The Science of Covid-19

Covid-19 Explained

  • SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus.
  • It was first identified in Wuhan in China in December 2019.
  • The name of the disease that is associated with SARS-CoV-2 is Covid-19.
  • SARS-CoV-2 stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2.
  • The disease spread across the world and is now a Global Pandemic.
  • We now need to learn to live with and control this virus as it is now a part of our everyday lives.


Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Virus

  • It is a ball of genetic material with spike proteins.
  • It is the spike proteins which attach to the human cell, infecting a person with the virus.
  • These proteins attach onto the lung and cause the disease.


How is the Virus Spread

There is two ways the virus is spread:

  • Direct Contact
  • Indirect Contact


Direct Contact

  • A person infected with Covid-19 coughs or sneezes in your presence.
  • If you are not practicing safe social distancing i.e. within 2m, you can pick up the virus from them directly.
  • It is very important the 2m rule is maintained to keep yourself and others safe.
  • Face coverings and masks will also help reduce the spread of the virus physically.


Indirect Contact

  • A person who is infected with the virus coughs and sneezes into their hand and then touches an object such as door handle etc.
  • The virus is then transferred onto the surface.
  • If a non-infected person then touches the infected surface and in turn touches the nose, mouth or eyes.
  • The virus can then get into their system, attach onto the lungs and infect the person with the disease.



Signs & Symptoms of Covid-19

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Fatigue (in some cases extreme fatigue)

If you are suffering from any of these signs or symptoms, you should self-isolate and contact your GP and request a test immediately.


Contact Tracing

  • If you feel you have experienced any of the above symptoms you must ensure you contact trace.
  • Contact tracing log.  The HSE will request your close contacts. They will notify them and request that they self-isolate or restrict their movements and get tested themselves.


Vulnerable Groups

There are a number of vulnerable groups in society that need to be protected. These include:

  • People over the age of 70.
  • People with underlying health conditions.


Control Methods to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19

  • Virus is transmitted via physical contact – ensure physical and social distancing (2m) is being maintained and correct use of facial coverings.
  • The virus can survive on hard surfaces. Cleaning and sanitising of frequently touched objects is vital.
  • Correct hand washing and hand sanitisation is also very important. Wash for at least 20 seconds and dry them properly.
  • Work from home where possible.
  • If you do have to go into work ensure correct policies and procedures are put in place and hazard and risk assessments completed.
    • Ensure there is not too many people within the workplace at the one time.
    • Rotate the workforce.
    • Stagger start times, break times and finish times.
    • Minimise the number of people allowed in canteen at one time.
    • Ensure there is always good ventilation.
    • Avoid dark, poorly ventilated areas like elevators and lifts.
    • Avoid sharing of items e.g. pens, cups, cutlery etc.
    • If you have to share work equipment, ensure they are cleaned and sanitised after each use e.g. photocopiers and scanners.
    • Ensure all staff are trained on best practice procedures.