Digging Deeper into Understanding Coronavirus

Understanding Coronavirus

Coronavirus or commonly called COVID-19 is a virus that causes upper respiratory tract infections. COVID symptoms can range from mild to moderate, like the flu. Many people are infected with this virus at least once in their lives.

Previously, several types of corona viruses that could also cause disease were:

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
SARS, which appeared in November 2002 in China, spread to several other countries. Starting from Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, England, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, to the United States.

The SARS epidemic, which ended in mid-2003, infected 8,098 people in various countries. At least around 774 people lost their lives due to this serious respiratory tract infection.

To date, there are seven types of coronaviruses (HCoVs) identified, namely:

  • HCoV-229E.
  • HCoV-OC43.
  • HCoV-NL63.
  • HCoV-HKU1.
  • SARS-CoV (which causes acute respiratory syndrome).
  • MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus emerged, which is now called Novel Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19. This virus first broke out in the city of Wuhan, China, and spread to other countries starting in January 2020. Meanwhile, Indonesia announced a case of COVID-19 in March 2020.

Currently, the use of masks to prevent coronavirus has been relaxed, following the lifting of Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) at the end of December 2022.

Wearing masks outdoors is no longer mandatory. However, when indoors, it is still permissible to wear a mask. Because, Indonesia has not completely escaped the pandemic, and wearing a mask is one of the best prevention protocols.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Coronavirus infection or COVID-19 can cause various symptoms in sufferers. The symptoms that appear depend on the type of virus that attacks and how serious the infection is.

The following are some common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Runny nose.
  • Headache.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Fever.
  • Feeling unwell.
  • Loss of the sense of taste and smell.

Some coronavirus variants can cause severe symptoms. The infection can turn into bronchitis and pneumonia (caused by COVID-19), resulting in symptoms such as:

  • The fever may be quite high if the sufferer has pneumonia.
  • Cough with mucus.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath and coughing.

This disease can cause severe symptoms if it attacks certain groups of individuals. For example, people with heart or lung disease, people with weakened immune systems, babies, and the elderly.

Immediately contact a doctor if you experience these symptoms.

Some people with COVID-19 also experience symptoms that are actually mild. However, it is important to always be alert if you experience unusual symptoms in the body.

Death Rate Due to Corona Virus (COVID-19)

According to an update released by the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, the number of confirmed positive cases as of May 24 2023 is 6,803,504 people. With a total of 161,701 deaths.

Based on these figures, it can be seen that the death rate due to the corona virus or COVID-19 is around 2.4 percent. This number decreased from 2.6 percent on the same date in 2022.

COVID-19 cases in Indonesia are gradually improving. As of May 23 2023, there was a decrease in the number of active cases from 896 people to 13,761 people from the previous day.

Apart from that, the recovery rate from COVID-19 also continues to increase. According to the latest data, the number of survivors or people who have been declared cured of COVID-19 is 6,628,042 people.

Causes of Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19)

The corona virus is the cause of coronavirus infection or COVID-19. Most coronaviruses spread like other viruses in general, namely through:

  • The sufferer’s saliva splashes (coughing and sneezing).
  • Touching an infected person’s hands or face.
  • Touching your eyes, nose or mouth after handling items that have been splashed with the saliva of someone with the corona virus.
  • Stool or feces (rare),

Before the symptoms of COVID-19 appear, the incubation period is not known for certain. However, on average symptoms appear between 2-14 days after the virus first enters the body.

Apart from that, the method of transmission of COVID-19 is not yet known with certainty. Initially, the COVID-19 type of corona virus was thought to originate from animals. The COVID-19 corona virus is a virus that circulates in several animals, including camels, cats and bats.

In fact, this virus rarely evolves and infects humans or spreads to other individuals. However, the case in China is now clear evidence that this virus can spread from animals to humans. In fact, now it can be transmitted from human to human.

So, if you need protection from this virus, you can take a look at supplement recommendations here: This is a choice of immune system vitamins to help prevent COVID-19.

Types of Coronavirus Variants (Mutations).

Since its initial appearance, the coronavirus has mutated into many variants. This is because of the natural characteristics of the virus which can continue to replicate and make more of itself.

When it mutates, the coronavirus changes its “genes” slightly. Meanwhile, mutations of viruses are called variations or variants of the original virus. Until this article was written, here are several variants or mutations of the corona virus that have spread:

1. Alpha Variant

The Alfa variant was first discovered in September 2020 in the UK, and is known as variant code B. 1.1.7. The transmission rate of this virus variant is 43-90 percent higher than the previous virus.

People infected with the Alpha variant of the corona virus experience the following symptoms:

  • Hard to breathe.
  • Chest pain.
  • Loss of sense of taste and smell.

2. Beta Variant

The Beta variant is a mutation of the corona virus that was first discovered in October 2020 in South Africa. Apart from that, the variant with code B. 1.351 is known to be 50 percent more contagious than the previous variant.

The symptoms of infection with this coronavirus variant are the same as the symptoms of the Alpha variant and COVID-19 infection in general.

