Impact of Coronavirus on Humans
Authorities have identified the outbreak of a new virus named coronavirus that has spread rapidly in many countries. Coronavirus is known to typically affect the respiratory tracts of humans primarily causing common colds which can at times lead to serious diseases. The disease caused by this virus is named as coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.
COVID-19 is known to impact human being in several stages. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the virus can spread from one person to another within a distance of 6-feet through respiratory droplets of the infected person sprayed while coughing or sneezing. This virus when transferred by touch also has the ability to remain on the surface of an object.
This respiratory virus can enter the human body through the nose, mouth or eyes. Once the virus enters the body it takes 5 to 14 days to develop the relevant symptoms.
The stage-wise impact
· The first phase - After entering the body, the virus first infects the epithelial cells lining the surface of the lung. Inside the host cell, the virus starts replicating until it kills the host cell. This initially takes place in the upper respiratory tract that includes the mouth, nose, larynx and bronchi.
In this stage, the patient experiences mild symptoms like dry cough, headache, muscle pain, tiredness and mild fever. In some cases, patients have also reported gastrointestinal indications like nausea and diarrhea, but this is quite uncommon.
People with good immunity especially young patients can fight back from this stage and recover. But, in older patients or patients with pre-existing diseases, the symptoms become more severe and the infection makes its way to the upper respiratory tract.
· The second phase – In this phase, the lungs are the prime target. Here, the virus keeps replicating and continues its journeys downwards to the windpipe and then into the lung. This is when it has chances of causing more respiratory problems like bronchitis and pneumonia accompanied by cough.
Pneumonia leads to shortness of breath as it affects the tiny air sacs of the lungs known as alveoli and causes the airways to swell. This ultimately impacts the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and also restricts the movement of oxygen in the bloodstream and the major organs like kidney, liver, brain and heart.
With time when too much damage is caused to the lungs and the supply of oxygen to the rest of the body diminishes it causes respiratory failure and ultimately organ failure resulting in death.
So, maintain social distancing to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.