The rapid onset and spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus is proving to be a big challenge for public health officials throughout the world. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses. Some cause infection in people, and other infect animals.
Animals infected with coronaviruses can rarely spread the infection to humans. This jump to humans is what happened with the new virus, which has led to the worldwide outbreak of “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2”, called SARS-CoV-2. This is how the new virus got the name COVID-19, 19 is for 2019 when it was discovered.
Now 7 months after the Covid-19 virus first emerged we have close to 7 million cases that tested positive and over 665,000 confirmed death cases from over 30 nations. The virus has taken over 152,500 lives in the United States compared to 4,600 lives in China. And thousands of cases are being reported daily.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and policymakers worldwide are in a frantic search for an action plan to limit the spread of the virus as fast as possible. A vital component of the disease could be spreading is your surroundings. However, we don’t know precisely how significant the environment is in the spread of this coronavirus, it has been a critical element in other disease outbreaks.
Efforts currently concentrate on human-to-human transmission, possible animal-to-human links, and ways to take care of those already infected. However, to contain the virus, we must prioritize the environment — air, soil, water, and man-made surfaces — play a role.
Specific environments function as reservoirs of pathogens (organisms that cause illness ). If individuals come into contact with the atmosphere, such as a contaminated work surface or pool of water, they could become infected by the pathogen. It’s therefore critical to think about the environment when it comes to handling the Covid-19 virus outbreaks.
Surviving In The Surroundings
A virus is a small agent that can replicate within the cells of an organism. When it’s not inside an organism, it is present as a tiny particle, too small to be detected with some microscopes.
There is scientific proof that many viruses can persist outside an animal or human host. Environmental factors — such as temperature, presence of organic matter, and ultraviolet light from sun — influence their capacity to survive.
We carry out microbiology research and look at how pathogens like Murine norovirus, human adenovirus, salmonella, and vibrio cholera live in the environment. We will discover that in aquatic habitats, most bacterial pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, survive longer in sediment than in the water column. The sediment provides nutrients to them and protects them from UV rays and predation from other organisms.
This has also been revealed with viruses. The conditions that decide how long a virus can last in the environment depend on the specific virus. Generally, when areas are extremely hot, and there is a good deal of moisture in the atmosphere, viruses — including several members of the coronavirus family — do not survive for a long. They favor lower temperatures, around 4℃, and less humidity, however, climate does not seem to slow down the spread of this new virus.
Viruses have various ways of surviving in the environment. As an example, occasionally, virus particles will group together to protect themselves from ultraviolet light. Those on the outside portion of the group will usually not survive, but those on the inner section of the group could.
They may also link themselves to organic particles, like animal and plant debris, in the surroundings. This could provide a physical barrier to threats like disinfectants.
Covid-19 Coronavirus In The Surroundings
Some members of the coronavirus family, like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, the human coronaviruses (HCoV), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus can survive outside the human body for up to a week on surfaces like metal, glass, paper, aluminum, and plastic.
The previous SARS CoV could endure in the atmosphere for up to fourteen days. Scientists don’t understand how it did so.
So far, there’s no information about the survival and transmission of this SARS-CoV-2 in the environment. Whether someone can be infected by touching a tainted surface remains unclear, but it is highly probable.
The SARS-CoV-2 has been first isolated in environmental samples, especially from a market in Wuhan, China. The virus hasn’t yet been isolated in any animal in the affected regions, meaning the environment might have played a role in the spread.
Environmental Covid-19 Responses
The WHO considers that the US $675 million is required to develop preparedness plans and ensure a worldwide response to the new coronavirus. The first draft of this proposed plan indicates reducing human-to-human transmission, early and optimized care for patients diagnosed and identifying and reducing animal-human transmission.
The strategy should also take into account the existence of this SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 in the environment: soil, air, water, and surfaces. The uncertainty about the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 makes it difficult to determine measures to prevent transmission.
However, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control indicates steps like cleaning frequently touched surfaces (such as windows, walls, toilets, and bathrooms) with ethanol and bleach. Fabrics and clothes should be washed with detergents and in hot water.
In places prone to infection, like hospitals, workers should wear personal protective equipment. China has gone so far as sterilizing banknotes, while South Korean health officials have taken to spraying disinfectants in public places like markets.
In the future, governments should engage epidemiologists, environmental scientists, and public health officials who can give insights into the behavior of this virus in the environment.