Coronavirus – What should I know?

The coronavirus Covid-19:  Beautiful, but potentially deadly.
The coronavirus Covid-19: Beautiful, but potentially deadly.

What is it?   Coronaviruses are a large family of disease cells that infect both animals and people. They can cause mild to moderate flu-like illnesses of the respiratory tract.  The name comes from the spikes that can stick out from the cells that make them look like a royal crown. 

What are the symptoms of Conovirus Covid-19?    The symptoms are like other flu illnesses:  fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some patients have stomach upset.  But, people may have the disease and not show any symptoms. The incubation period — the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms — is believed to be anywhere from 10 days to two weeks.

Testing Kits:  One key element in getting control of the Covid-19 is the availability of accurate testing kits. The government has just released up to 15,000 kits this week to state and local health authorities. 

How serious is it?  “[The coronavirus epidemic] is a very serious public health situation.  The U.S. Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) and the federal government have and will continue to take aggressive action to protect the public,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.  There are 99 cases of the coronavirus in the United States and so far, 6 people have died (March 1, 2020). The Washington Post Newspaper keeps an up-to-date tab on the disease:

How can I get it?   Coronavirus is spread in the air by coughing.   

What persons are at risk:   All people can develop the disease through contact with a person or animal who is carrying it.   Persons who seem of greatest risk are middle age and older men; children do not seem to be at greater risk at this point.  

How do I keep myself and others safe?   Cough into your elbow; Don’t cough into your hands.  Wash your hands frequently – for at least 20 seconds.  Use sanitary, alcohol-based cleansers or wipes when you can.  Stay at home when you’re sick.

What precautions should I take?   If you have a fever or a cough and recently visited China, or spent time with someone who did, see your health care provider. Call first, so the office can prepare for your visit and take steps to protect other patients and staff from potential exposure. 

Origin and Spread:  The disease seems to have developed first in Central China in the city of Wuhan with a population of about 11 million people.   It has now spread to 75 countries with the most severe outbreaks taking place in South Korea and Iran. So far more than 80,000 people have contracted the disease with over 3,000 deaths.   

How long will it take to develop a vaccine?   A coronavirus vaccine is still many months away.  The government is pushing pharmaceutical companies to act as fast as possible.  After the SARS outbreak in 2003, it took researchers about 20 months to get a vaccine ready for human trials

Should I wear a surgical mask to protect myself?   If you have a respiratory infection, wearing a mask helps protect the people around you.   Surgical masks are not closefitting enough to filter all the air you are breathing in. 

Information for this article was obtained from

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