Coronavirus Disease 2019: A threat to global health

Lisa Saa BS, Kenneth Iwuji MD


Due to its rapid spread, the World Health Organization characterized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Coronaviruses cause a variety of respiratory diseases, ranging from the mild common cold to the lethal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. At the end of 2019, COVID-19 made its way onto the global stage due to its rapid human-to-human transmission and its ability to cause death secondary to respiratory failure. Symptoms of lower respiratory illness, including cough and shortness of breath, along with fever, should raise suspicion of COVID-19 infection in those who have recently traveled to high-risk areas or have had close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Other symptoms include gastrointestinal distress and cardiac involvement. Polymerase chain reaction testing of respiratory specimens and computed tomographic scans of the chest can be used to confirm the disease. Preventing exposure to the disease through handwashing, surface disinfection, and avoiding contact with those who are sick is the best way to prevent transmission of the disease. Many countries and local governments have implemented stay-at-home orders to decrease the rapid spread of COVID-19. Management of the disease involves symptom control, as there is currently no available treatment, but many clinical trials are underway. Global health efforts have concentrated on quick and aggressive actions to slow the transmission of the disease and identify cases as quickly as possible but with varying degrees of success.

Keywords: coronavirus disease 2019, global health, respiratory illness, COVID-19

Article citation: Saa L, Iwuji K. Coronavirus Disease 2019: A threat to global health. Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles 2020;8(34):4–10
From: Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas
Submitted: 2/20/2020
Accepted: 4/5/2020
Reviewer: Kenneth Nugent MD
Conflicts of interest: none
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.