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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious illness caused by coronavirus 2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome) (SARS-CoV-2). Earlier this year, in December, the first known case was discovered in Wuhan, China. Since then, the illness has spread across the globe, causing a pandemic that is still continuing.

Fever, coughing, headaches, tiredness, breathing problems, and loss of smell and taste are common symptoms of COVID-19, which may also be caused by other viruses. When exposed to the virus, symptoms may appear anywhere between one and fourteen days later. At least one-third of those who are afflicted do not show any signs or symptoms of the disease. When it comes to those who develop symptoms noticeable enough to be classified as patients, the majority (81 percent) experience mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14 percent experience severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and 5 percent experience critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction). More severe symptoms in older individuals have been linked to their age. There have been reports of organ damage in certain individuals who have had a variety of symptoms (long COVID) for months after they have recovered. An investigation on the long-term effects of the illness is now underway, and it will last many years.

It is possible to get COVID-19 by inhaling polluted air that has been contaminated by droplets and tiny airborne particles carrying the virus. Inhaling them is most dangerous when individuals are in close proximity, although they may be absorbed across greater distances, especially when people are indoors. When contaminated fluids are splashed or sprayed into the eyes, nose, or mouth of a person, transmission may occur. Transmission can also occur via contaminated surfaces, which is very uncommon. The virus may stay infectious for up to 20 days, and people can transmit it even if they do not show any signs of ill health themselves.

To diagnose the illness, a number of different diagnostic techniques have been created. Diagnostic methods for nasopharyngitis include the detection of the virus' nucleic acid by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) or transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), as well as the detection of the virus' RNA by reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP).