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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease quickly spread worldwide, resulting in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and distributed in various countries, which have initiated mass vaccination campaigns. Other preventive measures include physical or social distancing, quarantining, ventilation of indoor spaces, use of face masks or coverings in public, covering coughs and sneezes, hand washing, and keeping unwashed hands away from the face. While work is underway to develop drugs that inhibit the virus, the primary treatment is symptomatic. Management involves the treatment of symptoms through supportive care, isolation, and experimental measures.The pandemic has triggered severe social and economic disruption around the world, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. Widespread supply shortages, including food shortages, were caused by supply chain disruptions and panic buying. Reduced human activity led to an unprecedented decrease in pollution. Educational institutions and public areas were partially or fully closed in many jurisdictions, and many events were cancelled or postponed during 2020 and 2021. Many white-collar workers began working from home. Misinformation has circulated through social media and mass media, and political tensions have intensified. The pandemic has raised issues of racial and geographic discrimination, health equity, and the balance between public health imperatives and individual rights. (Full article)
About the virus
SARS‑CoV‑2 belongs to the broad family of viruses known as coronaviruses. It is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA (+ssRNA) virus, with a single linear RNA segment. Coronaviruses infect humans, other mammals, including livestock and companion animals, and avian species. Human coronaviruses are capable of causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS, fatality rate ~34%). SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh known coronavirus to infect people, after 229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1, MERS-CoV, and the original SARS-CoV.
Like the SARS-related coronavirus implicated in the 2003 SARS outbreak, SARS‑CoV‑2 is a member of the subgenus Sarbecovirus (beta-CoV lineage B). Coronaviruses undergo frequent recombination. The mechanism of recombination in unsegmented RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 is generally by copy-choice replication, in which gene material switches from one RNA template molecule to another during replication. The SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequence is approximately 30,000 bases in length, relatively long for a coronavirus—which in turn carry the largest genomes among all RNA families. Its genome consists nearly entirely of protein-coding sequences, a trait shared with other coronaviruses. (Full article)
As of 6 June 2023, 767,364,119 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, resulting in 6,938,340 reported deaths.
|Republic of Ireland||1,712,113||8,960|
|United Arab Emirates||1,067,030||2,349|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||402,998||16,347|
|Trinidad and Tobago||191,496||4,390|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||96,652||1,467|
|Papua New Guinea||46,864||670|
|Isle of Man||38,008||116|
|Federated States of Micronesia||26,458||65|
|Republic of the Congo||25,196||389|
|United States Virgin Islands||25,086||131|
|Central African Republic||15,367||113|
|Northern Mariana Islands||13,917||41|
|Collectivity of Saint Martin||12,303||46|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||9,631||124|
|Antigua and Barbuda||9,106||146|
|British Virgin Islands||7,305||64|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||6,602||46|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||6,588||38|
|Sao Tome and Principe||6,575||80|
|Wallis and Futuna||3,508||7|
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||3,426||2|
|Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha||2,166||—|
About the symptoms
The symptoms of COVID-19 are variable depending on the type of variant contracted, ranging from mild symptoms to a potentially fatal illness. Common symptoms include coughing, fever, loss of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia), with less common ones including headaches, nasal congestion and runny nose, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, eye irritation, and toes swelling or turning purple, and in moderate to severe cases, breathing difficulties. People with the COVID-19 infection may have different symptoms, and their symptoms may change over time. Three common clusters of symptoms have been identified: one respiratory symptom cluster with cough, sputum, shortness of breath, and fever; a musculoskeletal symptom cluster with muscle and joint pain, headache, and fatigue; and a cluster of digestive symptoms with abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. In people without prior ear, nose, or throat disorders, loss of taste combined with loss of smell is associated with COVID-19 and is reported in as many as 88% of symptomatic cases. (Full article)
About the spread
COVID-19 is mainly transmitted when people breathe in air contaminated by droplets/aerosols and small airborne particles containing the virus. Infected people exhale those particles as they breathe, talk, cough, sneeze, or sing. Transmission is more likely the more physically close people are. However, infection can occur over longer distances, particularly indoors.
