As the coronavirus situation develops, Health Information Radio will aim to cut through the speculation, debate and misinformation and give you the facts you need to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
The term coronavirus does not refer to a single virus, but rather a family of viruses.
You’ve probably had a coronavirus already – the common cold is sometimes caused by a coronavirus. They’re exceptionally common and coronaviruses are responsible for infections in animals and humans.
Normally viruses of this type infect a certain type of animal, but occasionally, these animal coronaviruses can cross species and infect humans which is what’s believed to have happened here.
Coronaviruses are a completely different family to those that give you the flu. So, while the symptoms may be similar, it’s not right to say this virus is the same as the flu.
This virus is new and at present, we’re still learning much about how it transmits between people, how it causes symptoms, and why it causes very severe illness in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
While there’s a huge amount of research work taking place worldwide to defeat this pandemic, there is currently no treatment or vaccine available which specifically targets this particular virus.
Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. Taking them will have no effect on the virus and may lead to other problems which might contribute to antibiotic resistance.
The disease which the virus causes has been called COVID-19. This disease is a respiratory illness, which means it affects your lungs and airways.
For most people who catch the virus, COVID-19 will cause a reasonably mild illness, that won’t be too dissimilar from what you would experience if you had the flu. However, COVID-19 can have serious implications for the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.
Case fatality rate is the term used for the number of people who die from a disease as a percentage of those who have it. The higher the case fatality rate, the more dangerous catching a disease is.
While the case fatality rate for COVID-19 is low in younger people, it gets bigger – quickly – in those above the age of 60. It’s very important to make clear that deaths have been associated with this virus in ALL age groups, so it is a bad idea to be complacent.
The case fatality rate is also higher in those with pre-existing medical conditions. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and chronic breathing problems have also been shown to increase the risk of you needing hospitalisation from COVID-19.
Because of the risk to the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, it’s really important that all of us do our part to help manage the spread of the virus to protect those most at risk.