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5 Effective Mobile Apps to Help Stop the Spread of Viral Infection

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What is a Viral Infection?

Viral infections are caused by microscopic germs called viruses which latch onto a host and attempt to corrupt normal, healthy cells by infecting them with their DNA. Once the virus successfully infects a cell, the corrupted cell then produces copies that contain the virus’s DNA. This process repeats itself; damaging and killing healthy cells along the way. The viral infection manifests in different symptoms and illnesses depending on the host and the virus itself.

How Does a Viral Infection Cause a Pandemic?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a pandemic as “the worldwide spread of a new disease.” Initially, a viral infection that actively spreads within a single community or region is classified as an epidemic. Once the virus has spread to at least three countries, it can be elevated to pandemic status. Pandemics are typically borne from a new disease, which means most people do not have natural immunity against it; further contributing to the speed in which it spreads.

Another factor which made COVID-19 hard to contain is that up to 25% of those infected are asymptomatic. This means that they can be carriers of the virus without experiencing any of the common symptoms such as fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Being unaware of their status, asymptomatic carriers unwittingly infect other people simply by being out in public and interacting with others. This viral trait greatly contributed to the exponential growth of infections, eventually culminating in WHO officially declaring COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Viruses can infect different types of hosts and in different ways. Cross-species infection is also possible. The prevalent theory being the new coronavirus originated in bats. These wild bats infected other animals which were subsequently captured and sold in a wet market in Wuhan, China, where the first case of COVID-19 was documented.

The coronavirus generally has two main avenues for transmission:

  • Air droplets
    When an infected person sneezes or coughs, the droplets may be inhaled by an otherwise healthy person who then gets infected– which is why social distancing of at least 1 meter is advised.
  • Contaminated surfaces
    Studies suggest that the virus can survive anywhere from 1 to 3 days on surfaces and items. Touching a contaminated surface such as a handrail or grocery store items then touching your eyes, nose, our mouth, can lead to infection. Washing your hands often using soap and water, especially if you left the house, is advised by WHO and leading healthcare professionals.

How Can We Flatten the Curve?

Cooperation on a global scale. Healthcare systems all over the world, even those in highly-developed first world countries such as Italy, are being overwhelmed due to the sheer speed at which infections are taking place. “Flattening the curve”, means we must work together to slow the infection rate down enough to prevent hospitals from being overrun. We can do this through social distancing, staying home as much as possible, and frequent hand washing with soap and water. Additionally, there are mobile apps that can help us combat the spread of COVID-19.

Author

Juhlian Pimping

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Juhlian Pimping has been writing about safety and quality topics for SafetyCulture since 2018. Before writing for SafetyCulture full-time, Juhlian worked in customer service and wrote for an Australian RTO.