Five things you need to know: Coronavirus

A deadly virus has infected hundreds of people from all over the world.

The 2019-nCoV otherwise known as the coronavirus is a new respiratory virus that started in Wuhan, China and has spread to other countries like the United Kingdom, Russia, Canada, Australia and even the United States.

In this country alone, 11 people were diagnosed with the virus with 76 awaiting to be tested, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Virginia.

“This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance,” the CDC said on its website.

Here are some things you need to know about this new strain of coronavirus:

  1. What is it? The coronavirus is a viral infection with symptoms ranging from none to fever, cough, shortness of breath which leads to severe illness and even, death. While the CDC doesn’t know much about the virus, the organization believed the symptoms can appear in as little as two days and as long as two weeks after being exposed. “This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses,” on the CDC’s Coronavirus Symptoms’ page.
  2. This particular strain of coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets, according to the Virginia Department of Health. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets can be transferred to you or when the infected person touches an object, and you touch the object then touch your eyes or mouth before washing your hands.
  3. The World Health Organization recommends people protect themselves from the virus by washing their hands frequently, keeping one’s distance from people who are coughing and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. “Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub eliminates the virus if it is on your hands,” the WHO notes on its website. “When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.”
  4. Feeling sick? – If you’re coughing, have difficulty breathing or develop a fever and have traveled to China recently or spent time with someone with the virus, call ahead before you head to the doctor’s office. “Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms,” according to the CDC’s website.
  5. What not to do- Besides not using face masks, the CDC said not to show prejudice to people of Asian descent because of the new virus. “Do not assume that someone of Asian descent is more likely to have 2019-nCoV,” the CDC noted. “All persons in the U.S.—including those of Asian descent—who have not traveled to China or been in contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected nCoV case in the last 14 days are at low risk of becoming sick.”

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