What is COVID-19?
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a contagious virus that attacks the respiratory system. The coronavirus disease attacks people of all ages. You can be infected by breathing in contaminated air. The chances of transmission of COVID-19 are higher if you are in close contact with an infected person. When one is infected, one will get symptoms within 5-6 days of infection.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The symptoms of coronavirus disease vary. When one contacts COVID-19, they can either be symptomatic or asymptomatic. When you are asymptomatic, you have the disease in your body but do not get any symptoms. This way, you can infect more people because you do not exhibit any symptoms. An infected person will take up to 6 days before showing any symptoms. The symptoms associated with coronavirus disease include
- High fever
- Loss of smell and taste
- Sore throat
- Body aches and muscle pain
- Chest pains
- Difficulty in breathing
- Shortness of breath
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately to get checked if it is a coronavirus disease.
In 2019, the first case of the coronavirus disease was reported in Wuhan, China. In Wuhan, people were getting strange pneumonia that had no cause. After further investigations, it was later discovered to be a novel coronavirus. Wuhan had not yet gone into lockdown, which meant that the coronavirus had started spreading to other parts of the world.
In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global concern. This was because more people were dying in China and the virus had started spreading in most countries of the world. On March 11, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
Many countries started reporting cases of COVID-19 infections and deaths. With the COVID-19 spreading very fast, many countries decided to go on lockdown. This meant that no one was allowed in and out of the countries. Continents like Europe and the Americas were experiencing more than the projected infections on a daily. The deaths were also increasing and this was because the people getting the COVID-19 virus had underlying conditions.
As the coronavirus ravaged the entire globe, there was a need to develop a virus that would help in slowing down the vaccine. On March 17, the trials began with an effort towards getting a vaccine available as soon as possible.
The World Health Organization also encouraged people all over the world to start wearing masks as a way of reducing the spread of the coronavirus disease. This advice was taken into action by most countries and governments ordered their citizens to start wearing masks.
In December 2020, the World Health Organization permitted to proceed of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to be administered to people. AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines got approvals later. The governments now had to start a COVID-19 vaccination drive.
The COVID-19 continued to spread throughout the world. Many people were dying because there were not enough intensive care unit beds in hospitals. The hospitals were lacking enough oxygen tanks and this made the deaths increase. The infections were increasing and this time around, everyone was at risk. From the young to the old. COVID-19 was not sparing anyone.
By late 2020, there emerged another strain of the coronavirus disease called the Delta variant. This variant was first discovered in India. The Delta variant was one of a kind. It had all the other symptoms of COVID-19. In addition to that, one of the symptoms that stood out for the Delta variant was a running nose.
The delta variant was more contagious than any other variant. In India, many got affected and infected by the variant. India was recording up to 400,000 new cases of infections every day with close to 4,000 deaths. The high population of India contributed to this. Many also had not been vaccinated and they were ignoring the protocols set by the government of wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
The Delta variant spread throughout the world and there were more infections and fatalities. In Brazil, the Delta variant also hit hard. Brazil recorded up to 600,000 infections a day.
The Omicron variant has many mutations and therefore spreads faster than the other variants. It was first detected in South Africa in November 2021. This variant has also spread all over the world. For the Omicron variant, the symptoms are a bit different. Apart from the other COVID-19 symptoms, Omicron has
- Night sweating
- Running nose
For the Omicron variant, it can feel just like a normal cold. If you get any of these symptoms, get checked to rule out the chance of you having being infected.
Covid-19 in Africa
COVID-19 did not spare the continent of Africa. As of February 10, 2022, the total number of cases reported in Africa is 10,981,695 with deaths standing at 243,088 and recoveries 10,053,765. The numbers are much lower compared to what other continents have experienced.
The African governments took immediate response when the first cases were discovered in Africa. Most of the countries in Africa went into lockdown. The African countries also set restrictions like banning travel and cessation of movement within their countries. All this happened to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease.
In as much as this was done, however, some citizens let their guard down and did not follow the set protocols. During the 2nd wave of the coronavirus, there have been more infections due to ignorance and negligence.
Africa received many vaccines. The African governments are encouraging their citizens to be vaccinated, as this is one of the most effective ways of preventing contracting the coronavirus. Their efforts have not been in vain for there are over 47% of vaccinated people in Africa.
Covid-19 in South Africa
South Africa confirmed its first case of coronavirus disease on 5th March 2020. The first case was reported from KwaZulu Natal. The male patient was from Italy and tested positive upon his return. The president, Cyril Ramaphosa, declared the COVID-19 a state disaster. There were immediate travel restrictions imposed and schools got closed. He also prohibited large social gatherings.
