Coronaviruses are a family of very common and cosmopolitan respiratory viruses, most often encountered in young children during the winter period. They can cause a wide variety of illnesses.

In humans, they cause respiratory infections, ranging from a common cold to a severe lung infection, which causes acute respiratory distress.

The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus, currently responsible for the Covid-19 epidemic, is unique in its ability to induce respiratory failure, mainly in the elderly with pre-existing illnesses.

Covid-19 is dangerous for the following reasons:

  • It is highly contagious: each infected person will infect at least 3 people in the absence of protective measures;
  • The large proportion of asymptomatic cases (between 20 and 40%) accelerates the spread of the disease.

The disease is transmitted:

By the projection of droplets and saliva contaminated by a carrier: by coughing, sneezing or in the event of close contact in the absence of protective measures (physical distance, barrier measures, wearing a mask). The contaminated droplets are inhaled by the healthy person, and trigger the disease.

By direct physical contact (handshake, hug, kiss, etc.) between a carrier and a healthy person. The virus is then transmitted to the healthy person when they put their hands to the face.

By indirect contact, via objects or surfaces contaminated by a carrier. The virus is then transmitted to a healthy person who handles these objects, when they put their hands to their face.

For more information on Covid-19, visit the NHS website.

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