Coronavirus (COVID-19) review for nursing students and nurses!
This review will help nurses and nursing students learn about COVID-19 symptoms, causes, transmission routes, and preventive measures. COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus that is caused by SARS-CoV-2. It is important the nurse knows the symptoms, causes, transmission routes and preventive measures for the virus.
Lecture on COVID-19
Coronavirus Nursing Review
What is the coronavirus? The word “coronavirus” is a term used to describe a large set of viruses that cause illness, specifically respiratory illnesses. Therefore, there are different types of coronaviruses. Today, we are experiencing a coronavirus virus outbreak that is causing COVID-19.
Why is it called coronavirus? It receives its name from the way the virus looks. The virus has pointy projections that protrude off of it. The word corona in Latin means garland or crown. Therefore, the pointy projections are similar to the projections of a crown.
COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. COVID-19 is caused by a NEW type of coronavirus that has not been seen in human until now. The virus name is “SARS-CoV-2″.
Is this virus the same as the virus that causes SARS? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov), the virus is genetically similar to the SARS virus BUT it’s NOT the same virus.
Origin of Coronaviruses: Where do they come from?
Coronaviruses come from animals. Animals that are infected with coronaviruses can transmit them to humans. Once the virus is transmitted to humans, humans can start spreading the virus to other humans, and this leads to an outbreak. When this happens it’s called a “zoonotic spillover event”.
For example, COVID-19 is not the first coronavirus outbreak the world has experienced. If you have been watching the news within the past decade or so, you have most likely heard of the other coronavirus outbreaks that have occurred.
- MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome):
- started in Saudi Arabia in 2012
- originated from camels
- SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome):
- started in China in 2003
- originated from civet cats (look similar to a mongoose rather than a type of cat we would see in the US).
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019): most current outbreak
- started in Wuhan, China in December 2019
- origin currently UNKNOWN
- Theories: possible seafood source from an animal market in Wuhan, China or from a pangolin (type of anteater)
What Increases Your Risk for Developing COVID-19?
- Provided care or in close contact with someone with the coronavirus: example: family member, healthcare worker etc.
- Traveled to areas with the virus widespread, living in an area with a widespread outbreak, or been in close contact with people who have been to the country with widespread cases
- Work closely with animals that have the viruses or consuming their uncooked meat
How deadly is COVID-19 compared to other coronavirus outbreaks?
Here are some statements and statistics released by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general, Dr. Tedros Anhanom Ghebreyesus, in a press briefing Feb. 17th, 2020.
“It also appears that COVID-19 is not as deadly as other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS.
- More than 80% of patients have mild disease and will recover.
- In about 14% of cases, the virus causes severe disease, including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
- And about 5% of patients have critical disease including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure.
- In 2% of reported cases, the virus is fatal, and the risk of death increases the older you are.
We see relatively few cases among children. More research is needed to understand why.”
-Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (World Health Organization. (2020)
However, according to a recent study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “this virus is more contagious than the SARS or MERS virus”(Guzman, 2020). This means the study found that the COVID-19 virus easily spreads compared to the other types of coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS. This may explain why it has spread throughout the world so quickly.
How COVID-19 is transmitted?
- Respiratory droplets: it seems the virus is primarily spread via droplets.
- When a person coughs or sneezes, it naturally causes water droplets from the respiratory system to be expelled. Therefore, when a person, who is infected COVID-19, coughs or sneezes their respiratory droplets contain the virus. The water droplets act as a vehicle for the virus to spread to the respiratory system of others, especially if the person is in close contact with others.
- Contact: when a person who is infected with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes etc. the water droplets that contain the virus can fall onto surrounding surfaces/objects. It is unknown how long the virus lives on surfaces at this time. If a person, who is not infected with COVID-19, touches the contaminate objects/surfaces and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth they could infect themselves with the virus.
- Fecal-oral?: It is suspected that the virus may be shed in an infected person’s stool, which can led to the transmission route of fecal-oral. This is still to be determined at this time.
What’s the incubation period for COVID-19?
The incubation period is when a person first starts showing signs and symptoms from the time of exposure.
According to the CDC.gov, they state the incubation period seems to be a minimum of 2 days to up to 14 days. This is why people are being quarantined for 2 weeks when they are suspected of having COVID-19. This is because this tends to be the time period when people start showing signs and symptoms. However, recent reports from Chinese provincial government states it could be as long as 27 days (Shen & Woo, 2020).
COVID-19 Signs and Symptoms
Note: some patients with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) BUT they are still contagious
Fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue…testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19
Testing for COVID-19
Real-time PCR test will assess and detect the genetic material of the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 Prevention Measures and Education
- soap and water for at least 20 seconds or alcohol based sanitizer
Don’t touch the mouth, nose, or eyes with hands
- This helps decrease the risk of transferring the virus into your respiratory track.
Cover your coughing and sneezing and then wash hands afterwards. Always properly dispose of tissue paper that may be used to cover sneeze/cough.
Wear a facemask? UPDATE April 3, 2020: It was now recommended that a clot face mask be used by the general public when going out in public. However, medical masks should be reserved for healthcare professional at this time.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick (fever and cough)
Stay informed and visit ready.gov/pandemic for how you can prepare your family
Avoid travel to high risk areas…if have traveled and feel sick notify doctor
Stay home if you are sick
Cook meat properly from animals
If patient is showing signs and symptoms, immediately ask about travel history
Know and follow your hospital’s plan for COVID-19 (protocols are being developed and are in place….ex: isolation precaution, PPE to wear, testing)
Treatment for COVID-19
No vaccine currently available (flu vaccine does not work for COVID-19)
No specific treatment other than treating the signs and symptoms (antiviral, respiratory support, supportive care etc.)
Test your knowledge with this COVID-19 quiz.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (2020). Retrieved 26 February 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.htmlGuzman, J. (2020).
Coronavirus more contagious than SARS or MERS according to the largest study done so far. Retrieved 20 February 2020, from https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/483714-coronavirus-is-more-contagious-than-sars-or-mers
Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19). (2020). Retrieved 24 February 2020, from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
Shen, S., & Woo, R. (2020). Coronavirus incubation could be as long as 27 days, Chinese provincial government says. Retrieved 27 February 2020, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-incubation/coronavirus-incubation-could-be-as-long-as-27-days-chinese-provincial-government-says-idUSKCN20G06W
World Health Organization. (2020). WHO Director-General’s remarks at the media briefing on COVID-2019 outbreak on 17 February 2020. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-2019-outbreak-on-17-february-2020