The world is currently battling an infectious condition known as coronavirus 2019, or simply COVID-19. It is “caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is part of a large family of coronaviruses (CoV)”. Such viruses are transmitted from animal to human species, with COVID-19 originating from a market in Wuhan, China, in December of 2019. As for the symptoms, they resemble those of the common cold and include fever, headaches, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, and sore throat.
However, coronavirus can also lead to organ failure, pneumonia, and even death. In the most severe cases, those infected are hospitalized to be treated for an acute respiratory syndrome using medications and ventilators. As of January 2021, there have been around 94 million cases of COVID-19 recorded, with 2 million being lethal.
The majority of deaths occurred in specific groups, such as the elderly and people with preexisting conditions. Thus, older age, lung problems, obesity, heart disease, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and cancer are among the risk factors.
In order to deal with the spread of the virus, government officials around the world have developed a number of public health and social initiatives. In an effort to protect those at risk of dealing with the most severe consequences of COVID-19, critical measures were taken, including months-long lockdowns and business shutdowns.
Despite the scope of the programs developed and the amount of global funds used, healthcare has faced a crisis like no other. People begin to understand the extent of health disparities on the basis of one’s socioeconomic status. Those living in unhygienic and low-capacity settings lack the resources to protect themselves from a potentially harmful virus. Some cannot afford to miss work, while others lose their jobs entirely due to economic consequences of COVID-19.
Communities in developing countries experience a lack of access to medical services, food, and clean water. An advantage of the pandemic is a crisis that has forced government officials, healthcare organizations, lobbyists, and medical professionals to innovate, evaluate, and research. COVID-19 has created a need to advance the medical field, which contributes to a changing role of care workers as health promoters and community leaders.