BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

COVID-19: Still a Headline



Covid 19 has firmly persisted in the spotlight and also remained in the  news headlines all over the world. From the constant increase in the number of  lives lost, to the broad range of  economic and political issues it influences, there is no slowing down for this deadly virus. Even worse, just when the world is about to figure it out, it mutates and changes its characteristics producing novel strains. One would begin to wonder, for  how much longer would this ingenious and very elusive virus continue to surprise our world…

Since the lockdown in 2020, the social aspects of human life including business, education,  travel and entertainment have not been the same. 

In Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to work with provincial and territorial partners and the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) to sequence a percentage of all positive COVID-19 test result. So far, four variants of concern (VOC) have been detected in most provinces and territories:

  • B.1.1.7 (Alpha)
  • B.1.351 (Beta)
  • P.1 (Gamma)
  • B.1.617.2 (Delta)

The Alpha and Delta variants are the commonest variants of concern in Canada, especially Ontario, which has the highest rate of infection in the country. Infection leads to flu-like symptoms.  Five most common symptoms according to recent research include fatigue (58%), headache (44%), attention disorder (27%), hair loss (25%), and dyspnea (24%). In addition, a very common and specific symptom is the loss of taste or smell. This symptom is reported in up to 80% of patients that test positive for COVID-19.

 As proposed by World Health Organization experts; wearing masks, frequent  hand washing, social distancing, avoiding crowds and contact with sick people,  cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and social distancing can help prevent coronavirus infections. These recommendations have been tested and trusted for months and even though they have proven to cut down infection rates, people have become numb to them and would not wait to get back to their normal lives. According to newer research, septic shock, cardio respiratory complications and multi organ failure were the most common immediate cause of death, often due to suppurative pulmonary infection.

It is also important to note that older patients and those with preexisting chronic health conditions are at an increased risk of fatal disease outcome.

Death is not the only  result of COVID-19 infection, in-fact, quality of  of life can be severely affected following infection. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after being infected. Some people who fall severely ill with COVID-19 experience multi-organ effects or autoimmune conditions over a longer time with symptoms lasting weeks or months even after the COVID-19 illness ends. Post-intensive care syndrome (PICS), which refers to health effects that begin when a person is in an intensive care unit (ICU), can remain after a person returns home. These effects can include severe weakness, problems with thinking and judgment, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Concurrently,  as more waves of COVID-19 hit an area consistently, with no sign of slowing down, hospitals become overcrowded and ICU beds are filled to maximum capacity causing more deaths.

Does COVID-19have any  treatment options? Remdesivir, an antiviral agent, was the first drug to gain full FDA approval for treatment of COVID-19 in October 2020. While many investigational treatments exist, remdesivir and dexamethasone(a steroid medication) have been approved to lower death rate in hospitalized covid 19 patients. 

Hospitals, although vital to health systems, have never been the solution to public health problems. Hence, the vaccine rollout started as early as late December 2020 in countries like Israel, and have become popular in most countries since April 2021 especially countries with high cases and deaths rates including France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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