It was supposed to be a new decade, but in reality the year 2020 forced us all back into a dystopian blockbuster ca. 2012 and introduced COVID-19 or the coronavirus. It caused travel bans, isolated borders, put an indefinite end to major events and called for city- and nationwide quarantine orders—all in a few months. There are more than 100,000 cases and the death toll has exceeded 6,500 worldwide (x). But unfortunately there isn’t much information or facts about coronavirus.
As medical professionals search for answers, the general public falls into a communal sense of panic and hysteria, understandably so. This particular illness is a novice, a virus that researchers have never even seen before in human subjects. And as a result, no one was prepared for it.
But what exactly is this virus driving us all into panic? Where did it come from? Is it really all it’s hyped up to be? How can we separate the facts about coronavirus from fiction? And how long can we expect it to stay?
Common Questions & Facts about Coronavirus
What is coronavirus? Although it’s referred to as a single illness, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is actually only one strain of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines coronaviruses as “a large family of viruses” and the World Health Organization (WHO) claims they are “zoonotic,” meaning they transfer from humans to animals (x, x). Some strains are common in humans and cause mild illness, such as the common cold.
Other strains, on the other hand, typically only infect animals but can evolve into a human coronavirus, such as MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and now COVID-19, the newest virus outbreak. Researchers have never seen this new corona strain in humans until now.
Symptoms: Identifying Coronavirus
Illnesses within this virus family range from mild to severe and symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. Keep in mind that some patients may contract the virus without showing any symptoms, but can still transfer it to other people (x). Symptoms may vary based on the individual, but common ones seem to include:
The following are a few emergency warning signs and require immediate medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent chest pain
- Bluish color in the lips or face
Coronavirus vs. the Flu vs. Seasonal Allergies
Health experts point out that the early virus symptoms may be similar to the flu and even season allergies. In an interview with CNN, Dr. Greg Poland, M.D., professor of medicines and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic, gave several recommendations to differentiate between these cases (x).
Here’s a brief summary, according to Dr. Poland:
- Seasonal allergies usually “affect the nose and eye,” while coronavirus and flu symptoms are typically more systemic and affect the whole body.
- Allergies usually do not cause a fever or shortness of breath, unless the patient has a preexisting condition, such as asthma.
- Allergies usually occur regularly around the same time of year.
- The flu or coronavirus can cause “severe muscle or joint ache,” whereas a cold or allergies usually do not.
- A common cold or mild flu will usually resolve itself over time, while coronavirus and acute flu symptoms may progress. Poland says it’s important for patients to take note if their symptoms persist.
- A unique symptom of coronavirus is shortness of breath.
Based on the facts about coronavirus that we do know, the illness usually accompanies recent travel or other specific risks for exposure, according to Dr. Poland. Ask yourself if you or someone close to you has traveled recently and where, if you live in or near an outbreak area or if anyone from an outbreak area has visited your home.
Poland advises that if patients are worried they should describe their symptoms to a doctor “and they’ll make a decision.” Though the worry is justifiable, Poland points out that it’s important to think critically about your suspicions because research is limited and physicians “can’t test everybody.”
Is Coronavirus Contagious?
Coronavirus seems to be extremely contagious. Researchers are still learning exactly how it spreads, but so far the virus seems to be spreading very easily. The main modes of coronavirus transmission thus far are person-to-person contact (within about 6 feet) and respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. It may also spread through contact with contaminated objects or surfaces, such as tables, countertops, keyboards and other things that we touch frequently throughout the day (x).
Who Is Most at Risk?
As of Monday morning March 16, 2020, the death toll is 6,717 worldwide (x). Anyone can contract COVID-19. Although health professionals are still learning about the virus, statistics state that there are certain populations more at risk for serious illness and complications, including older adults.
What to Keep in Mind about Coronavirus
As stated in various media outlets, the United States government has declared the outbreak a “national emergency” (x). With no vaccine and no cure in the foreseeable future, the spread of COVID-19 has not only evolved into a worldwide pandemic, but has triggered a collective sense of fear and uncertainty.
Officials have closed schools, restaurants and tourist attractions across the nation and canceled or rescheduled a variety of sports and entertainment events to prevent large crowds and reduce the risk for transmission (x).
The virus also impacts the economy in the United States and abroad (x) and as of Monday, March 26, 2020, stocks fell more than 7% followed by a 15-minute pause in trading that same morning (x). Grocery store shelves are bare as people in communities stock up on toilet paper, hand sanitizer, perishable foods and other essentials in apocalyptic-like preparation.
Be Cautious of the Hype
In the midst of all the hysteria, news outlets like the Washington Times analyzed whether the media has played a role in dramatizing the severity of the coronavirus epidemic, pointing out that images of the virus “dominate” social media and the news cycle (x).
The article includes statements from E. Alison Holman, an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine whose publications include research on mass-trauma events in the media. She claims that “major media outlets” advised people to buy toilet paper in preparation for quarantine from the coronavirus—which may explain the influx—and claims that the worry may be “a little overblown.”
Don’t Panic, Just Be Careful
Another expert, Dr. Robert Quigley, states, “We’re dealing clearly with a pandemic for all intents and purposes, but the vast majority of us who are going to contract the disease are not going to be significantly impacted.” Researchers and health experts encourage the public to stay calm in order to properly protect themselves and others from illness. That includes knowing the facts about coronavirus and keeping them in perspective, rather than spreading stigma (x).
However, that is not to downplay the severity of the situation. The virus has taken lives and obviously has the potential to be very dangerous, especially because there is so little research surrounding it in human cases. But research is, in fact, progressing (x). In USA Today, Dr. Robert Kuse at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore offered an encouraging statement to the public. Kuse is “shocked… at the measures that have been taken” to find treatment. He says, “I’m very hopeful and very positive. We’ll all get through this.”
How to Protect Yourself & Others from Corona Infection
That being said, because there is no cure, prevention is the best treatment for now. The CDC and other healthcare experts currently recommend practicing good hygiene, “social distancing” at least 6 feet between yourself and other people and avoiding large crowds or gatherings to prevent the virus from spreading further (x).
Strengthen Your Immune System
Another way to protect yourself from illness in general is to make sure your immune system is in good shape to fight off any illness you may come across. Exercise regularly, get enough sleep and eat a well-balanced diet packed with healthy nutrients to keep the body strong and healthy. You can also try dietary supplements to make sure you’re getting all of the vitamins you need on a daily basis. The following supplements may help support the immune system:
Where to Buy Supplements for Immunity
You can purchase supplements for your immune system at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. Visit BulkSupplements.com to place an order today!
Make sure to consult a doctor before trying any supplement product. They are not intended to completely treat or prevent any disease or health condition on their own, but they may be a natural way to benefit your health. Because there is a limited number of facts about coronavirus, it’s best to visit a doctor for accurate diagnoses and advice.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
By: Taylore Fox