It’s the worldwide trending word of the week: coronavirus. And, despite the memes on your social media feeds it is not spread by drinking a certain Mexican beer. It’s a fast spreading disease that has killed over 40 and has infected over 1500 in a short time.
Here’s what we know from the CDC:
- A coronavirus in it’s simplest form you know as the common cold. The 2019-NcoV strain of coronavirus can be compared to SARS or MERS. It is an air born virus of which not much seems to be known.
- There are 63 suspected cases in the U.S. and 2 confirmed.
- The 2 confirmed cases both visited the Wuhan, China province where this particular strain of is thought to originate.
- The 2 confirmed cases are in Washington and Illinois. The 63 suspected cases cover 22 states
- There is still a lot health officials don’t know about the virus. But, vaccinations are in the early stages of development.
- The WHO says it is too early to issue an International Public Health Emergency. The CDC says the threat level as of this time in the U.S. is “low”
- China has suspended all international travel, schools, travel within the Wuhan city, and Chinese New Year’s Celebrations as 15 died in one day on Friday.
- Cases have been confirmed in Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, France and the United States.
- China’s leader, Xi Jinping calls it a “grave situation”
- Hong Kong has also declared a State of Emergency
- The medical journal The Lancet published a study on Friday suggesting that people infected with the coronavirus might be able to spread it even if they do not have flu symptoms. According to the CDC Presser on Friday, this seems to be the case with the confirmed case in Illinois.
- Concerns are that unlike some other coronaviruses of the past, this one seems to spread in medical facilities.
- The coronavirus originally seemed to only affect older people. Now younger , one girl as young as 2 , are being infected.
- The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper-respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.
This story was written 1/25/20. Statistics are evolving quickly, so these may not be up to date.