All about Pandemics and COVID-19- Khadiza Binte Mostafiz
Plagues and pandemics
throughout the history :
Throughout the course of history, disease outbreaks have ravaged humanity, sometimes changing the course of history and, at times, signaling the end of entire civilizations. These are 12 of the most deadly pandemics which occurred in the world throughout the history :
The Antonine Plague (165 AD):
In 165 AD, the Plague of Galen, also known as the Antonine Plague affected Asia minor, Egypt, Greece and Italy. This disease was brought to Rome by their soldiers. They were returning from Mesopotamia and unknowingly brought a disease which killed over 5 million people and resulted in decimating the Roman army. This disease is thought to have been either Smallpox or Measles, though the true cause is still unknown.
The Plague of Athens (430 B.C.):
While the war between Athens and Sparta was ongoing , a deadly plague devastated the land of Athens killing at least 100,000 people. It was around the year of 430 B.C. Despite the epidemic, the war continued on between Athens and Sparta until Athens was forced to capitulate to Sparta.
The Plague of Cyprian (A.D. 250-271):
This Plague killed 5,000 people in a single day. The mortality rate of this plague was so high that a bishop named St Cyprian of Carthage (a city in Tunisia) described this epidemic as a signal of the end of the world. Later on, this epidemic was named after that bishop of Carthage.
The Plague of Justinian (541-542):
This Plague was an outbreak of the Bubonic plague. It killed more than a quarter of the population of the Eastern Mediterranean and devastated the city of Constantinople. More than 5,000 people died each day. It is thought to have killed 25 million people, almost half of the population of Europe.
The Black Death (1346-1353):
It is thought to have originated in Asia, the Plague most likely jumped continents via the fleas living on the rats that so frequently lived aboard merchant ships. Ports being major urban centers at the time, were the perfect breeding ground for the rats and fleas, and thus the insidious bacterium flourished, devastating Europe, Africa and Asia in its wake. This plague changed the course of Europe’s history. With so many dead, labor became harder to find, bringing about better pay for workers and the end of Europe’s system of serfdom
The Great Plague of London (1665-1666) :
The plague started in April 1665 and spread rapidly through the hot summer months. It was the Black Death’s last major outbreak. By the time the plague ended, about 100,000 people, including 15% of the population of London, had died.
The Cholera Pandemics :
The world has seen millions of deaths as a result of the Cholera pandemics. There have been seven Cholera pandemic. Among those, the third and the sixth Cholera pandemics was more deadly than the other five. Like the first and second pandemics, the Third Cholera Pandemic also originated in India, spreading from the Ganges River Delta before tearing through Asia, Europe, North America and Africa and ending the lives of over a million people. The Sixth Cholera Pandemic also originated from India, where it killed over 800,000, before spreading to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia.
The Spanish Flu (1918):
Between 1918 and 1920 a disturbingly deadly outbreak of influenza tore across the globe. It was caused by an H1N1 virus, with an avian (bird) origin, though it’s unclear exactly where the virus originated. It infected over a third of the world’s population and ending the lives of 20 – 50 million people with about 675,000 deaths happening in the U.S. It surpass the death toll of World War One, which was being fought at the same time. The 1918 flu virus infected one in every three people on the planet.
Asian Flu (1956-1958):
It originated in China in 1956 and lasted until 1958. In its two-year spree, Asian Flu traveled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. It killed almost 2 million people.
The Hong Kong flu (1968-1969):
The Hong Kong flu was a flu pandemic whose outbreak in 1968 and 1969 killed an estimated number of one million people all over the world. The first record of the outbreak in Hong Kong appeared on 13 July 1968. By the end of July 1968, extensive outbreaks were reported in Vietnam and Singapore. By September 1968, the flu reached India, the Philippines, northern Australia, and Europe. That same month, the virus entered California from returning Vietnam War troops but did not become widespread in the United States until December 1968. It would reach Japan, Africa, and South America by 1969.
HIV / AIDS Pandemic (AT ITS PEAK, 2005-2012) :
It was first identified in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. HIV/AIDS has truly proven itself as a global pandemic, killing more than 36 million people. Currently there are between 31 and 35 million people living with HIV, the vast majority of those are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
All about COVID-19
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses (COVID-19) are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, it looks like it is surrounded by a solar corona. It is also called Covid-19, a shortened form of “coronavirus disease of 2019.”
