Why Coronavirus Is So Dangerous And How To Stay Safe

Why Coronavirus is dangerous

The recent pandemic has spread in almost all countries with cases doubling within few days. This novel virus is called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that causes the disease called COVID-19. Everyone simply calls it Coronavirus.

India is currently experiencing its second wave which quite more devastating than the first one.

Why Coronavirus so dangerous? 

Because it causes too many cells in your body to be killed at a very fast rate.

To understand this first we need to know:

What happens when Coronavirus infects a human?

The virus is just an enclosure of genetic material and proteins. It only knows to make more copies of itself by entering a living cell. Coronavirus can spread from surfaces, but it's still unclear for how long it can survive on surfaces. Its main way of spreading is through droplet infection. When an infected person coughs and if you inhale the droplets that are floating in the air or if you touch someone who has the Coronavirus infection, by your hands and then you touch your face or rub your eyes or nose, you would get infected.

Once the virus enters deeper into the body, its likely destinations are the intestines, the spleen, or the lungs where it can have the most dramatic effect.

The lungs are lined with billions of epithelial cells. A mucous membrane, also known as the mucosa, is a membrane that lines body cavities and protects the surface of internal organs. It is made up of one or more layers of epithelial cells on top of a loose connective tissue layer. These are the border cells of your body protecting your organs. 

Coronavirus connects to a specific receptor on these epithelial cell membranes and then injects its genetic material, which contains instructions, into the cell. Ignorant of what's happening the cells execute the new instructions, which are pretty simple - copy and reassemble. It fills up with more and more copies of the original virus until it reaches a critical point that causes the cell to die releasing more viruses into the system. These newly created Coronaviruses are ready to attack more cells. The number of infected cells grows exponentially after about 10 days. Millions of body cells are infected and billions of viruses swarm the lungs and target the immune system.

Immune System which protects us can actually be pretty dangerous if not tightly regulated. As the immune cells pour into the lungs to fight, the virus infects some of them creating confusion. 

Cells communicate mostly via tiny information proteins called Cytokines. Nearly every important immune reaction is controlled by them. 

Coronavirus causes infected immune cells to overreact. It puts the immune system into a fighting frenzy, wasting its resources and causing damage. 

There are two kinds of cells in particular that overreact:

Neutrophils, which are great at killing bad cells. As they arrive in thousands to kill the virus, they start popping out enzymes that also destroy good cells as bad ones.

The other important type of cell is Killer T cells which usually orders infected cells to commit controlled suicide. As they are confused by the virus, they start ordering healthy cells to kill themselves. As the fight continues, more healthy lung tissues get killed causing permanent irreversible damage that leads to lifelong disabilities in most cases.

The immune system slowly regains control. It kills the infected cells and intercepts the virus that is trying to infect new cells and cleans them up.

The majority of people infected by Coronavirus will get through it relatively. Sometimes many cases become severe or even critical. In more severe cases where billions of epithelial cells have died the survival chances are less.

The effect of Coronavirus on the lungs and its lining cannot be reversed. That means that the Alveoli - tiny air sacs are in the lungs are irritated and can be infected by bacteria that aren't usually a big problem. 

Once these Alveoli get infected by bacteria, patients get Pneumonia. Respiration becomes hard or even fails and patients need ventilators to survive. 

This happens because the immune system is already dealing at full capacity with the virus using millions of antiviral weapons. As a result of this fight, immunity is reduced. And the second enemy - thousands of bacteria rapidly multiply. The immune system is overwhelmed. Both the Coronavirus and bacteria enter the blood and overrun the body and if this happens, death is very likely. This is how dangerous is Coronavirus disease.

Coronavirus is actually much more dangerous. With all the other effects it has on all of us as a society, we know for sure that it's much more contagious and spreads faster than the flu. There are two futures for a pandemic like Coronavirus - fast and slow. 

The future of coronavirus depends on how we all react to it in the early days of the outbreak. A fast pandemic will be horrible and cost many lives and a slow pandemic won't have a large-scale impact.

Also, viruses tend to mutate to ensure their survival. And if several mutations happen, it will result in new strains of Coronavirus becoming more and more lethal than its predecessors.

The worst-case scenario for a fast pandemic begins with a very rapid rate of infection because there aren't tough countermeasures in place to slow it down. 

If many people get sick at the same time and if the numbers get too large, healthcare systems are overburdened to handle it. There will be a scarcity of resources like medical staff or equipment like ventilators left to help. People will die untreated and as more healthcare workers get sick themselves, the capacity of health care systems will fall.

Even further, if this becomes the case, then horrible decisions will have to be made about whom to save and whom to not. This will lead to the number of deaths rising significantly. 

To avoid this, all of us need to do what we can to turn this into a slow pandemic. This pandemic can slow down only if we give the right responses, especially in this very early phase so that the victims can get treatment and there won't be much disappointment. 

How to stay safe?

Since most of us have not been given the vaccine for Coronavirus we have to take certain steps. This simply means two things - Not getting infected and not infecting others.

What we can do to avoid getting infected?

The first thing everyone should do is wearing a mask when they are outside.

Due to complacency, people somehow had stopped wearing masks. This is a big mistake every person can make and put his life and his loved one's life in danger. 

People must wear masks till the entire population is vaccinated and coronavirus is completely eradicated. Till then you never know when you may face an infection again. It is a must to follow all the best practices at all times.

The best thing we can do at home is to wash our hands with soap. The Coronavirus is encased in a layer of fat. Soap breaks that apart and leaves it unable to infect. It also makes hands slippery and the mechanical motions of washing, viruses are ripped away. To do it properly we should wash our hands properly for at least 20-30 seconds.

Wash hands

The next thing is social distancing If you can stay at home, stay at home to protect those who need to be out for society to function. From doctors to police officers. We depend on all of them. They all depend on us to not get sick on a larger level.

There are quarantines where you have to isolate yourself. The orders to stay at home quarantines are not great to experience. 

And especially for the researchers working on medication and vaccination, it's actually a crucial time.

So, if you are put under quarantine, you should understand why and respect it.

The more we are serious about defeating the virus, it will be good for humanity. We should take all the necessary steps to stop Coronavirus in its chain of infecting people. Lockdowns and other containment procedures are a must when the cases are rising rapidly. It really is in all of our hands to see our future with better prospects.

You can find all the latest information on MoHFW.

Till then take care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay safe!

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