Infectious particles range in size from aerosols that remain suspended in the air for long periods of time to larger droplets that remain airborne briefly or fall to the ground. Additionally, COVID-19 research has redefined the traditional understanding of how respiratory viruses are transmitted. The largest droplets of respiratory fluid do not travel far, but can be inhaled or land on mucous membranes on the eyes, nose, or mouth to infect. Aerosols are highest in concentration when people are in close proximity, which leads to easier viral transmission when people are physically close, but airborne transmission can occur at longer distances, mainly in locations that are poorly ventilated; in those conditions small particles can remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours. (Full article)
Animation describing the structure of a coronavirus
Video about what SARS-CoV-2 does to the human body
Video about the transmission of coronaviruses
- 29 May 2023 –
- The Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, unexpectedly announces his intention to resign by the end of the week, citing exhaustion after the COVID-19 pandemic in Western Australia. (ABC)
- 25 May 2023 – 2021–2023 inflation surge
- The German economy enters a recession for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic amid high levels of inflation. (BBC News)
- 5 May 2023 – COVID-19 pandemic
- The World Health Organization announces that it no longer considers COVID-19 to be a global health emergency, instead classifying it as global health threat. (ABC News)
- 10 March 2023 – Corruption in Malaysia
- Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin is charged with corruption and abuse of power by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over a COVID-19 subsidy programme. (CNA)
Did you know?
- ... that as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Paul Alexander tried unsuccessfully to tell Dr. Anthony Fauci what he could and could not say about the coronavirus?
- ... that the Association of Black Cardiologists has shared resources on the impact of coronavirus disease on black communities in response to the higher death rates seen among African Americans?
- ... that Potamophylax coronavirus's range has been described as a battlefield between scientists and hydropower plant management?
- ... that Radio Quarantine was founded in India by a group of professors, directors and PhD students in response to social isolation protocols following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic?
- Total confirmed cases by reporting area3,000 + per 100,000 inhabitants1,000–3,00 per 100,000 inhabitants300–1,000 per 100,000 inhabitants100–300 per 100,000 inhabitants30–100 per 100,000 inhabitants0–30 per 100,000 inhabitantsNone or no data
- Total confirmed deaths by country100+ per 100,000 inhabitants18–100 per 100,000 inhabitants3.3–18 per 100,000 inhabitants0.6–3.3 per 100,000 inhabitants0.1–0.6 per 100,000 inhabitants<0.1 per 100,000 inhabitantsNone or no data
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching economic consequences including the COVID-19 recession, the second largest global recession in recent history, decreased business in the services sector during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the 2020 stock market crash, which included the largest single-week stock market decline since the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the impact of COVID-19 on financial markets, the 2021–2022 global supply chain crisis, the 2021–2022 inflation surge, shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic including the 2020–present global chip shortage, panic buying, and price gouging. It led to governments providing an unprecedented amount of stimulus. The pandemic was also a factor in the 2021–2022 global energy crisis and 2022 food crises.
Many fashion, sport, and technology events have been canceled or have changed to be online. While the monetary impact on the travel and trade industry is yet to be estimated, it is likely to be in the billions and increasing. (Full article)
Hazard controls for COVID-19 in workplaces are the application of occupational safety and health methodologies for hazard controls to the prevention of COVID-19. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against severe illness or death from COVID-19. Multiple layers of controls are recommended, including measures such as remote work and flextime, increased ventilation, personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning programs. (Full article)
False information, including intentional disinformation and conspiracy theories, about the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and the origin, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease has been spread through social media, text messaging, and mass media. False information has been propagated by celebrities, politicians, and other prominent public figures. Many countries have passed laws against "fake news", and thousands of people have been arrested for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. The spread of COVID-19 misinformation by governments has also been significant. (Full article)
COVID-19 testing involves analyzing samples to assess the current or past presence of SARS-CoV-2. The two main types of tests detect either the presence of the virus or antibodies produced in response to infection. Molecular tests for viral presence through its molecular components are used to diagnose individual cases and to allow public health authorities to trace and contain outbreaks. Antibody tests (serology immunoassays) instead show whether someone once had the disease. They are less useful for diagnosing current infections because antibodies may not develop for weeks after infection. It is used to assess disease prevalence, which aids the estimation of the infection fatality rate. (Full article)
A COVID‑19 vaccine is a vaccine intended to provide acquired immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19).The COVID‑19 vaccines are widely credited for their role in reducing the spread of COVID‑19 and reducing the severity and death caused by COVID‑19. According to a June 2022 study, COVID‑19 vaccines prevented an additional 14.4 to 19.8 million deaths in 185 countries and territories from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021. Many countries implemented phased distribution plans that prioritized those at highest risk of complications, such as the elderly, and those at high risk of exposure and transmission, such as healthcare workers. (Full article)
Scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (centre, yellow)
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