Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that are transmitted between animals and people, with the most recent being COVID-19. Coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections in humans ranging from the common cold to more serious disease. Other types of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Coronavirus Symptoms and Prevention
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Dry cough
Some patients may also experience:
- Aches and pains
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Those with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Some people who have been infected with the coronavirus may never develop any symptoms. About 80% of those infected recover without any special treatment. About 1 in 6 people who become infected become seriously ill and have difficulty breathing. At-risk groups include older people, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes.
COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth such as from coughing or sneezing. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around people and on people, such as in instances when someone sneezes into their hand. Studies suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
To prevent the spread of the virus the following is recommended by the World Health Organization:
- Regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Keep distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face (i.e. eyes, nose, mouth)
- Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home from school, work, and gathering of any kind if you feel unwell.
- Keep up to date on the COVID-19 hotspots and avoid travel if you can.
COVID-19 Prevalence Around the World
As of March 13, 2020, there are 132,758 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with 7,499 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Currently, China still has the highest number of cases and deaths in the world of 80,991 confirmed cases and 3,180 deaths. Italy has the second-highest number of cases with 15,113 and 1,016 deaths. The United States has 1,264 confirmed cases and 36 deaths; however, due to the lack of coronavirus testing in the U.S., these numbers may be largely inaccurate. Countries are implementing measures such a social distancing and lockdowns to slow the succession of the virus. China, South Korea, and Japan have had some success in doing so.
The most up-to-date information can be found on the World Health Organization’s website.