No one likes to be sick, especially with the influenza virus or the flu. This disease can be cause for real concern, especially during the flu season (October through March).
“Coronavirus” is an umbrella term for many types of viruses. This group of viruses has been known for decades and can cause respiratory diseases in both people and animals. What has been most publicized lately is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19; previously 2019-nCoV) which is a new strain. According to the World Health Organization, this strain had not been previously identified in humans.
The COVID-19 has infected thousands of people, mainly in Wuhan, China, since December 2019. But, as of February 17, 2020, it has hit every inhabited continent. Of course, with several cases occurring around the world, including the US, this has resulted in a public scare of a global epidemic.
Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) takes this very seriously, they consider the immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general American public low as of February 17. Yet, it’s always a good idea to be informed and follow safety precautions to keep the risk down and avoid the virus from spreading.
Those infected with COVID-19 show varied symptoms. They can be mildly sick or severely ill. The death toll has risen to 1775, with more than 71,333 confirmed cases worldwide as of February 17.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms may include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath and may appear after exposure in as little as 2 days or as many as 14 days.
Initially, officials thought that only animals, such as bats or camels, carry and transmit the virus. However, Chinese researchers reported that the virus can spread from person to person, too. Right now, it’s not clear how easily this virus is spreading between people.
The CDC believes that the virus spreads similarly to influenza pathogens. That means it is possible to contract it by being in contact with an infected person that’s coughing or sneezing or simply by touching contaminated surfaces.
According to the CDC, the states with the 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases are Washington, California, Arizona, Illinois, and Massachusetts as of February 17. Also, there are 467 patients under investigation (PUIs) in 42 states.
If you live in the US, the chances of getting sick with COVID-19 are extremely slim. But if you think you’ve got it, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Keep in mind there’s no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection, but those infected should receive supportive care, nevertheless. And stay home if you’ve got the symptoms!
As of February 7, there’s no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection, so follow these everyday tips to avoid being exposed to the virus:
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