COVID-19 has affected 8,281,451 people up till now, out of which, 446,461 people lost their lives fighting the battle. The disease starts with symptoms like mild flu, dry cough, fever and chills. People don’t really do much about it, thinking it will go away. However, it’s not long before their symptoms worsen, the fever gets high, they feel chills and eventually find it difficult to breathe normally.
How is COVID-19 Infection Different from Normal Flu?
It is a highly contagious infection that is transmitted through the respiratory droplets of the affected person. The COVID-19 virus is not airborne. It is when a COVID-19 patient coughs or sneezes that their respiratory droplets are fired into the air, towards the people near them. When a person inhales these droplets or touches a surface that is contaminated with the respiratory droplets of an infected person and touches their face, they can get infected. What makes the COVID-19 infection different from ordinary flu is that there is no known treatment. No vaccine can keep one from getting infected or a drug that can treat the patients. Moreover, unlike the flu, the COVID-19 virus spreads throughout the lungs and affects the breathing capability of an individual.
As a result, they’re put on artificial breathing support (ventilator). Some get recovered while those with pre-existing medical conditions have more of a struggle because they are already compromised.
What Can Be Done?
Since the treatment of the coronavirus infection doesn’t exist, all the doctors try to do is manage the symptoms. However, the only way to keep oneself protected from initially getting infected is to maintain social distance and wear a mask when outdoors. WHO recommends keeping a distance of at least six feet from other people. The farthest the virus can travel when a person coughs or sneezes is less than six feet. Moreover, when you’re wearing a mask, you are limiting the chances of others getting infected by you.
In case someone in your family gets tested positive for COVID-19 and their condition isn’t so bad that they need to be hospitalized, the best thing to do is isolate them. Keeping them in a separate room and maintaining no physical contact with them will ensure that the rest of the family stays safe. Additionally, you should disinfect your house or apartment. Common household disinfectants are recommended such as Lysol or other cleaners that contain disinfectant ingredients. All common areas should be cleaned including bathrooms. You might want to consider a professional to do it for you if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself.
This is the primary safety protocol that has been put forward by health authorities all over the world. Different countries took different steps to keep the spread of the virus in control and contain the numbers of affected persons to a minimum. Many countries moved towards nationwide lockdown. Let’s have a look at how countries responded to the coronavirus disease.
Australia is one of the countries that flattened the curve the fastest. The country closed its borders as soon as the pandemic hit Australia and cases started surfacing. The government declared strict rules to maintain social distancing in public places and community centers, churches, schools, clubs, entertainment venues and beaches were closed.
New South Wales, Australia entered alert level four 15 days after the 100th case was reported. However, in just eight days after this, it had controlled the spread significantly and entered into alert level three. Australia surely responded to the pandemic at the right time and took all the right steps that kept the COVID-19 spread well under control.
We all know how badly the outbreak hit Italy. With thousands of new cases every day, it seemed like there was no stopping to the pandemic in Italy. Italy underestimated the gravity of the situation and responded pretty late. However, when it finally responded, it managed the outbreak very effectively. The country took strict measures. Apart from closing down all public places, they declared a country-wide lockdown and even closed all their essential businesses. The delay caused Italy about 27,000 deaths. However, with strict social distancing protocols and lockdown, they managed to reduce its spread rate significantly.
The COVID-19 pandemic sucked the life out of the city that never sleeps. The virus spread rapidly and ended up overwhelming the healthcare system. New York City, like Italy, had undermined the virus and it declared a lockdown only after the number of COVID-19 cases peaked, then a complete lockdown followed. From a staggeringly high rate of more than 6,000 cases every day in April, New York managed to bring the number down to less than 1,000 cases a day in June.
Singapore has been one of the most successful countries to have managed the COVID-19 outbreak. It took the right measures early on and controlled the situation without having to move towards a complete lockdown. Singapore ran COVID-19 tests extensively. They ensured strict quarantining and created a highly efficient contact tracing system. It quickly entered alert level three from alert level four. However, the only mistake they did was get overconfident about the fact that they had combated the pandemic. As a result, a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country that took it back to alert level four.
This discussion can’t come to an end without the mention of China. It all started in China, but today, it is one of the few countries that have lifted the lockdown and returned to a normal routine. While the virus spread rapidly, China managed to contain it and bring the number of daily cases to zero. The question is – how did they do that?
China tested the people for COVID-19 for free. They built hospitals in a matter of days so that they could cater to the medical needs of the maximum number of people. Not only this, they literally walled off wards in existing hospitals to contain the spread. They also prioritized COVID-19 patients, as patients with other complaints weren’t entertained at the hospitals. Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease, was completely cut off from the rest of the country. The trains didn’t stop at Wuhan station and the flight operations were suspended. China made an excellent contact tracing system that aims to track every individual affected by the virus. Their contact tracing was efficient and their lockdown was strict.
All in all, China responded promptly and aggressively, which is why it is in a better position than the rest of the countries across the world today!
Countries around the globe responded differently. Some responded on time while some delayed responding. Some have been successful at containing the COVID-19 virus while others are still struggling. The only way to combat the virus successfully is – respond promptly and keep trying. The coronavirus pandemic isn’t something you can stay relaxed about and even though there are signs of the virus diminishing in certain areas, we need to still stay vigilant so that it doesn’t return or at least not in the ferocious way it did before.