What is COVID-19
All our lives have been affected in some way by the novel coronavirus which emerged in China at the end of 2019. It is thought to have originated in animals, possibly bats, but this has not been proven.
Covid-19 is the infectious disease which is caused by the new coronavirus. It has spread to over 200 countries and whilst its symptoms are usually mild, it has led to a small percentage of those who have become infected becoming very ill. Over 75m cases have been reported with, sadly, over 1.6m people dying as a result of becoming infected, usually from respiratory complications including pneumonia.
The most common symptoms are:
- A continuous cough
- An elevated temperature
- Loss or change of sense of taste and/or smell
People who have fallen ill with Covid-19 have also reported tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, conjunctivitis and rashes.
Those most likely to suffer severe illness if they become infected are people classified as “clinically extremely vulnerable”. That means:
- You have had an organ transplant
- You are receiving treatment for cancer
- You have a severe lung condition
- You have a condition which means you are at high risk of contracting infections
- You are taking medication which makes it more likely that you will contract infections
- You are pregnant and you have a serious heart condition
If you are classified as “clinically vulnerable”, then you have a lower risk of becoming severely ill if you are infected. That means:
- You are pregnant
- You have a less severe lung condition
- You have heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or liver disease
- You have a brain or nervous disorder
- a condition that can lead to a high risk of infection
- a condition that requires you to take a medicine that can affect the immune system
- You are very obese
Despite much research, there are no treatments which definitely work, though some drugs have been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms.
There is no vaccine against the infection yet, but there is a global effort to develop one.
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