It was a fateful December day in 2019 when China’s Wuhan City identified the first case of COVID-19 during an outbreak of respiratory illness. Since then, the contagious disease has upended the world, infecting millions of people across nations. Globally, as of 29 December 2021, there have been 281,808,270 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
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Multiple strains of the COVID-19 virus
Variants of a virus emerge after the pathogen undergoes genetic changes which may affect its properties, such as how easily it spreads, the severity of associated disease, or their tolerance of vaccines, therapeutic medicines, diagnostic methods, and social measures. According to the WHO, there have been five variants of the virus till now.
Following the “Delta” variant, a new variant of the COVID virus “Omicron” was reported to have emerged from South Africa and has been spreading rapidly to other countries of the world. As the omicron variant continues to spread its tentacles far and wide, many countries have seen record rates of coronavirus infections.
The massive rise in cases has prompted a warning from the World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Delta and omicron are now twin threats driving up cases to record numbers, leading to spikes in hospitalization and deaths,” Tedros told a press briefing.
Dos & don’ts for COVID-19 prevention
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In the current scenario, keeping oneself safe from the virus by taking up precautionary measures is the wisest thing to do. It’s high time people should restart following the preventive methods, which were followed strictly when the virus first started wreaking havoc in 2020.
According to the WHO, one should avoid the 3Cs:
- Crowded places
- Close contact settings
- Confined and enclosed spaces
Having said that, here are a bunch of factors one must take note of while trying to steer clear of the COVID-19 virus.
- In crowded and confined places, people tend to breathe the same air exhaled by others. The condition gets worsened in poorly ventilated and enclosed places. Close contact settings further increase the chances of infection by touch also. Therefore, try to meet people in outside gatherings and avoid meeting indoors. In case of indoor settings, open the windows and ensure proper ventilation to maintain a healthy circulating air.
- Wearing a mask by properly covering your nose and mouth is one of the simplest ways to lower down the spread of virus. A mask is intended to trap respiratory droplets that are released when a person talks, coughs or sneezes. It also acts as a barrier to protect from inhaling droplets released by others.
- Getting vaccinated can provide a good amount of immunity against the virus. Till date, several two dose vaccines have been approved by different nations and a booster dose is also on the way. One should get a particular dose of vaccination as per their eligibility.
- Keeping a good hygiene also plays an important role in providing protection against the virus. Regularly washing of hands with soap water or using an alcohol-based sanitiser can keep the virus at a bay. Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently, especially those which are regularly touched, such as door handles and phone screens.
- When you cough or sneeze, covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or a tissue is good respiratory hygiene. Wash your hands after disposing of the used tissue in a closed bin. You can protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19 by practising these habits.
- In case you are having a fever, cough or breathing difficulty, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Getting a COVID-19 test done is the best way for reassurance. If tested positive, stay home and self-isolate for at least 10 days. Get proper medication and treatment if your condition doesn’t improve on its own.
COVID-19 cases are surging up again with numbers reaching new records. As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, one should be self-conscious about the transmission and preventive measures of this disease. Simply by following some hygiene rules and adopting social distancing guidelines, we can keep ourselves and our community safe.
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