Coronavirus is a particular virus of which there are several variants, including the recent novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) of which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020. Experts believe that the infection – identified for the first time in 2019 in Wuhan , Central China – was originally transmitted from infected animals to humans.
The pathogen belongs to the same family as Sars ( Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome ), an epidemic that between 2002 and 2003 caused about 800 deaths and 8000 infections and with which the coronavirus seems to have in common about 80% of the genetic picture.
Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus
Like SARS, this virus also initially affects the respiratory system . The main symptoms encountered by infected subjects, therefore, are persistent dry cough , fever, sore throat and respiratory failure. In severe cases, as reported by the Higher Institute of Health , it can cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome.
There is currently no vaccine for the coronavirus, but targeted diagnostic tests can be performed to detect the presence of the pathogen .
How the virus is transmitted
A team of Chinese researchers argue that the virus is initially transmitted from snakes to humans and other animals (such as cats), but other experts dispute the fact that there is not enough evidence to support this theory. The most probable hypothesis to date is that the virus was transmitted from bat to man, it is not specified whether directly or according to other intermediate species.
Certainly the coronavirus is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person. For this reason, in order to avoid the spread of the epidemic, those who have contracted the virus must be quarantined . Furthermore, according to Epicentro , the epidemiology portal for public health, the infection occurs through saliva, feces, but also by touching a contaminated object and then bringing the hands to the mouth or face without first washing them properly.
How to avoid contagion
The general recommendations for avoiding possible contagion are of a general nature. It is good practice, in fact, to wash your hands often and carefully, use special masks in public places, throw away the handkerchiefs after their use and avoid direct contact with sick people.
Furthermore, it is advisable not to consume raw meat and fish , unwashed fruit and vegetables, as well as contact a specialist if you are afraid of being infected, taking care to disinfect any potentially contaminated surfaces.
For those who need further information, the toll- free number 1500 of the Ministry of Health is active 7 days a week .
Phase 2 in Italy
In Italy, the lockdown began on 10 March and experts are currently studying how the next phase will be implemented starting from 4 May.
One hypothesis envisages differentiated reopening for macro -areas and possible monitoring after 15 days, with the possibility of further closures if there are negative repercussions on the number of infections. However, in areas where the spread of the virus is greater, it is possible that more stringent measures will be confirmed – also with regard to mobility and displacements – as opposed to other less affected areas.
According to the epidemiologist Giovanni Rezza of the Higher Institute of Health (Iss), moreover, in “phase two” it will be important “to strengthen above all the control of the territory with the rapid identification of outbreaks, tests, tracing and isolation of contacts and actions of containment and possible creation of red areas. Rethinking and reorganizing the organization of life both in transport and in work and daily activities “.
In the second half of April in Italy we saw a decrease in the number of infections. The peak in our country was reached at the beginning of the month and the comforting data compared to the new positives allows us to think about the implementation of Phase 2. As of April 20, the Italian Ministry of Health confirmed 181,228 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic while 108,237 people currently positive, 24,114 deceased and 48,877 cured.
How the world is tackling the pandemic
In several European countries, Phase 2 has already begun with the first reopening in Germany, Denmark and Austria. Norway has started to reopen nursery schools, while in Italy the reopening of schools is very likely expected in September.
Estimating the deaths from the virus and the people who have contracted the infection worldwide, the latest figures reported by Johns Hopkins University speak of over 165 thousand deaths and over 2.4 million infected people.
Not just post lock-downs and reopening: the focus is on the United States. The death toll is higher than any other nation in the world and Donald Trump accused the World Health Organization of “continuing China’s disinformation about the coronavirus” by covering up its delays and inefficiencies and showing excessive closeness to Beijing. .
The UN took the field to defend the WHO director general, but this was not enough to bring the situation back: the USA, in fact, the American president has decided to suspend funding to the international institution for a period including between 60 and 90 days , or until Washington has had the opportunity to study how the organization reacted to the onset of the pandemic.
A decision, that of President Trump, which has aroused harsh reactions all over the world, starting from Finland which has declared its willingness to increase aid to the organization, up to Russia, which has distanced itself from American behavior. The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergej Rjabkov, in fact, defined ” Washington’s declaration on the suspension of funding to the WHO very alarming, a sign of a selfish approach by the US authorities to what is happening in the world at the height of the pandemic “.
In the meantime, society is moving around the world by any means. The marathon that brought together over eighty artists from all over the world to support the WHO with ” One World – Together at Home “, a monstre show promoted by Lady Gaga aired on Saturday 18 April live was a great success in fundraising. and streaming on millions of devices and televisions.
Eight hours of music and almost ninety songs: each artist created their own performance with a video recorded at home, giving life to a mega charity event. Among others there have been singers such as Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Jennifer Hudson.
NASA satellites and pollution in China
NASA satellites have detected a significant decrease in pollution in China , following the measures taken against the spread of the Coronavirus.
An important decline that is mainly associated with the economic slowdown caused by the Coronavirus . The measures adopted to reduce the epidemic, in fact, have also indirectly led to a significant improvement in air quality. Specifically, the maps showed that nitrogen dioxide levels have dropped since the beginning of 2020 .
Chinese factories have suffered a significant decline in activity since last year: since the virus spread, in fact, manufacturers have had to implement more or less drastic measures to limit the spread of the epidemic (which has currently spread to over 50 countries).
Nitrogen dioxide is a noxious gas that is emitted by factories, industries and motor vehicles.Since the spread of the Coronavirus has resulted in a massive reduction in Chinese production, this has also affected the levels of gas emissions.
Drastic drop in nitrogen dioxide in just 15 days
According to NASA scientists and satellite images, therefore, the decrease in air pollution initially limited to Wuhan – the capital from which the epidemic started – subsequently spread to the rest of the country . All in a very short period of time: the satellite images, in fact, compared the air quality detected in the first twenty days of January with that of the period between 10 and 25 February .
The space agency, therefore, was able to observe that the significant reduction in harmful emissions actually coincided with the areas in which there were greater restrictions on transport and production activities.. An absolutely singular phenomenon, considering that such a drastic and lasting drop in nitrogen dioxide levels had previously only been recorded in 2008, more gradually during the economic recession.
It is not the first time that less nitrogen dioxide is produced during the two weeks of Lunar New Year celebrations. A decline, in fact, was also found last year towards the end of January.
In the past, however, this decrease in pollution was only a transitory and circumscribed phenomenon, destined to cease with the end of the celebrations themselves. Today, therefore, we are faced with a different event, which can only be partially related to the Chinese New Year.
In light of all this, therefore, the US researchers report important figures: today ‘s No2 values in eastern China , in fact, are considerably lower than those recorded in 2019 and also in 2005, with percentages ranging from 10 to 30 per one hundred and that last longer over time.
Not to mention that the data and satellite images also demonstrate another truth: a reduction in global pollution is in fact possible, when the harmful emissions of factories are limited .