What is Covid and How Does it Spread?
The novel coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19, is a contagious respiratory illness that has had a devastating toll on public health and the global economy. Caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 and first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the virus has since spread around the world, claiming millions of lives and wreaking havoc on communities. Although many people have experienced mild or no symptoms, the brutal reality of the virus is that it can be fatal, and it’s important to understand how it works and why it’s so deadly. In this article, we’ll discuss how Covid kills and the risk factors associated with a potentially lethal outcome.
What Happens When You Contract Covid-19?
When someone contracts Covid-19, the virus enters the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes and then enters the cells. Once inside the cells, the virus hijacks the cells’ machinery and begins rapid replication. Numerous viral particles are then released and transmitted to other people when the infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Each person’s body responds differently to a Covid-19 infection, depending on age, sex, preexisting conditions, and other factors such as immunocompromisation. While many people experience no symptoms or mild ones that don’t require hospitalization, others may experience more severe, life-threatening symptoms.
How Does Covid Kill?
When someone contracts Covid-19, the virus can affect various parts of the body, including the lungs, heart, brain, and other organs. The most common cause of death from the virus is acute respiratory failure, which occurs when the lungs can no longer supply enough oxygen to the body. This can be a result of the body’s own immune system overreacting, or “cytokine storm,” to the virus, or from direct infection of the lungs by the COVID-19 virus, leading to pneumonia and other respiratory damage.
The longer someone is infected, the more likely the body is to become overwhelmed and unable to send enough oxygen to the body, leading to organ failure and often, death. In addition, health complications associated with pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, can put people at a higher risk of mortality.
Risk Factors That Could Make Covid Deadlier
Covid-19 has a wide range of symptoms and varying outcomes, depending on the person infected. Some risk factors that could increase the likelihood of a life-threatening outcome include:
• Age: The virus has proven to be particularly deadly for the elderly, with those over the age of 65 being at a greater risk of death.
• Sex: Studies have shown that men are more likely to die from Covid-19 than women.
• Preexisting Conditions: Individuals with preexisting health conditions, such as lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, are also more likely to experience severe Covid-19 symptoms and a worse outcome.
• Location: People living in densely populated areas are at greater risk of contracting the virus, which could lead to an increased mortality rate.
• Socioeconomic Status: Individuals with poorer access to healthcare or who live in poverty are more likely to have severe Covid-19 symptoms or death.
• Nutrition: Poor nutrition has been linked to an increased risk of death in Covid-19 patients.
• Lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle and/or smoking/vaping are both risk factors associated with Covid-19 mortality.
• Genetics: Some research suggests that certain genetic variations may contribute to a higher risk of death from Covid-19.
The novel coronavirus has rapidly spread around the world, causing an unprecedented number of deaths. Although some people may experience no or mild symptoms, the virus has the potential to be deadly, most commonly from acute respiratory failure. Risk factors such as age, sex, pre-existing conditions, location, socioeconomic status, nutrition, lifestyle, and genetics may increase the likelihood of a deadly outcome from Covid-19 and it’s important to be aware of these factors and take steps to protect yourself from the virus. As we continue to learn more about the virus and its effects, it’s crucial that we take all necessary precautions to reduce the spread and protect vulnerable populations.