Coronavirus: where does covid-19 come from?
The new SARS-CoV2 virus that causes Covid-19 disease was identified in China in January 2020.
It belongs to the family of coronaviruses that cause diseases ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome. It is not yet known exactly where it comes from, but animal traces are favored.
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China, origin of the coronavirus covid-19
The new coronavirus SARS-Cov2 that causes Covid-19 disease was first discovered in China, in the city of Wuhan. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that mainly affect animals.
Some of them infect humans and most of the time cause mild colds and flu syndromes.
Scientists say it looks a lot like coronaviruses taken from bats. The bat would probably be the reservoir animal for the virus.
However, the virus found in bats cannot be transmitted to humans.
SARS-Cov2 is believed to have been transmitted to humans through another animal that also carries a coronavirus with a strong genetic link to SARS-Cov2.
It is also the pangolin, a small mammal threatened with extinction whose meat, bones, scales and organs are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research is underway in China to confirm this hypothesis.
Therefore, the animal trail is most likely at this time because the first people who contracted Covid-19 in December went to a market in Wuhan (the epicenter of the epidemic) where animals, including wild mammals, were sold.
At the end of January, China decided to temporarily ban the trade in wild animals to curb the epidemic.
How is the coronavirus spreading?
The Covid-19 now reaches 125 countries. On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) called the Covid-19 epidemic a "pandemic" because of the "alarming level" and "severity" of the virus' spread worldwide.
Until then, it was called an epidemic, characterized by a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease in non-immune people in a given region (which may include several countries).
As a reminder, the Covid-19 outbreak began in China, in Wuhan. The latest report dated March 21, 2020, states that more than 242,488 people were infected and more than 3,254 died in the Middle Kingdom.
Update June 11, 2020 - After China, the other areas where the virus is actively circulating are :
- The United States (2,000,464 people contaminated)
- Brazil (772,416 people infected)
- Russia (493,023 people contaminated)
- The United Kingdom (291,588 people contaminated)
- India (276,583 people infected)
- Spain (242,280 people infected)
The objective of the affected countries has been to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible through a series of measures:
- the quarantine of infected persons and those who have been in the vicinity of infected persons.
- a ban on large gatherings of people.
- the closure of stores, schools, day-care centers.
- stopping flights from countries where the virus is actively circulating.
- the application of hygiene rules to protect oneself from the virus (washing hands very regularly, not kissing or shaking hands, coughing and sneezing into the elbow, using tissues, wearing a mask for the sick...).
The different stages of the epidemic
In several countries, in the event of an epidemic, several stages are triggered depending on the evolution of the situation.
Stage 1 aims to limit the introduction of the virus into the national territory, the so-called "imported cases". Specifically, a preventive quarantine is established for people returning from a risk area.
Health authorities also try to find "patient 0", the one who caused the first contamination in a given area.
Stage 2 consists of limiting the spread of the virus, which is still localized in certain areas.
After identifying these famous groups (areas where indigenous cases are grouped), health authorities continue preventive quarantine and may also request the closure of schools and day-care centers, prohibit large concentrations, ask the population to limit their movements, restrict visits to establishments that receive vulnerable people (Ehpad)
Stage 3 is triggered when the virus is actively circulating throughout the country. Its goal is to do everything possible to better manage the epidemic in the country.
Fragile people (the elderly and/or people suffering from other diseases) are protected as much as possible.
The health system is fully mobilized (hospitals, municipal medicine, medical and social institutions) with the support of health professionals.
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