We all have more questions than answers about the coronavirus
But here is what we have so far learned about this infectious threat.
The coronavirus is generally believed to originate in bats, but it can spread to other animals before jumping onto people.
The World Health Organization has noted that the virus could transmit easily from one person to the next and onward, just like the common flu.
What are the symptoms and how dangerous is it?
On December 31, China notified the WHO to a strange outbreak of pneumonia – an inflammation of the lungs, accompanied by coughing, that can be caused by a number of pathogens.
Health officials have recently identified an even broader array of symptoms, as per the WHO. These symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Some patients have been successfully treated in hospitals and released within a few days, while others have suffered severe complications.
361 people infected with the coronavirus have thus far died in China.
One commonality among the fatal cases is that the patients also had other health issues. The first person who died also had chronic liver disease as well as abdominal tumors.
Another 66-year-old man who died due to the virus had suffered from COPD, hypertension, and other conditions, while a 48-year-old woman previously had diabetes and had had a stroke.
What can we do about the coronavirus?
- There is currently no vaccine for the virus. To shield yourself from being infected, you must basically do the same things you normally do to avoid the common cold:
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Do not get close to people who are carrying the virus.
- Rest well.
- Stay hydrated.
- Take sore throat and fever medicines. But do not give aspirin to kids younger than 19; instead, use acetaminophen or ibuprofen. A hot shower can also help ease your throat issues.
- If you do get sick, treat your symptoms and contact a doctor if they persist.
Wisconsin officials just confirmed a coronavirus case there
- Wisconsin has a confirmed case of the new coronavirus, the state’s health department told Business Insider on Wednesday.
- The case is the 12th in the US, which also has six confirmed patients in California, two in Illinois, one in Washington, one in Arizona, and one in Massachusetts.
- The CDC earlier on Wednesday said the other 11 patients were “doing well,” but the agency has not commented on the case in Wisconsin.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
- A patient in Wisconsin has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, the state’s health department told Business Insider on Wednesday. It’s the 12th case in the US; the first was confirmed on January 24.
The Wisconsin patient had “a history of travel to Beijing, China, prior to becoming ill,” according to the state’s health department. The patient was tested at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, Ryan Westergaard, the department’s chief medical officer, told The Associated Press.
The person is isolated at home and doing well, officials added, but they declined to provide further details. Before the announcement, Wisconsin had been investigating 10 cases of the virus, and seven had come back negative.
“The risk of getting sick from 2019 novel coronavirus in Wisconsin is very low,” State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers said in a statement. “We are responding aggressively to the situation and monitoring all developments. We are committed to keeping the public fully informed and will continue to provide updates as this situation unfolds.”
The coronavirus has killed nearly 500 people and infected more than 24,000 people globally since December, with the majority of cases occurring in China. The virus likely originated at a seafood market in Wuhan, China.
For the latest case total, death toll, and travel information, see Business Insider’s live updates here.
The outbreak has spread to 25 other countries: Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, the US, and Vietnam.
In addition to the Wisconsin patient, the US has 11 other confirmed cases: six people in California, a husband and wife in Chicago, a man in his 30s in Washington state, one patient in Arizona, and one in Massachusetts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said all of those patients were “doing well” on Wednesday.
In two of the cases, the virus was transmitted human to human among family members.
The coronavirus family is a large group of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract. Coronaviruses can lead to illnesses such as the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which sickened 8,000 people and killed 774 from November 2002 to July 2003.
People with the new coronavirus — known as 2019-nCoV — have reported symptoms such as fevers, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Most of the people who have died were elderly or otherwise unwell, Chinese officials have said.
The risk in the US is still low, according to the CDC. Officials at the agency recommend that people wash their hands frequently with soap and water and refrain from touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands to avoid spreading of the virus.
Thousands of Chinese doctors volunteered for the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak. They are overwhelmed, under-equipped, exhausted, and even dying.
Doctors in Wuhan, which was placed under a sweeping quarantine on January 24, have been faced with far more patients than they can handle.
The scene at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on January 25, one day after the city was put into lockdown.
Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
About when the quarantine began, one doctor told BBC News: “The hospitals have been flooding with patients, there are thousands, I haven’t seen so many before.
“I am scared because this is a new virus and the figures are alarming.”
Early in the outbreak, scientists had not yet realized that the virus could spread from human to human. During that time, many doctors didn’t wear protective gear.
China has relatively few doctors per capita compared with countries like the US, and those it does have are less well-trained.
According to Business Insider’s Aria Bendix, China has less than two physicians for every 10,000 residents.
Only about 60% have undergraduate degrees, and only about 10% have graduate degrees, a radical difference from in European and North American health systems.
Wuhan’s medical staff were soon overwhelmed. In response at least 6,000 medics from other parts of China were sent in, despite the risks.
Holiday cancelled? How the coronavirus is hurting tourism
With the health scare forcing Chinese visitors to stay at home, tourism across Asia and beyond is feeling the pain.
As China’s economy surged over the last two decades, Chinese tourists have become increasingly adventurous. They now make up the largest contingent of foreign tourist arrivals in many parts of Asia, and are also travelling in increasing numbers to Europe and North America.
But following the outbreak of a deadly coronavirus that originated in China, many Chinese are cancelling or delaying their travel plans, as authorities impose travel restrictions. And with the numbers of deaths and infections climbing, some tour operators in Asia say about the only thing that is travelling right now is the virus itself.
And that is hurting economies across the region.
“It’s gonna be a tough few months for the tourism industry,” Jeremy Mak, an independent tour guide in Malaysia.
Mak said he is already seeing cancellations and a decline in bookings as people from around the world put off plans to travel to Asia due to worries about the contagious virus.
Several major airlines in the United States have suspended flights to and from mainland China and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s main carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways, has asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave after the airline cut about 30 percent of its overall capacity, and 90 percent of its flights to the mainland.
“The industry as a whole is widely affected, but Chinese speaking guides are having a wipeout in terms of work – at least until April, if not longer,” Mak said.
The numbers of Chinese tourists have skyrocketed since the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China in 2003, making the economic effects of a slowdown in travel even more damaging to tourism-dependent countries.
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