What is COVID-19?

The term COVID-19 essentially means Coronavirus Disease 2019. It refers to an illness caused a novel coronavirus that has been named SARS-CoV-2, which means Severe Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. Coronaviruses are a zoonotic family of viruses which means they are transmitted from animals and people. These viruses result in illnesses like the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and the common cold. COVID-19, a novel strain of coronavirus, was identified for first-time humans in 2019. It was first reported to WHO on December 31 in Wuhan, China.

Since January, COVID-19 has spread across most countries of the world, infecting over 60 million people and resulting in over 1.5 million deaths across the globe. This is an addition to the accompanying overburden of health facilities which has resulted in marginalised healthcare for people with other diseases. Furthermore, the disruptive nature of the COVID-19 has left many economies struggling.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of the disease might appear within 2 to 14 days after exposure as the incubation period of the virus may differ among individuals. Common symptoms include Fever, Tiredness, Cough, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, runny nose and muscle aches.

Notably, some less common symptoms could be observed in persons. The severity of these symptoms also varies among individuals with some experiencing very severe symptoms, while others were experiencing mild ones. In exceptional cases, the individual might not experience any symptom at all.

The existence of underlying conditions could play a major role in the severity of symptoms of individuals. Some such conditions include the weakened immune system, cancer, sickle cell disease, diabetes, asthma, liver disease and severe obesity. Similarly, older people are at higher risk of experiencing severe illness from COVID-19.

Protecting Yourself from COVID-19

To protect yourself from COVID-19, it is important that you understand how it spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly among persons in close contact, usually within about 6 feet. It spreads by respiratory droplets that exit a person’s body through coughing, sneezing, breathing, singing or talking.

These droplets could be inhaled in close range or could land in the mouth nose or eyes of a person nearby. The droplets could also land on surfaces or on the hands of persons which might then make it to one of the openings in the body, mainly through the touching of the face.

Based on the above, to protect yourself from COVID-19, you should avoid crowded places and keep and distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Also, it would be best if you washed your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.


Further, you commit yourself to make use of a facemask when going outside. Avoid touching face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. You should also stay away from sick people and avoid coming in close range with people exhibiting symptoms.

Finally, you should stay at home as much as you can and only go out when necessary. If you begin to feel any of the symptoms, do not hesitate to take a COVID-19 test and consult your medical practitioner.