time as the International Committe on Taxonomy of Viruses, whose task is to name new infections, announced its choice.

The new coronavirus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which is abbreviated as sars-cov-2. Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is the name of the disease caused by the virus.

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