Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19 with Risk factors


Coronavirus is a term that refers to a large family of viruses that can cause various respiratory illnesses, ranging from mild to severe. The name comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown, because of the spike-like projections on the surface of the virus particles.

The first coronavirus was discovered in the 1960s, and since then, several types of coronaviruses have been identified, such as:

  • Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E)
  • Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43)
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
  • Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63)
  • Human coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1)

Most coronaviruses infect animals, such as bats, camels, and birds, but some can also infect humans and cause outbreaks of disease. For example, SARS-CoV caused a global epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, and MERS-CoV caused a series of outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) since 2012.

In late 2019, a new type of coronavirus emerged in China and caused a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This virus is officially named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and it is genetically related to SARS-CoV but distinct from it.

SARS-CoV-2 can infect people of all ages and cause mild to moderate symptoms in most cases. However, some people may develop severe complications, such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), septic shock, organ failure, or death. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or cancer, are more likely to have serious outcomes from COVID-19.

The main mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is through respiratory droplets or aerosols that are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, sings, or breathes. These droplets or aerosols can be inhaled by or come into contact with the mucous membranes of another person who is in close proximity (within 1 meter) to the infected person. The virus can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, although this is less common.

The incubation period of COVID-19, which is the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms, is estimated to be between 1 and 14 days, with a median of about 5 days. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Some people may also experience headache, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or skin rashes. Some people may have no symptoms at all or only very mild symptoms. The symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the infection and the immune status of the individual.

There is currently no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. The main strategies to prevent and control the spread of the disease are:

  • Practicing good hygiene measures, such as washing hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Wearing a properly fitted mask that covers the nose and mouth when in public settings where physical distancing is not possible
  • Maintaining at least 1 meter distance from others who are not from the same household
  • Avoiding crowded places and poorly ventilated spaces
  • Staying home and isolating oneself if feeling unwell or having any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Seeking medical attention if having difficulty breathing or other signs of severe illness
  • Getting vaccinated when it is available and following local guidance on vaccination

COVID-19 is a global health emergency that has affected millions of people worldwide and caused significant social and economic impacts. It is important to stay informed and follow the advice of health authorities to protect oneself and others from this disease.