Essay on Novel Coronavirus in English

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Essay on Novel Coronavirus in 1800 words

The 2019 novel coronavirus, has killed more than 150+ people in China and infected thousands worldwide. In order to curb the spread of the disease, the surrounding areas as well as the pandemonium-ravaged Wuhan have also been canceled by the Chinese government. India is currently working to pre-empt the spread of the 2019 novel Coronavirus. So far, there have been no positive cases in India. Despite the rapid spread of the novel virus and it poses a high global risk to the world at large, the World Health Organization has refused to declare it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

What is coronavirus?

  • Coronaviruses are a class of RNA-based viruses.
  • The name is derived from the Latin word, is corona ‘which means crown. This is in reference to their crown-like appearance.
  • There are 4 generations of the virus group – alphacoronovirus, betacoronovirus, gamacoronovirus and deltacoronavirus.
  • There are currently 7 known strains of coronavirus that affect humans. The latest addition is Novel Coronavirus – also known as Wuhan Coronavirus.
  • These strains are:
    • Human Coronavirus 229 AD
    • Human Coronavirus OC43
    • SARS coronavirus – causes severe acute respiratory syndrome.
    • Human Coronavirus NL63 or New Haven Coronavirus
    • Human Coronavirus HKU1
    • MERS Coronavirus – Causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
    • 2019-Novel Coronavirus or Wuhan Coronavirus
  • Wuhan Coronavirus is related to the Batacoronavirus virus.
  • Virus strains also affect other life forms. Examples: avian coronavirus, bovine coronavirus etc.
  • The virus was first discovered in the 1960s.

2019 – How did the outbreak of Novel coronavirus begin?

  • The origin of the virus is still unknown.
  • However, it appears to have originated from the Wuhan seafood market where marmalade, birds, rabbits, bats and snakes are traded illegally in wild animals.
  • 2019-NCOV is known to jump from animals to humans, so it is believed that the first people infected with the disease – a group made up primarily of stallholders from the seafood market – contracted it from their contact with animals it was done.
  • Studies show that bats are more likely to come from it because a team of virologists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology released a detailed paper showing that the genetic makeup of coronaviruses found in bats is similar to 96%.
  • Bats were also sources for the SARS virus.

How much dangerous is coronavirus?

  • In China, 150+ have died and the country has at least 6,061 confirmed cases – surpassing the number of Chinese SARS cases during the fatal 2003 outbreak. The infection has spread throughout China, even to remote, rural corners of the country.
  • Outside of mainland China, 91 cases have been reported in more than a dozen countries. Most of these cases are directly related to Wuhan.
  • This indicates that it can be more easily transmitted between humans than SARS, a similar coronavirus that caused about 800 deaths after originating in China 17 years ago.
  • However, the new virus is less viral than SARS, killing 10% of those infected.
  • MERS, another such coronavirus, although not widely spread, was more deadly, killing one-third of those infected.
  • So far, 2019-NCOV has caused severe respiratory disease in about a quarter of cases and 2 to 3% of patients have died.
  • However, experts say the lethal rate in the early stages of an outbreak is difficult to predict and the virus can become muted while passing through people.
  • Furthermore, it is impossible to predict whether genetic changes will make it more or less viral.

What are the symptoms of this coronavirus?

  • Coronavirus is known to affect the upper respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract of patients.
  • According to the World Health Organization, symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing.
  • In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
  • The greatest risk of serious infections is with heart, lung disease or weak immune symptoms and with infants and older adults.
  • The incubation period of coronaviruses is still unknown. Some say that it can be between 10 and 14 days.

What is the scenario in China?

  • China’s Wuhan 2019-Novel coronavirus outbreak has zero basis.
  • The virus was identified by the WHO in January but the first infection is reported to occur in December 2019.
  • From China, the virus has spread to other countries in other continents. Countries confirming new cases include:
  • Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Korean Republic, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and UAE.
  • Europe: Germany and France
  • America: America, Canada
  • Australia
  • Fourteen cities, including Wuhan, are currently in lockdown. Millions of people live in these cities. There are 11 million people in Wuhan itself.
  • Many more cities have suspended transport services and restricted travel from these cities.
  • The timing of this outbreak coincides with the annual Chunyun migration event – the largest migration event of humans before the Chinese New Year.

What is being done to prevent the spread of infection?