3. Delta variant

Having been the cause of the second wave in various countries, the Delta variant was first discovered in October 2020 in India. This variant is also called code B.1.617.2.

The transmission rate of this virus variant is 30–100 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant. Apart from that, this variant can also spread more quickly and has a high potential for causing severe symptoms.

Symptoms of the delta variant of COVID-19 infection can appear within 3-4 days after infection. Here are some commonly experienced symptoms:

  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • Have a cold.
  • Cough.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell.

4. Gamma Variant

The Gamma variant was first discovered in Brazil and Japan in November 2020, the Gamma variant is known by the code P. 1. The general symptoms caused by this variant of COVID-19 infection are the same as other variants, namely shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, cough and runny nose.

Read More :

5. Epsilon variant

The Epsilon variant or B.1.427/B.1.429 is a coronavirus mutation that was first discovered in California, United States. On March 19 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) included this variant as a variant of concern (VOC) because it had caused an increase in cases in several areas.

The symptoms of this variant of coronavirus infection are similar to other variants, namely:

  • Hard to breathe.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • Cough.
  • Have a cold.

6. Lambda Variant

The Lambda variant or C. 37 was first discovered in Peru and several countries in America in December 2020.

Until now, the level of transmission and severity of infection due to this coronavirus variant is unknown. However, the level of transmission of this variant is known to not be much different from the first type of corona virus.

7. Zeta variant

The Zeta variant is a mutation of the corona virus that was first discovered in Brazil, with a P. 2 core. The Zeta variant of the corona virus is similar to the Gamma variant, including in terms of symptoms.

8. Eta Variant

The Eta variant was first identified in the UK in December 2020. This virus, also called B.1525, carries the E484-K mutation as found in the Gamma, Beta and Zeta variants.

The symptoms of this variant infection are the same as the symptoms of COVID-19 in general. However, until now, WHO has still designated the Eta variant as a Variant of Interest (VOI), because it is not a concern like other variants.

9. Theta variant

First discovered in the Philippines in March 2021, the Theta variant is also known by the code P. 3. Until now there is not much information regarding the level of transmission and severity of infection caused by this variant.

However, the Theta variant is said to spread more quickly than the previous variant. In terms of symptoms, they are generally the same as other variants.

10. Iota Variant

The Iota variant of the coronavirus was first discovered in November 2020 in New York, United States. Until now, it is not yet known whether the variant with the code B.1.526 has a higher level of transmission and severity of infection than other variants.

11. Mu Variant

The Mu variant of the coronavirus was first identified in Colombia in January 2021, then scientifically known as code B.1.621. Until now, WHO still classifies the Mu variant as VOI.

Because, this variant is known not to cause concern like the Alpha and Delta variants. The general symptoms of the Mu variant of COVID-19 infection are similar to other variants, namely fever, cough and loss of sense of taste and smell.

12. Kappa Variant

Just like the Delta variant, the Kappa variant of the coronavirus was also first discovered in India in December 2020. This variant with the code B.1.617.1 is still classified as VOI, the same as the Lambda, Eta and Iota variants.

This is because there is no data to confirm the level of transmission, severity of infection, and types of symptoms caused by the Kappa variant of COVID-19.

13. Omicron Variant

The Omicron variant was first reported to WHO on November 24, 2021, from South Africa. Coronavirus, which has the code B.1.1.529, is classified as a VOC, because it has characteristics that need to be watched out for, such as the Delta, Gamma, Beta and Alpha variants.

The Omicron variant is known to have around 30 combinations of mutations from a number of previous corona virus variants, such as C.12, Beta and Delta. This makes the Omicron variant potentially more contagious than the Delta variant and allows reinfection or repeated infections to occur.

Until now, there are several other derivative subvariants of Omicron that you need to watch out for, namely:

  • BA.2: The Omicron BA.2 subvariant has been detected in Indonesia since early January 2022. The symptoms that arise are similar to the BA.1 subvariant. It tends to be like the common cold, sore throat, cough, runny nose, and body aches. However, the transmission rate of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant is higher than the previous subvariant.
  • BA.3: The BA.3 subvariant was first detected in northwestern South Africa. The Omicron BA.3 subvariant spreads at a very low rate. In addition, this subvariant also causes fewer cases than BA.1 and BA.2. Symptoms arising from infection with the BA.3 subvariant are reportedly quite mild and almost the same as BA.1 and BA.2.
  • BA.4 and BA.5: First detected in Indonesia on June 6 2022. The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are reported to have a higher reproductive rate effectiveness when compared to BA.2 or other subvariants. This means that this sub variant has a higher transmission rate than the previous sub variant.
  • BN.1: In November 2022, the CDC noted another subvariant of Omicron, namely BN.1. This subvariant is the short name for B.1.1.529. The symptoms of the Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 are similar to other subvariants.

Some common symptoms of Omicron variant infection are:

  • Have a cold.
  • Headache.
  • Mild to severe fatigue.
  • Sneezing.
  • Sore throat.

Apart from the various virus variants, several conditions also need to be watched out for, namely fluona. The fluona condition is a coinfection or double infection that occurs when someone is infected with the corona virus and the flu virus at the same time. Flurona has symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of COVID-19 infection in general.

