Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. A newly identified coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has caused a worldwide pandemic of respiratory illness, called COVID-19.
Spreading of new Covid-19
As of now, researchers know that the new coronavirus is spread through droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets generally do not travel more than a few feet, and they fall to the ground (or onto surfaces) in a few seconds — this is why physical distancing is effective in preventing the spread.
Covid-19 spreads through humans
COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan, a city in China, in December 2019. Although health officials are still tracing the exact source of this new coronavirus, early hypotheses thought it may be linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Some people who visited the market developed viral pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus. A study that came out on Jan. 25, 2020, notes that the individual with the first reported case became ill on Dec. 1, 2019, and had no link to the seafood market. Investigations are ongoing as to how this virus originated and spread.
Incubation period for COVID-19
It appears that symptoms are showing up in people within 14 days of exposure to the virus.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
- Congestion or runny nose
This list does not include all possible symptoms. This list will continue to update as we learn more about COVID-19. In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death.
Diagnose of COVID-19
Diagnosis may be difficult with only a physical exam because mild cases of COVID-19 may appear similar to the flu or a bad cold. A laboratory test can confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for COVID-19
As of now, there is not a specific treatment for the virus. People who become sick from COVID-19 should be treated with supportive measures: those that relieve symptoms. For severe cases, there may be additional options for treatment, including research drugs and therapeutics.
Does COVID-19 cause death?
As of July 27, 2020, 648,966 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. However, 9,407,977 people have recovered from the illness. This information comes from the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Is this coronavirus different from SARS?
SARS stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome. In 2003, an outbreak of SARS started in China and spread to other countries before ending in 2004. The virus that causes COVID-19 is similar to the one that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak: both are types of coronaviruses. Much is still unknown, but COVID-19 seems to spread faster than the 2003 SARS and also may cause less severe illness.
Reference: Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM). What is Coronavirus? Reviewed by Lauren M. Sauer, M.S. Interim guidance.: JHM July 27, 2020. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus