Published December 21st, 2020
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.
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:
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.
The Healthlynked COVID-19 Tracker can be downloaded from the iOS app store and the Google Play Store for free and it contains useful features for both frontline workers and civilians. It allows users to self-report their status, whether not positive/asymptomatic, not positive but with symptoms, or positive, in order to inform the app’s COVID MAP to show cases in different geographical locations. Statuses per location are color-coded for easier comprehension, and it has the added feature of informing the user’s contacts through the app if the user tests positive; helping to prevent further infections.
Available for both Android and iOS, iAuditor is a customizable mobile inspection app mainly used to improve and maintain safety and quality in numerous industries. iAuditor offers a number of ready-to-use COVID-19 templates that can be used in different settings including hospitals, home offices, and communities in order to ensure that best hygiene and infection prevention practices are implemented; minimizing the chances of further transmission.
The Corona Checker from OpenMed allows users to answer a simple quiz which screens their symptoms to determine possible infection. Additionally, the app even sends free sample testing kits to users with valid symptoms. Users can then take the testing kit to their healthcare provider so they can get tested by a medical professional.
This Android and iOS app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows users to stay on top of COVID-19 updates from leading authorities in health and diseases. It has a filter option so users can filter out content types they don’t want and customize their home screen view. The app includes Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, as well as several content types including stories, videos, and podcasts.
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.
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