English Health

Coronavirus – A Deadly Spread

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Overview

  • In late November 2019, a deadly virus rose from the city of Wuhan, China and spread across.
  • Initially it didn’t seem to be more than the common flu as many of the cases recovered and death rate was low.
  • The disease quickly spread throughout the world. India reported its first death on March 12th 2020, who was a 76 years old patient. 

Table of contents

  1. COVID-19: the Rise
    1. Origin of the Coronavirus
  2. COVID-19 as a Global Pandemic
  3. Coronavirus in India
    1. The Story of Spread
    2. The First Lockdown
  4. Evaluating the Government’s Decisions
    1. Behind the Data
  5. Impact of COVID-19 on India
  6. Proposed Measures
  7. Endnote

1. COVID-19: the Rise

1.1. Origin of Coronavirus

The story goes back to November 2002 pneumonia rose in the city of Guangdong, China. It had symptoms similar to common flu and it was found to be an animal to human transmission. When the viruses of this disorder were studied, the structure of the virus was found to be similar to crown, so it was called coronavirus. Corona means ‘crown’ in Latin. Virus targeted the respiratory system of the victim. So the disease was called severe acute respiratory syndrome – SARS-CoV. Then the deadly epidemic started which continued for the next 9 months. It affected around 8,000 lives and left 774 dead bodies behind. For China, it was a really tough task to tackle the SARS but the days rolled on, countries recovered and everything became usual.

After some 16 years of nightmare, again a similar kind of severe viral infection was noticed in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province of China.The first case of infection was reported on November 17th 2019. Since it looked like a common flu, the doctors took it lightly. 

 But, when a wide range of patients reported similar kinds of symptoms, a doctor – Dr. Li Wenliang of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Lab, claimed that it was a type of severe acute respiratory syndrome. He told that it was spreading through a new type of coronavirus.  The virus was spreading rapidly throughout the Hubei province. Dr. Li himself died of the same deadly infection.

It was only known to exist in Wuhan till late January 2020. Life was normal in other parts of the world.

A grand Cruise Ship called Diamond Princess was all set for it’s two weeks’ journey. The journey started from Yokohama (Japan). It had to sail to China, Vietnam, Taiwan and back to Japan. People boarded on January 20th 2020, but as the journey was about to end, on February 1st the news came that a passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25th, tested positive for coronavirus.

The journey was cancelled as per the orders of the Japanese health instructors and all the passengers along with the crew were asked to have a check-up.

Once the tests started, the toll too started rising. This ship was carrying around 3500 passengers. This ship was being considered as the carrier of the deadly virus. 

No one knew what it should be called, but it had become a disaster. Since people were calling it as Wuhan virus or China virus while some others were referring to it as the 2019-nCoV in brief. Finally, on Feb. 11th 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave an official name to the disease: COVID-19. It’s symptoms were figured out to be, fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, sniffles etc… 

Over 3,200,000 people were infected throughout the world within 100 days of the COVID-19 outbreak and over 229,085 people died

100 days of COVID-19 spread

In the upcoming section we’ll be exploring few of the Global Pandemics.

2. COVID-19 as the Global Pandemic

COVID-19 wasn’t the first deadly spread. Pandemics have kept on appearing since thousands of years back, or maybe even early. Although, different pandemics had different levels of disasters. Global pandemics have been the most dangerous ones, crushing thousands of lives and hitting millions of people, all over the earth.

In the pages of history, we find that in every century, at least one such pandemic comes into action.

  • Great Plague of Marseille: 1720
    As per the records, the Great Plague of Marseille started when a ship called Grand-Saint-Antoine docked in Marseille, France, carrying a cargo of goods from the eastern Mediterranean.
    It continued for the next three years, killing up to 30% of the population of Marseille.
  • First Cholera Pandemic: 1820
    In 1820 the First Cholera Pandemic occurred in Asia.It was a bacterial infection caused due to the contaminated water.Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines were the most affected countries. This pandemic claimed around 100,000 lives. 
  • Spanish Influenza/Flu: 1920
    Spanish Flu was the most recent and the most unrelenting pandemics. It infected around half a billion people and killed 100 millions. The Spanish flu holds the record for the deadliest pandemic in history.

As the world entered the 21st century, several deadly diseases started popping up. Since of which are:

  • Avian/Bird Flu (H5N1) – 2001
  • SARS-CoV – 2002-03
  • Swine Flu (H1N1) – 2009
  • Large Ebola – 2016 etc..

Out of the above four, three came from china. 

The novel coronavirus is considered a newer version of the previous SARS coronavirus (2003). Due to it’s quick spread and deadliness, WHO declared the COVID-19 as a global pandemic March 2020.

