Healthcare News

Coronavirus: What You Need To Know

February 3, 2020 By


As of February 18th: Within the US, there have been 15 confirmed cases in 7 states: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, Arizona, Wisconsin and Texas.


What is the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are respiratory illnesses that can cause mild or moderate symptoms. In rare cases, they can be fatal. Most people will experience one of the more common types of coronavirus at least once during their lifetime, such as certain strains of the common cold.

Currently, there is a new coronavirus being spread that has not been previously identified in humans. This coronavirus was first identified in the Hubei Province in China, and the majority of reported cases have occurred in China.

How serious is it?

On Feb. 2nd, the US government issued a travel advisory, urging Americans not to travel to China. Days earlier, the World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. While the coronavirus is growing at a steady rate, for comparison, the flu has affected many more people this year with an estimated 15 – 21 million cases in the U.S.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat

How contagious is it?

Like most respiratory illnesses, this new coronavirus can be spread from person to person. Transmission can occur by breathing in respiratory droplets in the air, such as those produced by coughs or sneezes from someone who has the illness.


How can I prevent the coronavirus?

Currently, there is no vaccine for this strain of coronavirus. However, there are simple actions you can take to help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with
    unwashed hands
  • Wear a mask if you think you could have the virus
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze


Additional Resources:

More information about prevention, symptoms, transmission & treatment

For the latest statistics and situation reports

Updated U.S. Travel Advisories

Watch ABC News video “What is coronavirus?”