What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 stands for COrona – VIrus – Disease – 19 (first reported in 2019). Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes different types of infections. COVID-19 is also called SARS-CoV-2, since it shares 80% of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) genes. SARS was a virus that originated from China in 2003 causing an outbreak in many countries.
Viruses are considered non-living organisms. Viruses get into your system and use your human cells to multiply. This increases the viral load in your body and you start having symptoms because your body is reacting to a foreign organism.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
The virus spreads via infected droplets in the air or on surfaces. These droplets are found in your mouth (saliva), nose and eyes (secretions). Coughing and sneezing spreads the virus to up to 2 meters (6feet) in a direct and indirect way.
- Indirect : via infected surfaces
- Someone touching these surfaces finds the virus on their fingers/hands. If that person touches their mouth, nose or eyes, they are infecting themselves.
- An experiment has shown that the virus, SARS-CoV-2 remains active on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for 2 to 3 days, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 4 hours on copper.
- Direct: being within a radius of 2 meters from an infected person sneezing or coughing
- The infected droplets can land in the nose, eyes, mouth or lungs of someone standing within 2 meters (6 feet) from the coughing or sneezing infected person.
- The virus was detectable in aerosols for up to 3 hours. The current evidence does not suggest COVID-19 being an airborne spread disease, but we are learning daily.
- An airborne transmission is via the droplets nuclei (dried-out residual of droplets that remain suspended in air for long periods of time.) Tuberculosis is an example of airborne transmitted disease.
SARS-CoV-2 is very contagious even when asymptomatic. Studies have shown that the viral load (quantity of virus in one’s system) is as high in symptomatic and asymptomatic symptoms.
- COVID-19: faecal–oral transmission?
- Study suggests new coronavirus may remain on surfaces for days
- Respiratory droplets – Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings
- New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces: SARS-CoV-2 stability similar to original SARS virus
Should I wear gloves?