AWARENESS OF CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19)
In early December 2019, there was an extreme increase in cases of severe pneumonia without known causes in Wuhan city in china . On 31 December 2019, China notified World Health Organization (WHO) for this mysterious pneumonia . Few days later, a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified from patients with this pneumonia . On 11 February 2020, WHO announced the official names for disease and its responsible pathogen as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2) respectively . SARS-CoV-2 has zoonotic source (in bat population)  . This pandemic has spread globally  , and the first Rwandan case of COVID-19 was confirmed on 14 March 2020 . Its awareness is of paramount need to prevent its spread and to overcome its effects on health.
Brief description of outbreak
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 . Coronavirus is a genus in coronaviridae family and occur in various distinct forms . Viruses of this family were only known to be responsible for common cold, not for human severe diseases. However, in 2003, coronavirus got a new rank as “emerging pathogen” while a new coronavirus was condemned to cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) .
Anyone can be infected by COVID-19, but older people (age≥65), smokers and those with underlying medical conditions are at high risks of developing severe disease . After a potential exposure, it requires 5-6 days for the symptoms to appear, but they may delay up to 14days . About 41.6% of people attacked by COVID-19 present fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, vomiting/diarrhea and loss of taste/smell while the rest portion remain asymptomatic   .
One case of COVID-19 can leads to the generation of 2-2.5 secondary infections . Droplets are transmission routes for many respiratory diseases including COVID-19. It is directly transmitted though droplets during face-to-face contact with patients suffering from COVID-19 because this may potentially expose his/her mucous membrane of mouth, eyes and nose to infective droplets. Additionally, direct transmission is possible when people meets with surfaces touched by patient, his/her fomites or other objects used by/on patient .
Moreover, even if no airborne transmission reported in Wuhan, it can happen especially during medical intervention that generates aerosols  .
The standard for diagnosing COVID-19 is the detection of SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). For people suffering from COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 is found in broncho-alveolar lavage fluid, sputum, nasal swabs and pharyngeal swabs . Hematological findings and chest computer tomographic imaging results are not specific enough to diagnose COVID-19 .
WHO recommends that patient with suspected or confirmed mild COVID-19 receive symptomatic treatments, those with moderate COVID-19 receive pneumonia treatments and no need for antibiotics whenever there is no suspicion of bacterial infections. Furthermore, those patients with severe COVID-19 require emergency intervention and receive severe pneumonia treatments .
Impacts of COVID-19 on health
This pandemic has affected health in general (physical, social and mental).
In our days due to COVID-19, people are advised to be safe and to stay home. Moreover, some countries are in lockdown. In this line, many activities that may lead to physical active and fitness like walking, going to the gym are restricted . The study carried on 123 obese patients at the UT southwestern weight wellness Program and a community bariatric surgery practice revealed that about 70% and 48% had difficulty in achieving weight loss goal and less time for exercise respectively .
COVID-19 kills many people and due to lockdown and social distancing, 9 out of 10 organizations has closed their doors or limited their operations . Many have lost their jobs and the estimate shows that 42% may result in permanent job loss  .
Most of people including health care workers experience insomnia, fear or anxiety of being infected or transmitting infections to their loved ones. Because of quarantine, many activities that involve human relationship were restricted. Consequently, this has increased anger, confusion stigma and boredom among people  . Moreover, some psychiatric emergencies are potentially to occur because some medical appointment for psychiatric patients were suspended .
What should we do?
Entire world is urged to minimize the risk of exposure to coronavirus through practicing the measures set because it is currently the only effective alternative to pursue .
At home, people are also encouraged to take care because the secondary transmission of COVID-19 through household contact is 16.3% . Therefore, family members have to wash their hands frequently and effectively, clean most frequently touched surfaces, avoid touching
the facial parts, self-isolation in case one has been in contact with a confirmed/suspected case and to early seek medical help .
Outside of homes, it is encouraged to avoid touching nose, mouth and eyes because these facial touches may cause autoinoculation of germs  .
In addition to that, appropriate wearing facial masks and social distancing are crucial in minimizing the risks of infection  .
The estimates from china show that if practicing social distancing alongside with other non pharmaceutical interventions had been initiated three weeks earlier, all cases of COVID-19 could have been reduced by 95% .
“Helping others to cope with their stress make the community stronger” . In order to cope with COVID-19 distress, some groups of people (like children, older people, those with disabilities...) needs special support. Children need opportunity to play and relax and a good environment to express the feelings , while the older people need support as well as accessing the accurate information about the situation and preventive measures. Moreover, their medical and daily livings needs have to be met . Furthermore, people with disabilities needs access to care and information related to prevention of this pandemic .
Familiarizing the comprehensive package of prevention and control measures aimed to limit the spread of COVID-19, requires self-motivation, it has to be kindly considered due neither to uniformity nor lows of governments and related penalties.
The first case of COVID-19 was found among patients who were suffering from pneumonia in Wuhan. It is a preventable and infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Researches show that its reproduction number ranges between 2 and 2.5. Currently, it has spread globally. Not all cases of COVID-19 present symptoms but only 41.6% presents fever, coughing and breathing difficult. Generally, it has greatly affected the people’s health. For instance, many people have lost their lives and due to self-isolation and quarantine, many people have lost their jobs. In addition to those, loneliness, depression, anxiety and substance abuse have been increased. However, all people are advised to consider the package of comprehensive control and preventive measures to stop the spread of this disease. That package comprises frequent handwashing, social distancing, appropriate wearing of masks, clean most frequently touched surfaces, avoid touching the facial parts and self-isolation in case of suspicion of exposure. Furthermore, coping with this pandemic is of paramount need in order to strengthen our community.
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Writer : Anaclet NZAGWANEZA from University of Rwanda