Coronavirus: What Is It and How to Prevent It

By Camille Herbert
Staff Writer

Once again, the world is being plagued by a deadly disease. This time, the virus is the coronavirus, and it is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China.

Before anyone starts to panic, let’s explain the coronavirus and how to prevent infection. (This information comes from the article “What Is Coronavirus?” on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.) Since this is a new virus, not much information is known about it as of now.

What we do know is the 2019 novel coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Health officials are still tracking the original source, but early hypotheses link the virus to a seafood market. There is also speculation that it originated from an animal source, but experts say an animal coronavirus that is able to infect humans is rare.

There are many different types of the coronavirus. Some cause minor colds or mild respiratory illnesses, others are more serious such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

As of now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating how the coronavirus spread in China. As of Feb. 2, China reported 24,363 people had contracted the virus, or more than 99% of all cases around the world. Roughly 191 cases worldwide are determined to be the coronavirus, according to WHO.

Coronavirus symptoms appear two weeks after exposure and now seems to spread from person-to-person. The symptoms are those that you might mistake for the flu or a cold: coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and, in rare cases, severe respiratory problems, kidney failure and even death.

If you show any of these symptoms, but haven’t traveled to Wuhan, China, then it’s most likely you don’t have the coronavirus. If you have traveled to Wuhan, China, and developed any symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for a laboratory test to confirm if you have the virus.

Since this is a new virus, there aren’t many treatments for the virus, but if one becomes sick, they are able to feel better using the same treatments for their symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these suggestions: Stay at home when you are sick, wash your hands frequently, clean and disinfect areas people frequently touch, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Health agencies around the world are keeping an eye on the coronavirus to prevent it from spreading.




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Via Universal Images Group

The 2019 coronavirus is a new strain that can be mistaken for a cold or the flu.