What is COVID-19?

What is COVID-19 in Uganda?

The existence of the COVID-19 virus pandemic has caused a variety of serious problems across all sectors of people's lives, ranging from economic, social, political issues, to employment.

Since this pandemic has occurred, many new terms have emerged. We need to understand this term so as not to cause false perceptions. First, we need to know about COVID-19.

 What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered type of coronavirus. This is a new virus and disease that first occurred in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has spread to many countries, including Uganda.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a group of viruses that can cause disease in animals or humans. Several types of coronavirus are known to cause respiratory infections in humans ranging from cold coughs to more serious ones such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A new type of coronavirus has been found to cause COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, fatigue, and dry cough. Some patients may experience pain and ache, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Symptoms experienced are usually mild and appear gradually. In fact, some people who are infected do not show any symptoms and still feel healthy.

Most (around 80%) infected people recover without the need for special treatment. About 1 in 6 people who are infected with COVID-19 suffer from severe pain and difficulty breathing. Elderly people and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to experience more serious illness. Those who have a fever, cough and breathing difficulties should seek medical help.

How does COVID-19 spread?

People can get COVID-19 from other people who have contracted this virus. COVID-19 can spread from person to person through droplets from the nose or mouth that come out when a person infected with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets then fall on nearby objects and surfaces. People who touch the object or surface and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, can be infected with COVID-19.

Transmission of COVID-19 can also occur if people inhale a droplet that comes out of cough or breath of a person infected with COVID-19. Therefore, it is important for us to keep more than 1.5 metres from people who are sick. WHO continues to review the development of research on how to spread COVID-19 and will present the latest findings.

Are there vaccines, drugs or treatments for COVID-19?

No, they are not available yet. Up until now, there has been no vaccine or drugs to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, people who are sick need to get treatment to relieve their symptoms. People who are seriously ill must be taken to the hospital. Most patients recover due to treatment for the symptoms they experience. There are certain vaccine and drug candidates that are still being investigated through clinical trials. WHO coordinates efforts to provide vaccines and drugs that prevent and treat COVID-19.

 How to protect yourself and reduce the spread of COVID-19?

Social distancing

By doing social distancing we are expected to isolate ourselves from the outside world and not make contact with others. However, we can still travel, for example, to buy foodstuffs at the nearest supermarket / shop. As much as possible, we should not accept guests or visit other people's homes.

What is physical distancing?

This is keeping a certain space away from another person, the recommended space being at least 1.5 metres, but more if possible.

What to do when physical distancing ?

  • Avoid crowds
  • Apply coughing and sneezing
  • No handshakes
  • Wash your hands frequently with running water and soap
  • Keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres
  • Work, study, and worship at home
  • Wear a mask when in a public place.

In essence, anyone can still maintain social relationships with family and friends using social media or telephone. Physical distancing is done so that people maintain physical distance, not social distance with others.

COVID-19 is referred to as a pandemic. What's the difference between an endemic, outbreak, and epidemic?

Endemic is a disease that attacks people in an area. The coverage is quite small. For example, a TB endemic in the city of Kagadi.

An outbreak  is a disease that spreads to several cities in a country. For example, a flu outbreak in the winter season.

An epidemic means a disease at the interstate level. At the beginning of the emergence of COVID-19, it was still at an epidemic stage, because at that time the countries that experienced COVID-19 were China, Korea, and Japan. Once it had  spread to other continents and even the whole world, this disease was called a pandemic.


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