The source of the Coronavirus outbreak :
The source of the coronavirus is believed to be a “wet market” in Wuhan which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds. Such markets pose a heightened risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans because hygiene standards are difficult to maintain if live animals are being kept and butchered on site. Typically, they are also densely packed allowing disease to spread from species to species. The animal source of Covid-19 has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats. Bats were not sold at the Wuhan market but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there.
Bats are host to a wide range of zoonotic viruses including Ebola, HIV and rabies. While Covid-19 was initially seen to be an epidemic in China, the virus spread worldwide within months. It spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
People of every age are at risk of being infected by the deadly Coronavirus. But people who are older and have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes also seem to be at high risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic .
Symptoms of being infected by the coronavirus disease :
According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death.
Current estimates of the incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days.
Basic protective measures against the oronavirus :
1. You can follow the instructions below. These are some basic protective measures which were advised by experts.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Because hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter the body.
4. Practice respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
5. Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell.
6. Do not leave your house without an emergency. And when you do get out, always use a face mask and wear hand gloves. Returning home, wash yourself well and it’s better to disinfect the clothes you were wearing outside.
7. Stay informed and follow the advice given by health care experts.
Now some questions of readers can be answered. Can COVID-19 get transmitted from one’s pet?
Cats can be infected with the coronavirus and can spread it to other cats, but dogs are not really susceptible to the infection, say researchers in China. But there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong. The team, at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, also concludes that chickens, pigs and ducks are not likely to catch the virus. To date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19 to any humans.
Can the coronavirus disease spread through food?
Current evidence on other coronavirus strains shows that while coronaviruses appear to be stable at low and freezing temperatures for a certain period, food hygiene and good food safety practices can prevent their transmission through food.
As the Coronavirus disease is spreading throughout the world like wildfire, everyday the internet and every social media is swarming with many rumors, false news and myths. Now, let’s jump into those myths and rumors and find out how many of those are actually true.
1. Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
2. Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
3. COVID-19 virus CAN be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates.
4. There is NO evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
5. Drinking hot fluids and having water every 15 minutes WILL NOT stave off the virus.
6. A YouTube video with nearly half a million views falsely and dangerously said that inhaling hot air from a hair dryer can help cure the coronavirus. Inhaling hot air WILL NOT keep COVID-19 away.
Islamic guidelines on dealing with coronavirus :
1. A Muslim must be careful not to get harmed, and must protect themselves appropriately.
2. A Muslim must avoid harming others.
It is fine to use medicine. And it does not violate the concept of trusting Allah.
3. The Messenger of Allah has encouraged the discovery of treatments for diseases.
4. A Muslim is not allowed to go to the severe infected area. But If he is in a city or place which is severely infected, in that case he is not allowed to leave or flee from that place.
5. A Muslim must follow all the protective measures while trusting Allah and making dua to him for seeking refuge from the disease.
6. If praying in the Masjid increases the risk of becoming infected then one must pray at his home and restrain from going to the Masjid.
7. Every Muslim should spend their quarantined free time for beneficial activities.
Coronavirus, Bangladesh and the world :
The new coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to nearly every country in the world since it first emerged in China at the beginning of the year. More than 1,347,800 people are known to be infected and more than 74,800 deaths have been recorded. Till the first week of April there have been 482 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Bangladesh. Among these cases 30 people died, 36 recovered and others are still fighting.
COVID-19 may be a bad news for human beings but it is a matter of rejoice for nature. Thousands and thousands of people are dying every day. Because of this catastrophe, people are now staying at their home and finally stopped polluting nature. The environment is finally safe for wildlife and other animals. The air is finally fresh and the earth is becoming greener as days pass by. According to the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen, nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis. Andersen said, “humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.” Leading scientists also said the Covid-19 outbreak was a “clear warning shot”, given that far more deadly diseases existed in wildlife, and that today’s civilisation was “playing with fire”. They said it was almost always human behaviour that caused diseases to spill over into humans. As days pass by, the situation is becoming more and more hopeless. People are dying. Those who are alive, are living like caged animals as mother nature rejoices in delight.