What is Coronavirus, And How Can You Protect Yourself From It?

March 08, 2020

Young man in plaid shirt holding thermometer
Emmanuel Feranmi

You most likely have heard of COVID—19 or what is now widely known as Coronavirus. But you most certainly do not know 100% what this virus is (and many scientists do not know either— it's a novel virus and we are just finding out a lot of things about it). So, today, we'll be talking about coronavirus, and how to stay safe in the face of a looming global pandemic.

Now, one thing you need to know is that coronavirus isn't just one virus. Instead, it is a group of viruses that causes a lot of illnesses. Some of these illnesses aren't severe, while some are quite serious. An example of serious diseases caused by a type of coronavirus is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome which had a similar outbreak in 2012.

The kind of Coronavirus that the world is battling with now is a novel one. This means that it is one that has never been identified by humans prior to this period. This particular virus has been given the name COVID— 19 in order to differentiate it from other kinds of coronaviruses. It is also instructive to note that Coronaviruses are zoonotic. This means that they can be passed from animals to humans.

Coronavirus Can Be Deadly And Is Highly Infectious

One may suppose that this should go without saying. On the 28th of February, the World Health Organization raised the threat assessment of the virus to very high.

Basically, this means that the world should be very alert to the dangers posed by the virus. Thankfully, at this stage of the virus, it can be contained. The World Health Organization reports that as long as the virus isn't yet spreading freely in communities, there is still a way that it can be stopped.

However, the fact that the virus is airborne and easily contracted makes the situation a precarious one.

How To Protect Yourself

The virus has no guaranteed medicine that can treat it, and as of today it has no specific vaccine. This makes it a illness not to have, as you basically only have your immune system to protect you.

However, prevention is better than cure (especially when one isn't easily forthcoming!), so here are some basic tips for protecting yourself.

  • The first tip, and possibly the most important, is to stay away from people who suffer from fever or other symptoms of the virus. That should go without saying, shouldn't it? If you want to stay healthy, you should keep a distance from sick people. The only reasons why health care professionals can attend to sick patients is because they wear a lot of protective gear.
  • People should also remember to wash their hands with soap or alcohol-based hand wash (at least 60%). This should be done before and after preparing food. It's also important to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, as that drastically increases the risks of you getting the virus.
  • Importantly, you should also avoid nonessential travel to countries with high cases of Coronavirus. If you've recently been to China and start experiencing symptoms like fever, cough or difficulty with breathing, you should see a doctor immediately.
  • If you must go to work, make sure to thoroughly disinfect your work area before and after use. If you have an office job, you may consider getting a desk with UV sterilization. A good example is the MonitorStand Workstation S6G/S6T that sterilizes the work area in under ten minutes. It will disinfect your keyboard, mouse, pens, phones, stationery and all others easily.

Your risk of exposure to the virus immediately decreases if you have a healthy and thoroughly disinfected workplace.

Lastly, you should avoid large gatherings or crowds. Viruses spread easily in such situations, and you may have no way of defending yourself.

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