  • Currently, there is no vaccine to correct coronavirus infection.
  • In addition to traveling from Wuhan to the outbreak of this outbreak, the Chinese government also began monitoring and disinfection efforts before the Lunar New Year holiday, which began on 25 January this year.
  • Airport officials around the world are investigating passengers from Wuhan.
  • Standard recommendations of the World Health Organization to prevent infection include:
  • Regular hand wash
  • Covering the mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing
  • Fully cook meat and eggs
  • Whoever is showing symptoms of respiratory disease like cough and sneezing, avoid contact with him.

What measures have the Chinese government taken to prevent the outbreak?

  • 1000 Bed Hospital:
    • Wuhan City, the capital of Hubei, China, is building a 1,000-bed hospital in 6 days to combat the outbreak of nCoV.
    • A second hospital with a capacity of 1,300 beds is also going to be built in two weeks.
    • The target date for completion of the first hospital is 3 February 2020.
    • These hospitals will serve as both quarantine and treatment centers reserved for people infected with coronaviruses.
  • Drug Testing:
    • The National Health Commission of China is going to use a combination of lopinavir and ratanavir sold under the brand name Kalitra by ABVI to treat people infected by 2019-nCoV. This medicine is used to treat HIV patients who are suffering from pneumonia.
    • The National Health Commission suggested aluvia (cholera), a pill containing lopinavir and ritonavir, as two possible treatments for the symptoms of the virus. The other part has nebulized alpha-interferon.
  • Extension of holidays:
    • The government is extending the Lunar New Year holiday to include the epidemic.
    • The Lunar New Year holiday is the most important annual holiday in China, a time when people travel with their family at home and abroad.
    • The extension of vacation may prevent people from traveling to return to work.

Have there been previous outbreaks of coronavirus?

  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
    • It is a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV).
    • Between November 2002 and July 2003, the outbreak of SARS in southern China caused 8,098 cases and 774 deaths in 17 countries, a majority in China.
    • No cases of SARS have been reported globally since 2004.
    • The viral outbreak was genetically traced from a horseshoe colony living in the cave in Yunnan province, China.
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS):
    • Also known as camel flu, MERS is a viral respiratory infection caused by MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
    • The mortality rate is about one third of diagnosed cases.
    • MERS-CoV is a betacoronavirus derived from bats. Camels have shown antibodies to MERS-CoV but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified.

How is India handling the situation?

  • India is going to airlift its citizens from Wuhan. After evacuation, individuals will be kept in quarantine for 14 days.
  • The government has increased thermal screening at 20 airports as a precaution, adding 10 new laboratories for virus detection.
  • The government had also activated new laboratories – the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Viral Research and Diagnostics Lab Network – to examine the samples.
  • Until now, all samples tested in India were found to be negative.
  • Also, the Mumbai Port Trust has been instructed not to grant shore permits to any ships coming from China.
  • The government has also urged travelers who have a travel history to China from January 1 if they come to the nearest health facility to experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress etc.
  • A 24 × 7-helpline number has also been released for queries on Coronavirus.

What is WHO’s stand on 2019-nCoV outbreak?

  • The World Health Organization had recently decided not to declare the outbreak of 2019-nCoV as PHEIC – a public health emergency of international autonomy.
  • Although criticized by the global community, this is not the first time the WHO has been reluctant to declare PHEIC.
  • PHEIC is a technical term for a “serious, unusual or unexpected” health crisis that poses a public health risk to other countries through international dissemination and potentially requires an immediate coordinated international response.
  • The announcement of the PHEIC extends the WHO’s authority to coordinate that response in various ways, including issuing recommendations on the imposition of trade and travel restrictions by countries.
  • Earlier, in 2019, the WHO did not repeatedly announce the spread of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo before doing so.
  • The reluctance of WHO to declare PHEIC is due to unwillingness to engage in politics.
  • The WHO may announce the PHEIC, along with an emergency committee of independent scientific experts, to the Director General of the WHO, as well as the countries affected by the outbreak. The final decision rests entirely on the shoulders of the Director General.
  • Although the recommendations of the Emergency Committee are the voice of technical expertise, it has been given by the Director General to the Director General to take action that may be unpopular with governments, making it a political move.

What challenges do you face when dealing with an outbreak?

  • Closing cities such as Wuhan (11 million inhabitants) cannot prevent human-to-human transmission within cities. Closure of entire cities goes far beyond the normal practice of pacifying infected populations and may lead to other consequences.
  • The WHO is fearing political influence if it announces an outbreak as PHEIC. This can only escalate the epidemic. Declaring the epidemic as PHEIC may prevent additional effects on the global population and economy.
  • The economic impacts of this outbreak include the aviation sector, losses to the tourism industry, as well as negative impacts on other sectors.

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