Today, it seems like coronavirus is everywhere in the news. One of the reasons this virus is such big news is that it’s novel. This type of coronavirus has never been observed anywhere in the world until this year. Another reason it’s been such a big deal is that it emerged in one of the world’s biggest population centers: China. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, was first observed in Wuhan City. Since then, cases have been observed in countries around the world, including in the US. As the crisis goes on, organizations like the CDC and WHO are continuing to monitor it closely.
The first thing to understand about this coronavirus is that no one knows much about it yet. It’s important not to panic, though. Physicians know a lot about other coronaviruses and how to treat them. SARS and MERS are also coronaviruses, and there’s a lot of information available about how they work. Coronaviruses originate in animals like cats, bats and camels. Only a few of them make the leap to infect humans.
The second important thing about coronavirus is to understand what is known about it. Coronaviruses tend to spread through the air. When people who are infected with the virus cough or sneeze, droplets with the virus can spread as far as six feet. It’s hypothesized that people are the most contagious when they’re the sickest and cough and sneeze the most. In addition to a cough, symptoms of 2019 Novel Coronavirus include fever and shortness of breath. People who develop these symptoms should seek medical attention. They should also make an effort to sneeze into a tissue or their elbow to try and keep the virus from spreading.
In order to prevent transmission of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, it’s a good idea to practice basic hygiene. That means washing hands with hot water and soap and drying them properly. If no water is available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the way to go. Also, clean objects that people touch frequently, like door handles. It’s also a good idea to avoid people with symptoms like coughing and sneezing. Finally, when a person becomes sick with symptoms of coronavirus, they should stay home to avoid transmitting the illness to others.