- The new coronavirus outbreak, initially identified in China, is continuing to grow about 2 months after it was first detected.
- Now called COVID-19, the virus is one of multiple coronaviruses that can infect humans.
- Other examples include SARS, MERS, and even the common cold.
This month, China announced a major increase in the number of new coronavirus cases, now dubbed COVID-19. In one day they reported an increase of about 14,000 cases.
Over 75,000 people have contracted the virus first detected in December.
The dramatic increase is due in part to a shift in how the virus is being diagnosed. Medical experts are now using lung scans rather than complicated tests that reveal the virus’ genetic structure. Those tests had been difficult to access, according to reports.
This week, China also revealed that more than 1,700 medical workers have contracted the disease and 6 have died.
Over 2,000 people have died from the virus in total. The vast majority of people who have contracted it and who died are in China.
In the United States, 15 people have been diagnosed with the disease.
More people have died from this new coronavirus in 2 months than in the entire duration of the SARS outbreak.
However, the overall death rate is still much lower for this virus (around 2 percent) than the SARS virus (around 10 percent).
Other updates on the outbreak can be found here.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 or the flu is simple: Encourage employees to stay home when they’re sick.
But since the United States doesn’t have a national paid sick leave policy, taking a sick day remains a financial sacrifice for 32 million workers that lack paid sick leave benefits.
Without paid sick leave, workers are more likely to come into work sick, exposing their co-workers to an illness. This means if COVID-19 starts spreading widely in the United States, it could be difficult to stop.
COVID-19, the extremely infectious coronavirus sweeping through China’s Hubei province, will become a ‘community virus’ in the United States, if not this year, then the next, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN.
“This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission,” said Dr. Redfield. “Right now we’re in an aggressive containment mode.”
Dr. Redfield emphasized that the CDC doesn’t have any evidence that coronavirus is “really embedded in the community at this time, but with that said, we want to intensify our surveillance so that we’re basing those conclusions based on data.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Feb. 11 in a tweet that the new coronavirus will now be called COVID-19.
Previously, it had been called 2019nCoV, although many media outlets referred to the virus simply as coronavirus — even though that refers to a larger family of viruses.
“There’ve been some concerning instances of onward 2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to [China]. The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg,” tweeted Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, on Feb. 9.
The WHO already declared a global public health emergency last month in response to the outbreak.
At this point, 15 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but federal and local health officials aren’t taking any chances.
The CDC and other officials are taking steps including creating a global preparedness plan and issuing federal quarantine orders for people at high risk of being infected.
As the virus spreads, so does misinformation. Facebook and other social media sites are already trying to take down misleading information.
Here’s the truth about coronavirus myths, including whether pets can contract it and whether antibiotics actually help fight the disease.
Since the virus is so new, there’s no cure for the disease. But doctors have been able to use supportive care and other antivirals to try and help patients.
Early studies show some evidence that certain medications, including those that treat HIV, may help fight the virus.
Multiple organizations are already working on a vaccine for the new coronavirus, but it’s unlikely to be widely released within the year.
That’s because rigorous testing is needed to ensure that the vaccine is both safe and effective.
Experts are still investigating, but early research suggests the virus originated in bats and then was transmitted to humans via an intermediary animal.
What’s the intermediary animal? Potentially a snake or type of anteater called a pangolin.
A global outbreak of a new virus is frightening enough for adults. For kids, it can be overwhelming.
We talked to experts about the best way for parents to talk to their kids about what’s going on and how to reassure them.
Parents should also check in with themselves and consider how their fears may be influencing their children.
“When a parent is anxious, their child is going to feel that anxiety and take it on, regardless of how well they think they mask or hide their anxiety,” said Haley Neidich, a licensed mental health professional and practicing psychotherapist.