3. Coronavirus in India

3.1. The Story of Spread

It was 30th Jan 2020, when a girl from Kerala tested positive for COVID-19. She had returned from China for her holidays. She was a student at Wuhan University. As soon as the girl developed symptoms, she was referred to the hospital at Thrissur Government General Hospital, Kerala. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of this pandemic in India.

Situation was still under control. Then a few more cases were seen. By the end of Feb, cases remained constant at 3.  From 4th of March a rapid increase in the COVID-19 positive cases was seen. The government immediately imposed a ban on international flights.

The timeliness of government was praised throughout the world.  It had slowed down the rate of spread but the cases kept on coming. On 24th March, when the total confirmed COVID-19 cases’ reached 519, India imposed the first complete lockdown of 21 days. It was a big thing for one of the major populations throughout the world.

Since then, the country has never returned to the same track as it was in the beginning of 2020.

3.2 The First Lockdown

There was no restriction for the citizens before March 24th. People could hang-out. All the public transports, hotels, malls, schools, shops etc were on their usual tracks.

But this 21-days’ lockdown seemed crazy to some people. It was unexpected for them that the world’s largest democracy will go on a complete lockdown just after 519 cases, while the most affected countries were still working properly. In the next section we will try to find out the reason behind this quick action. 

4. Evaluating the Government’s Decisions

In this section we will try to evaluate the decision of Indian government- to impose a complete lockdown merely after having 519 cases. 

4.1. Behind the data

In most cases it is seen that even after the viral attack, these symptoms are not shown for an average of 5 days. This period is called the incubation period. The average fatality duration due to this viral flu is found to be 20 days. It is seen that, before the infected person is identified, he affects 2 to 3 people. This estimated number of possible infections transmitted from any single infected person is officially termed as the reproduction rate or reproduction number. Till March 2020, the Reproduction Number for COVID-19 was 2.5, thought-out the world. The reproduction number  of a disease depends upon the density of the population as well as how frequently the people are interacting. 

Now, it can easily be inferred that any disease is likely to grow more widely during its incubation period and so grows the reproduction number.

As India is the world’s 2nd most populated country with a huge population density, the rate of interaction of the Indians is higher than many other countries in the world. That gives a clue that soon the interaction among people will reduce, the curve of growth of the pandemic will also fall down. It could have been one of the reasons behind this early lockdown.

If a death is reported on any particular day due to this disease, it can highly be estimated that the patient died might have caught the virus some 20 days back, around 5 days of which were incubation period. If the person would transmit the virus to 2-3 more people during this period, a new chain can be thought to have already been started.

CountryConfirmedNew CasesDoubles InDeathsRecoveredDeath (%)
INDIA5198639401.73
COVID-19 stats in India on March 24th, 2020

We can see that out of every 100 patients, 1.73 (approximately 2) were dying. Can you imagine how many people might have been affected by these 1.73% patients in the last 20 days, since they got infected? 

It clearly means that the actual number of cases must have been far more than the reported ones. In the same direction, we tried to explore the situation before 24th March in India. You can see the estimated numbers after our complete study: 

Estimated COVID-19 cases in India till March 24th

This study clearly tells why the world’s 2nd most populated country was brought to a complete halt within 55 days, since it recorded its first COVID-19 victim.

This is shocking but it says that by the time India had 519 known patients of COVID-19 l, it parallelly had at least 878 unknown patients.

5. Impact of COVID-19 on India

As per the updates till 3rd June, India has recorded over 214,000 COVID-19 positive cases along with over 6,000 deaths. The major loss that the nation is facing is the loss of lives. The country is recording more than 6,000 new cases and hundreds of deaths everyday. It is a major loss to the life and economy.

The coronavirus has spread exponentially in the country. The following animation shows the growth of total confirmed cases till June 2nd, 2020.

Cumulative COVID-19 cases in various states of India

The country has lost so much in terms of economy and development. Hawkers, small business holders along with the labourers are the most affected people. The students’ education and examinations have also been postponed. Universities were compelled to postpone their entrance tests and rethink on the schedules for the commencement of their annual sessions.

But, apart from these losses, India consists of the highest number of youth population i.e. around 356 million. It is more important to save the lives of citizens. In order to achieve this goal, the lockdown was a necessity for the nation.

6. Proposed Measures

The first and the foremost measure to break this exponential growth of COVID-19 in any place all over the world is to stay in and maintain the social distancing. This is the main reason behind a sequence of the lockdowns in the country since 24th March.

Now, when India has become the 7th most affected country in the world, citizens must follow the precautions that are recommended.

7. Endnote

COVID-19 has turned a deadly pandemic for the world. We have closely monitored the growth and the measures taken. In the moments of global disaster we have also seen some great people who have served humanity in hard times. Besides these, the hope we shine. The world will get back on the track.

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