Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Posted by Jessica Sims on

By now, you've likely heard about the coronavirus outbreak. Depending on who you talk to they may tell you it is a global pandemic while others may dismiss it as a hoax. So this brings us to the topic, what exactly do you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak?

1. What is the "Novel Coronavirus"?

Simply put, the novel Coronavirus (aka nCOV-19, COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2) is a newfound respiratory disease. It originated in Wuhan, China back in late 2019, but it wasn't formally declared an emergency by the World Health Organization until January 30, 2020. The disease was linked to infected animals in a live animal market in Wuhan. Humans that ate these live animals thus became infected with nCOV. After a while it became clear that people who hadn't visited this live animal market had also become infected. So it is now believed that the main way this virus spreads is through person-to-person contact. 

Person-to-person Contact is...

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes

2.  Where has the Novel Coronavirus spread?

There have been numerous reports of the disease being spread to other countries. The most recent reports are coming out of Italy, Iran and Korea where an increasing amount of people are symptomatic. The CDC has been keeping track of all the confirmed cases throughout the globe. So far nCOV-19 has been confirmed in 60 countries including the United States. This number is expected to increase as long as travel between countries with confirmed cases continue. In the U.S., while over 450 people have been tested for the virus, there are only 15 confirmed coronavirus cases.  For more updates about the spread of the novel coronavirus, please visit:

3. What Are the Symptoms?

One thing that makes novel coronavirus harder to detect is that the symptoms mimic other respiratory illnesses. The most common symptoms people have is:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

The other tricky part about this illness is that it may take 2-14 days after exposure before you start displaying symptoms. So what has happened is people think they've just come down with a simple cold. However, it can quickly escalate into a medical emergency if not taken care of soon enough. 

4. How Can You Avoid the Coronavirus?

There currently is no vaccine against novel coronavirus although efforts are being made to develop one. Here are the CDC's top recommendations for COVID-19 prevention:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

I hope this post was helpful  and I encourage everyone to visit the CDC for more in-depth information. I just wanted to give you the gist of what is going on. With so many reports coming from all different sources, it can be hard to figure out what is really happening. In addition, I also have a blog post about proper hand hygiene that you can check out in my "Beat The Bug Series"

CDC Coronavirus Info:

Beat The Bug Part 2- Hand Hygiene: