Like the SARS-related coronavirus implicated in the 2003 SARS outbreak, SARS‑CoV‑2 is a member of the subgenus Sarbecovirus (beta-CoV lineage B). Coronaviruses undergo frequent recombination. The mechanism of recombination in unsegmented RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 is generally by copy-choice replication, in which gene material switches from one RNA template molecule to another during replication. SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequence is approximately 30,000 bases in length, relatively long for a coronavirus (which in turn carry the largest genomes among all RNA families) Its genome consists nearly entirely of protein-coding sequences, a trait shared with other coronaviruses. (Full article...)
As is common with infections, there is a delay between the moment a person first becomes infected and the appearance of the first symptoms. The median delay for COVID-19 is four to five days. Most symptomatic people experience symptoms within two to seven days after exposure, and almost all will experience at least one symptom within 12 days. (Full article...)
The disease is mainly transmitted via the respiratory route when people inhale droplets and small airborne particles (that form an aerosol) that infected people breath out as they breathe, talk, cough, sneeze, or sing. Infected people are more likely to transmit COVID-19 when they are physically close. However, infection can occur over longer distances, particularly indoors.
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Due to the pandemic in Europe, many countries in the Schengen Area have restricted free movement and set up border controls. National reactions have included containment measures such as quarantines and curfews (known as stay-at-home orders, shelter-in-place orders, or lockdowns). The WHO's recommendation on curfews and lockdowns is that they should be short-term measures to reorganise, regroup, rebalance resources, and protect health workers who are exhausted. To achieve a balance between restrictions and normal life, the long-term responses to the pandemic should consist of strict personal hygiene, effective contact tracing, and isolating when ill.
Russia on Saturday recorded 1,000 COVID-related deaths in a single day for the first time since the pandemic began. Only about one third of the population has been vaccinated, amid wide distrust. (BBC News)
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching economic consequences beyond the spread of the disease itself and efforts to quarantine it. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread around the globe, concerns have shifted from supply-side manufacturing issues to decreased business in the services sector. The pandemic caused the 2nd largest global recession in history, with more than a third of the global population at the time being placed on lockdown.
The hierarchy of hazard controls contains methods for controlling exposures to hazards. Methods listed towards the top potentially more effective than those at the bottom at reducing the risk of illness or injury.
OSHA considers healthcare and mortuary workers exposed to known or suspected person with COVID-19 to be at high exposure risk, which increases to very high exposure risk if workers perform aerosol-generating procedures on, or collect or handle specimens from, known or suspected person with COVID-19. Hazard controls appropriate for these workers include engineering controls such as negative pressure ventilation rooms, and personal protective equipment appropriate to the job task. (Full article...)
COVID-19 testing involves analyzing samples to assess the current or past presence of SARS-CoV-2. The two main branches detect either the presence of the virus or of antibodies produced in response to infection. Molecular tests for viral presence through its molecular components are used to diagnose individual cases and to allow public health authorities to trace and contain outbreaks. Antibody tests (serology immunoassays) instead show whether someone once had the disease. They are less useful for diagnosing current infections because antibodies may not develop for weeks after infection. It is used to assess disease prevalence, which aids the estimation of the infection fatality rate. (Full article...)
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