COVID-19 is a new type of infectious virus that belongs to the Coronavirus family of viruses. We’ve encountered these viruses before, such as MERS and SARS, but unlike those two variations, COVID-19 has caused much more damage around the world.
Whereas the former two Coronaviruses were largely kept at bay before they were able to wreak havoc, COVID-19, or SARS-CoV 2 RNA as it’s known, has torn through the global population at an alarming and devastating rate.
COVID-19 origins: How did it start?
COVID-19 emerged at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China, where it is reported people who had visited a seafood market developed viral pneumonia. It has been speculated that the virus may have originated in bats before infecting an animal called a pangolin, which was then the source of transmission from animals to humans. Investigations are still ongoing as to how the virus made the jump to humans.
While Chinese authorities did notify the World Health Organization about the viral pneumonia cases on January 31 2019, a pandemic wasn’t declared until March 11 2020. At this point, COVID-19 was already present in multiple countries and as the saying goes, the stable door was closed after the horse had bolted.
COVID-19 infection: How does it spread?
COVID-19 predominately spreads through droplets of saliva or mucus when an infected person talks, sings, sneezes or coughs within 1 meter of another human. Experts believe if these droplets reach the nose, mouth or eyes of a susceptible person then the virus will spread.
Scientists know that COVID-19 can be picked-up from infected surfaces too, or what experts call fomites. In fact, it is believed that COVID-19 can survive on a surface for up to 72 hours. So if an infected person sneezes and doesn’t cover their nose, then the virus-containing droplets will land on nearby objects and stay there for up to 3 days.
There has been some debate as to whether COVID-19 remains in the atmosphere and can infect people through airborne transmission. Initial studies suggest this form of transmission is less likely but without conclusive evidence, health authorities recommend taking the necessary precautions in public and enclosed places.
COVID-19 prevention: How can you stop the spread of Coronavirus
There are multiple actions you can take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The current recommendations include:
- Wash your hands at regular intervals. Use soap and water alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Adhere to social distancing recommendations, including being at least a 1 metre distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wear a mask when indoors with people you don’t normally interact with.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- If you have symptoms stay at home and avoid contact with others.
- Minimize travel and mixing in groups.
Countries around the world are beginning to vaccinate their citizens against Coronavirus in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We believe letting people know you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step in overcoming the virus. Once you have the vaccine you can buy your wristband here and let the world know you’re helping defeat COVID-19.