The Coronavirus outbreak (officially known as Covid-19), which started in China, has so far killed over 145,521 people across the globe and infected 2,182,197 (as on April 17, 2020). The virus has spread to 185 countries. In India, 13,287 confirmed cases and 437 deaths have been reported so far, according to official figures released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). To check the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, or Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 23 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, meaning the country’s 1.3 billion citizens — except those engaged in providing essential services — would not step out of their homes.

What is coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they can be transmitted from animals to humans. The spikes protruding from the virus’s membrane look like the sun’s corona. It is from this that the virus gets the name ‘coronavirus’. It causes illnesses of the respiratory tract, ranging from the common cold to severe conditions like SARS. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. 

What is the difference between Coronavirus and Covid-19 

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which originated from China’s Wuhan. On February, World Health Organisation (WHO) named the novel coronavirus “COVID-19”. “Co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”, while “19” was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on December 31. According to the WHO, “there are different procedures, and purposes, for naming viruses and diseases. “Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines.” Viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).  This particular virus was named “severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2” – or SARS-CoV-2. The WHO says that “from a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003”. Hence, the name ‘Covid-19 virus” was given.

Symptoms of coronavirus 

Coronavirus can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold. Some of the symptoms are — A general feeling of being unwell— Runny nose— Sore throat— Headache— Cough— Fever In case someone is facing lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, they must seek professional health immediately.

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