We all know that the world is going through testing times. All the global and local activities have come to a halt. The sole reason behind all this crisis is a viral disease caused by a novel coronavirus “COVID-19”. It is an infectious disease which primarily spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, the infected people show different symptoms including fever, dry cough, tiredness and shortness of breath etc. The disease can have baneful effects on older people and the people with underlying medical problems like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease.
Let’s dig into the spread of this pernicious virus. It all started from a wet market in Wuhan, China, a city of around 11 million people and a transportation hub. The few cases in Wuhan grew to dozens by the end of December. The timing of the outbreak could not have been worse. Hundreds of millions of people were about to travel back to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year. At least 175,000 people left Wuhan just on 1st January, the egress escalated over the next three weeks. About 7 million people left Wuhan in January, before the travel was restricted. Thousands of travelers were infected. By the time Chinese officials acknowledged the risk of human-to-human transmission on Jan. 21, local outbreaks were already seeded in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities. Travel across China nearly stopped in the next few weeks but the local outbreaks were already multiplying swiftly. As the outbreak moved across China in early January, international travel continued as normal.
Thousands of people flew out of Wuhan to cities around the world. The first known overseas case appeared in mid-January, a 61-year-old woman who traveled from Wuhan to Bangkok. About 85% of the infected travelers went undetected and were a grave risk of contagion. It was only at the end of January that Wuhan was placed under a lockdown and airlines started canceling flights. But it was too late. Outbreaks were already growing in over 30 cities across 26 countries, most seeded by travelers from Wuhan. The virus started spreading locally, moving easily in confined spaces like mosques, churches and restaurants, and infecting people who had not traveled to China — the start of a pandemic. By March 1, thousands of cases were reported in different countries across the globe. China was no longer the main driver of the outbreak.
At this time, there is no specific vaccines or treatment for COVID-19. However, washing hands properly and maintaining social distancing is proving efficacious in impeding the spread of this disease.
Wu, Jin, et al. “How the Virus Got Out.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Mar. 2020
Written By Hammad Iqbal