The COVID-19 disease hit the world with a bang in the year 2020. It was declared a Public Health Emergency internationally on 30 January 2020 and declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. Let’s answer some of the questions you may have about COVID-19.
When was COVID-19 identified?
COVID-19 was officially identified on the 31 of December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) was notified about a pneumonia like disease killing people in Wuhan District in China. The Chinese authorities referred to it as 2019-nCoV.
Where did COVID-19 originate from?
According to scientists, the COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-COV-2 originates from bats as the primary hosts, had its intermediate host as a pangolin and found its way to humans. However, scientists are still yet to identify which animal specifically transmitted the virus to humans. 
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus. The break down of the acronym is as follows:
- CO – Corona
- VI – Virus
- D – Disease
It has mild to severe symptoms. The incubation period of the virus is 14 days.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 displays symptoms similar to that of a cold or flu. It is therefore important to have a test done in order to tell whether you have the virus or not. Some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Shortness of breath
The other symptoms displayed by COVID-19 are:
- Muscle pain
- Chest pain
- Body aches
- Loss of smell or taste
- Runny nose or congested nose
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rash
In children, the most common symptom is difficulty breathing and feeding.
How is COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is spread through small droplets from coughing or sneezing. These droplets can land on surfaces and one can come in contact with them through touch and end up touching their face.
When one is in close contact to someone with COVID-19, they are at high risk of getting infected with the virus. Crowded areas and poorly ventilated places also pose a great risk in transmitting the virus from one person to another .
How does one protect themselves from COVID-19?
To protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19, you can do the following:
- Wash your hands or sanitize them using an alcohol based sanitizer frequently. You may need to scratch your face or touch your face often therefore the need to keep them clean.
- Avoid crowded places. Keep a one metre distance when around people. You never know who is infected.
- Wear a mask when in public. This keeps you away from cough droplets landing on your face from others.
- If in a crowded place such as a hall, a bus, a train among many others, ensure it is well ventilated. Open the windows if possible. This allows for air circulation.
- Clean all surfaces around you especially if they are frequently touched by everyone. This prevents spreading the virus to other surfaces or persons around you.
- When sneezing, cover your mouth and nose using a bent elbow or tissue. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately you are done with it.
- Get medical attention if you start displaying symptoms related to COVID-19.
- Get vaccinated against the virus. The vaccine prepares your body to fight the virus when you get it.
What kind of mask should I wear to protect myself from COVID-19?
Scientists recommend wearing a surgical mask or the KN95 mask for protection against COVID-19. As you wear your mask, ensure it does the following:
- Covers the nose and mouth fully
- Fits your face appropriately and does not leave any gaps
Once you are done with your mask, ensure you properly dispose of it. Do not reuse it as it poses a health risk to you.
For more information on masks, read Mask Fit and Filtration.
What is the Delta Variant of COVID-19?
Viruses go through mutation and create new variants of the same. The Delta Variant is a mutated version of the SARS-COV-2 virus RNA. It was first seen in October 2020.
The Delta Variant of COVID-19 spreads faster that the original virus. It also leads to more infections compared to the original virus.
Research has however shown that vaccinated individuals experience less severe symptoms of the Delta Variant compared to those who are unvaccinated. They also have the infection for a shorter period of time compared to those unvaccinated.
Who is at risk of getting COVID-19?
Unfortunately, everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19. Whether you are old or young, black or white, you can easily get COVID-19 if you do not take care of yourself or observe health regulations against COVID-19.
Who is most likely to experience severe symptoms of COVID-19?
Certain categories of people are at risk of developing complications if they get COVID-19. They are inclusive of:
- People aged 65 and above
- People with chronic medical conditions
- People with an already compromised immune system such as cancer or HIV
- People who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19
Can I get COVID-19 if I have been vaccinated?
Yes you can. They are referred to as breakthrough COVID-19 infections.
Not all vaccines are 100% effective. A breakthrough infection is likely to occur even after getting the vaccine. A breakthrough infection is an infection that occurs even after getting a vaccine against a certain virus, bacteria or germ.
The most likely variant to lead to a breakthrough COVID-19 infection is the Deltas Variant.
Getting COVID-19 after getting the vaccine may be a walk in the park. The COVID-19 vaccines help prevent severe symptoms that may lead to you being hospitalized or death.