The president also ordered a nationwide lockdown. This lockdown was to reduce the movement of people hence reducing the chances of catching the COVID-19. South Africans started getting the vaccine in February 2021.
In May of the same year, the country experienced the third wave of the COVID-19. The Delta variant was detected in South Africa. The Delta hit South Africa. The number of infected people rose and so did the number of fatalities. Hospitals were full and people who tested positive for the COVID-19 disease could not get beds. The oxygen supply in the hospitals was very low and many passed away while waiting for oxygen in the hospital.
On November 24, 2021, the Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa. Omicron spreads faster than the Delta variant and this posed a great danger to South Africa. The discovery of the Omicron variant led to many countries imposing restrictions against traveling to South Africa. These restrictions did affect South Africa’s economy.
South Africa has had 3.63 million positive COVID-19 cases, with 96,705 fatalities. With these numbers in mind and the Omicron variant at hand, South Africa is pushing its citizens to be vaccinated. South Africa is doing this by encouraging everyone from 12 years and older to get vaccinated. The vaccinated citizens get shopping vouchers and enter into draws where they can win some amount of money.
The South African government is also telling its citizens about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccination. People are encouraged to wear masks at all times and to avoid social gatherings. If anyone should feel sick, they should visit the nearest hospital and get tested.
South Africa’s vaccination drive is bearing fruits. More people are going to hospitals and clinics to get the vaccination. 30,468,125 million people in South Africa have gotten the vaccination. The South African government is making it easier for refugees and asylum seekers to get the vaccination. All they have to do is provide their refugee or asylum number and get the vaccine. Young adults between the ages of 12 to 17 years, just need their birth certificate to get a vaccine. South Africa is offering the Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca vaccines.
It is one of the most effective ways of preventing yourself and others from getting the COVID-19 virus. If vaccinated, your chances of getting the COVID-19 will be lower. If you happen to contract the virus, then the symptoms will be milder. You will also be at a lower chance of infecting other people if you test positive for COVID-19. The vaccines are available to everyone.
There are several vaccines. These include
- Johnson and Johnson vaccine
- Moderna vaccine
- AstraZeneca vaccine
- Pfizer vaccine
It is now advisable for people to get booster shots. It is due to the new variants that are emerging.
When the World Health Organization advised people to wear masks when COVID-19 had started, some people were a bit skeptical. Most countries made it mandatory for their citizens to wear masks while outside. Wearing a mask is beneficial.
One should wear a well-fitting mask. It will protect you from any COVID-19 particles that might be in the air. If someone is talking to you, wearing a mask will protect you from the saliva droplets one might spit while talking.
Wearing a mask around people with underlying conditions and older people will also prevent them from contracting COVID-19. Wearing a mask will not only save your life but also that of others.
Maintain social distance
People should stay at least 1 meter apart from each other. It is because you might not know who could be infected with the COVID-19 virus. Remember, some people might be asymptomatic and not show any symptoms. Keeping your distance will prevent any particles from transferring from them to you.
While going to the supermarket, church, and banking halls make sure you have kept your social distance and follow the guidelines set in such areas.
Avoid crowded places
Crowded places are the red zone for COVID-19. It is especially true if their place is indoors and crowded. Staying in such a place will make you at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. Avoid indoor crowded places and interact with many people in places like concerts, weddings, or even funerals.
Wash your hands
Always wash your hands with soap and water after getting out of the house. When you greet people, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to sanitize your hands. This will help you to prevent contacting COVID-19. Instead of shaking people’s hands, you can fist-bump them.
When you cough and sneeze, cover your mouth with your elbow. You can also use a tissue and dispose of it immediately after using it. Once you have coughed, you should wash or sanitize your hands to prevent the spread of any infections.
You should also avoid touching surfaces. If you touch any surface, sanitize your hands, as soap and water might not be readily available.
Make sure when you enter rooms, all the windows are open. It is to allow the circulation of air inside the room.
If you feel unwell, stay at home and get the medical help you need.
Lastly, follow the guidelines and protocols set aside by your local authority. These are there for your benefit and protection.
The coronavirus disease will be with us for some time. It is upon you to make sure that you protect yourself and your loved ones. Doing this is very easy. Vaccinating yourself against COVID-19 is the first step. The vaccination will give you the needed protection. Following the government’s directives will also help you. Mask up! Take good care of your health. Eat healthily and drink a lot of water. All this will prove to be helpful as you join others in the fight towards the COVID-19 virus.