The Novel Coronavirus 2019 Pandemic Saga

Explained-The myth, truth, and beyond

Dr. K P Vasudeva Rao
7 min readDec 16, 2020

Everyone has something or the other to say about their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are reading this article, the chances are that you-

  • Have survived the Coronavirus attack
  • Are still fighting to stay alive in the face of the uncertainty of getting attacked by the virus
  • May have got the disease but did not know about it because some do not show the signs and symptoms.
  • Some of your family members must have caught it, and everyone went through hell, some surviving and others not.

All said and done, ever since its arrival in December 2019, this virus has made its mark on the lives of one and all. And with it, all the circulating stories — The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

In this article, I will try and decode the story behind this deadly virus as much as possible. Let’s get on-

The Origin of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 -

A lot has been written about the Novel Coronavirus about its origins, and most of it is speculation. Some say it originated from bats, some say by eating snakes sold in a fish market in Wuhan City, China. But there is no scientific backing for all that is being said. So, this is a Myth. Here’s the truth-

Somewhere and sometime back in December 2019, in a place called Wuhan in China, in a lab researching viruses, the Coronavirus made its landfall like a cyclonic storm. ( Was is it due to a spill, by any chance? Nobody can say for sure, but it is highly possible). And from there, the storm got extra wings to spread all over the world to warrant a state of a pandemic. Here’s what the World Health Organisation {WHO} has to say in its report of 23rd April 2020-

All available evidence for COVID-19 suggests that SARS-CoV-2 has a zoonotic source. Since there is usually limited close contact between humans and bats, it is more likely that transmission of the virus to humans happened through another animal species, one that is more likely to be handled by humans. This intermediate animal host or zoonotic source could be a domestic animal, a wild animal, or a domesticated wild animal and, as of yet, has not been identified.

As you can see, nobody is sure about the origin of the COVID-19 virus. It is human nature to sweep the dust beneath the carpet rather than accept the mistake and blame some other source( in this case, the poor bats). For more evidence that bats were not responsible, read what this scientist- Shi Zhengli- from Wuhan Institute of Virology has to say-

She claimed that the lab has done bat virus surveillance in Hubei Province for many years, but have not found that bats in Wuhan or even the wider Hubei Province carry any coronaviruses that are closely related to SARS-CoV-2. “I don’t think the spillover from bats to humans occurred in Wuhan or in Hubei Province,” she claimed. Source-Science Wire

So, there are claims and counter-claims. Nobody is sure about the origin of the COVID-19 virus. All said and done, the common people on the streets are the sufferers because of the carelessness of research by some over-enthusiastic scientists- read here.

Conclusion —

  • Myth- Bats were responsible for the spread of Coronavirus. They were not!
  • Truth- Probable spill at a lab- Wuhan Institute of Virology, in Wuhan, China, where research on viruses is being carried out. This may be the truth.

Where do we go from here?

How do you know for sure you have contracted the disease? Well, there are tests that help diagnose Covid-19. They are( you all must be well aware of it by now)-

  • RT- PCR test- This is the key test with swabs taken from the suspected patient’s nose and throat. Recently I got my daughter tested for the same. After the swabs were taken, I asked her how she felt about the test. Her response- “Horrible.” Fortunately, the test came out to be negative. The real ordeal starts if the test comes out to be Positive. I have seen families going into a huddle and panic mode after that. My job as a family physician has been to pacify their fears and help them lead a better life.
  • COVID Antigen test- This is a blood test which detects presence of antibodies to the Coronavirus antigen. It comes positive after 2 to 3 days of getting infected. Not much reliable, although it rings a bell that you may be a candidate.
  • The Smell test — One of the most prominent symptoms appearing after 2 to 3 days of flu like symptoms is loss of smell and taste. Many of my patients have reported this and they have been tested positive. Recently an interesting article appeared in The Times of India that claims smelling coffee may be a key to diagnosis of COVID-19 infection.
  • X-Ray and HRCT of the chest- If someone gets a fever and all other signs and symptoms of the flu, one may not necessarily test positive for COVID-19. However, if the symptoms disappear, and the patient starts feeling uncomfortable and breathless, we order an X-Ray chest and a CT- scan called HRCT. If the patient has the disease, changes like ground glass appearance is seen in the lungs, which is typical of Coronavirus pneumonia. This patient needs urgent admission in the ICU with ventilator facilities. This image will show how it looks like-

Image by the Author

  • Checking your Oxygen levels by using a pulse oximeter- This can surely help you diagnose Covid-19 especially if you are breathless and your SpO2 level is below 90%.

These are a few important investigations in COVID-19 infection you should be aware of .

What precautionary measures should you take to prevent COVID-19 infection?

It’s almost eleven months of the pandemic, and most of us are now familiar with the precautionary measures, namely-

  1. Wearing of masks- Frankly speaking, I do not agree fully with wearing face masks eternally- they are suffocating if worn for longer periods. Are they really effective in staving off the disease? I do not agree fully with others on this point. My argument is- the virus is so microscopic, will it not penetrate the mask? Yes, it can. So why wear one? Dr. Jeff Livingston, in his article- This Is The Single Easiest Way To Help During the Pandemic- has explained the importance of wearing a mask. Do read it- it’s very informative and interesting. This is of special importance if someone in the crowd is coughing a lot.
  2. Regularly sanitizing your hands- This measure can really help you prevent the disease. You never know whether you have touched something that may have the virus on it. Moreover, we all have a habit of touching our nose or rubbing our eyes, which are supposed to be the virus's known entry points in our body. Frequent sanitizing of hands can take care of this.
  3. Social distancing- Again, I don’t understand the logic behind this. If the virus is freely floating in the air, we are exposed anyway. So how is this gonna help? Maybe, it can help to avoid getting infected if someone around is coughing. You must have noticed one good thing- there is less crowd now, and the jostling also is minimum, a discipline which is sorely missing in India and probably, the USA too.
  4. Avoid eateries and the food they serve- I had one 86 year old patient who had caught the virus. This patient had never ventured out, nor gone to any eateries. But he regularly ordered food from outside almost every day. And he got severely breathless one day, and his SpO2 had dropped to 82%. He never had asthma in his whole life spanning 86 years. He was admitted to the hospital for further care, and he recovered fully. It is assumed that the delivery person must have infected him. Delivery people or couriers can be carriers of this deadly virus.
  5. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables- Fresh fruits and vegetables contain lot of antioxidants that are known to fight free radicals. Research shows that the Coronavirus may be releasing free radicals that are harmful to our body parts like the lungs and the brain. So, eating fruits and vegetables may help to stave off the disease.
  6. Get vaccinated- Recent posts by authors on the Coronavirus Blog Team publication have discussed a lot about vaccines. So I will skip it here, but you can read all about it in these articles by Yasmin Tayag , Dana G Smith , Elemental Editors, Dr Jeff Livingston, ScienceDuuude. My suggestion - as and when the vaccine comes to your city, go get vaccinated.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. If you have any queries on the clinical aspects of COVID-19, you are welcome to ask them in your comments. I will try to answer them in the best possible way.

Adios.

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Dr. K P Vasudeva Rao

I am Dr.K.P.Vasudeva Rao.I am a General Medical Practitioner living in India. I write blogs on my website:-https://raodoctor.com/ on health related issues.