Overview of the Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are basically large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

However, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China. This is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The virulence and the infectiousness of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is so high, which led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare it as a pandemic in March, 2020. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) emphasised that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans, that SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The COVID-19 at a Glance

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

COVID-19 appears to cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing. From current evidence, about 80 persons out of 100 persons with the disease will recover. In about 10- 15% of cases, it will cause a severe illness. It appears that death is not a common outcome and occurs mostly in elderly patients with underlying health issues.

There is no specific treatment yet for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition but supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.

Message from the NCDC

Through the #TakeResponsibility campaign by the NCDC, Nigerians and residents in the country are urged to join forces and to be proactive by taking greater individual and collective responsibility in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. All COVID-19 related resources, guidelines and real-time updates on new cases in Nigeria can be found on www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng