Should We Be Afraid of the Coronavirus?

As mounting concerns are heard throughout the media, private accounts, and by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC, it is clear that there should be concerns about Coronavirus.  Therefore, a healthy understanding of risks, cause, transmission, and symptoms are essential. The mounting fear due to unknown if far less helpful. Information and data are the keys.

Similar types of outbreaks have been seen in the past. They are often described as SARS and MERS. Also known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Outbreak and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Outbreak.

What is the Coronavirus?

This virus is a type is a specific type of virus that affects mammals and birds. The current outbreak is being called COVID-19.

When passed to humans, it causes respiratory issues and infections. This includes an upper respiratory infection or the cold but is different than the virus causing Influenza.

Symptoms in humans are similar to other viruses of similar nature.

The Coronavirus is not new. It was first discovered in the 1960s. They were first found in chickens. In humans, two virus types were found in the nasal cavities of humans.  The first two were named human coronavirus 229E and human coronavirus OC43.

Over the years, additional virus types have been found in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2012.

COVID-19 is the latest virus type. This type does appear more virulent and deadly than previous types.

Where did the Virus Start?

This latest outbreak began in 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. In this region, over 1,300 people were affected.

The virus quickly moved to other cities and the growing number of those affected has been identified by the CDC and travel precautions, isolations, and such are currently in place.

Currently, tens of thousands of cases of COVID-19 have been found in China. But additional cases have been found internationally such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States.

How many deaths have been caused by COVID-19?

1,400 people have been believed to have been killed directly by this new coronavirus.  Most of these cases have occurred inside China.

Three additional deaths have been attributed which include one death in Hong Kong, one death in Singapore, and one death in Japan.

On Thursday, February 13th it was reported an additional 5,000 cases had been found in China resulting in 121 additional deaths.

How is the Virus passed?

Respiratory droplets. This means that it is passed through sneezing, coughing, and nasal secretions. This is very typical for viruses such as the flu, etc.

The virus appeared initially be transferred from animal to human. However, after the first few days, it was noticed that human to human transmission was occurring.

In the United States, person-to-person transmission occurred with those who came into contact with those who traveled to Wuhan China, but per the CDC – the virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States.

What Symptoms are seen?

1.)  Fever

2.) Cough

3.)  Shortness of breath

The severity of symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe. These symptoms are seen in many other conditions as well such as the Flu, common cold, Asthma, and others.

The key is to try to avoid panicking and contact the hospital if symptoms worsen.  If you have not come directly from China, or come into contact with someone directly from China, it is extremely unlikely that you have the Coronavirus.  Keep this is mind!

What to Expect in the next several days

Additional Cases will be identified in the next several days. It is believed that the virus has not yet “peaked” and that person-to-person transmission will continue to occur.

Additional Deaths are likely. These will mostly be from China and neighboring countries.

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