In mild and moderate cases, the symptoms that can appear are:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Fatigue.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Have a cold.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • Loss of the sense of smell and taste.

Some people can also experience severe symptoms due to flu. For example, shortness of breath, chest pain, difficulty speaking, decreased consciousness, and the face, lips and nails appear bluish or pale.

14. XBB variant

Omicron sub variant Experts state that this XBB sub variant has a high transmission rate compared to other Omicron sub variants. Meanwhile, the symptoms of this sub-variant of COVID-19 are similar to other variants of the corona virus, namely fever, cough, shortness of breath and headache. The symptoms cannot get worse and the risk of death is very low.

15. Kraken Variant (XBB.1.5)

At the end of 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) began to worry about the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19 called Kraken or the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5. The reason is, this new variant can spread faster than other variants.

In addition, according to Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO COVID-19 technical lead, Kraken is the most contagious subvariant. This type of virus can attach to cells and replace them easily.

If the Omicron XBB subvariant can evade the human immune system, this is not the case with XBB.1.5. Even though it is more easily transmitted than other variants, Omicron XBB.1.5 cannot avoid the immune system formed from the COVID-19 vaccine or previous corona infection.

Meanwhile, the symptoms of the Omicron XBB 1.5 sub variant are the same as the symptoms of the corona virus in general. Such as headaches, fatigue, sneezing, sore throat, and aches all over the body.

16. Orthrus variant

The Orthrus variant is a subvariant of Omicron, or also known as CH.1.1. This subvariant was first reported in India in July 2022, and then spread to 66 countries, including Indonesia.

Quoting the Ministry of Health’s website, until this article was written, 14 cases of the CH.1.1 subvariant or orthrus variant had been recorded in Indonesia. The first case was reported on October 11 2022. Ten cases came from DKI Jakarta Province, while the other four cases came from Lampung, Riau and West Java provinces.

Risk Factors for Coronavirus Infection

Anyone can be infected with coronavirus. However, babies and young children and people with weak immune systems are more susceptible to attacks by this virus. Apart from that, seasonal conditions may also have an influence. For example, in the United States, coronavirus infections are more common in the fall and winter.

Apart from that, someone who lives in or visits an area or country that is prone to the corona virus is also at risk of infection. For example, visiting China, especially the city of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 outbreak began in December 2019.

Diagnosis of Coronavirus Infection

To diagnose coronavirus infection, the doctor will start with an anamnesis or medical interview. The doctor will ask about the symptoms of COVID-19 experienced, and carry out further examinations to help make a diagnosis.

The doctor may also perform a sputum test, take a sample from the throat, or other respiratory specimens. Meanwhile, for cases of suspected novel coronavirus infection, doctors will perform throat swabs, DPL, liver function, kidney function, and PCT/CRP.

Treatment of Coronavirus Infection

There is no special treatment to treat coronavirus infection. Generally, sufferers will recover by themselves. However, there are several efforts that can be made to relieve the symptoms of corona virus infection. For example:

  • Taking non-prescription pain relievers to reduce pain, fever and cough. However, do not give aspirin to children. Also, do not give cough medicine to children under four years old.
  • Use a room humidifier or take a warm bath to help relieve sore throats and coughs.
  • Much rest.
  • Increase your intake of body fluids.

If you are worried about the symptoms you are experiencing, immediately contact the nearest health care provider. Especially for corona viruses that cause serious diseases, such as SARS, MERS, or COVID-19 infection, treatment will be adjusted to the disease suffered and the patient’s condition.

If you suffer from a novel coronavirus infection, the doctor will refer you to a Referral Hospital that has been appointed by the local Health Service. However, if you cannot be referred for several reasons, the doctor will:

  • Self-isolation.
  • Serial chest x-rays as indicated.
  • Symptomatic therapy.
  • Fluid therapy.
  • Mechanical ventilator (if respiratory failure).
  • Antibiotics, if accompanied by a bacterial infection.

While undergoing self-isolation, there are several medicines and vitamins that you must provide. Read more here → Undergo Self-Isolation, Provide These Medicines and Vitamins

Prevention of Coronavirus Infection

The only action that can be taken to prevent coronavirus infection is through vaccination. Apart from that, the following steps can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds until clean.
  • Don’t touch your face, nose or mouth when your hands are dirty or unwashed.
  • Avoid direct contact or being close to sick people.
    Avoid touching wild animals or fowl.
  • Clean and sterilize frequently used surfaces.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing with a tissue.
  • Then, throw away the tissue and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Don’t leave the house when you are sick.
  • Wear a mask and immediately seek treatment at a health facility if you experience symptoms of respiratory disease.
  • Take vitamins to increase body endurance.

Complications of Coronavirus Infection

Coronavirus infection can cause complications of pneumonia and other severe respiratory problems if not treated quickly and appropriately. Apart from that, it can also cause respiratory failure, heart and liver failure and death.

Almost the same as SARS, the novel coronavirus can also cause serious complications. This viral infection can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If the symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus infection do not improve within days or get worse, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.

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