There's no doubt that the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) sounds scary. When it comes to the risk of a national outbreak here in the U.S., experts stress the importance of being prepared. Here’s everything you need to know about the disease that originated in Wuhan, China.

By Nicole Harris
Updated June 18, 2020
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成人小视频appSince late 2019, medical organizations worldwide have been tracking the spread of . This respiratory illness began in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and so far it’s sickened more than 8,351,700 people and caused at least 449,100 deaths worldwide.

The coronavirus arrived in America through international travel, and there have been 2,174,524 confirmed cases—the most in the world—and 117,743 deaths in the U.S.

成人小视频appOn March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus a “pandemic." On the same day, —and he's since included the in those restrictions—in an effort to slow the spread. This ban went into effect on Friday, March 13, at midnight, and it's planned to last for at least 30 days. 

School districts around the country have closed, companies encouraged workers to telecommute, and thousands of Americans were asked to self-quarantine. Some states have also closed bars, restaurants, gyms, and malls, issued mandatory curfews, and on March 15, the of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.  to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and has asked people to when possible. After weeks of social distancing, however, Trump released guidelines on April 16 for "" in phases, starting as early as May in some places. Even the hardest hit regions, like New York and New Jersey, are beginning to reopen and stay-at-home orders are lifting.

The government is taking more major steps because of the coronavirus disruption on Americans' lives: Trump signed into law a to provide free COVID-19 testing and paid emergency leave, and the tax filing deadline was moved from April 15 to July 15. The Senate also passed a $2 trillion that aims to help struggling families and small businesses.

Concerts, entertainment, and have mostly been canceled or rescheduled, and theme parks were forced to shut their doors. The NBA, NHL, and MLB postponed their regular seasons and are now considering playing games without fans. The , likely until 2021. Disney parks have closed until July, and even Broadway has gone dark amid the coronavirus concerns.

成人小视频appCOVID-19 has caused widespread panic among parents—partly because its symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, and fever) are almost identical to influenza, says Miryam Wahrman, Ph.D., biology professor and director of the microbiology research lab at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, and author of .

Americans may be more likely to get the coronavirus depending where they live, even without known exposure, which is why social distancing is so important. If you do contract the coronavirus, however, you’ll likely recover without complications. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the global death rate is 3.4 percent—but many experts expect that number to decrease as we learn more about the disease.

成人小视频appHere’s what you need to know about the coronavirus COVID-19. 

What Is the Coronavirus?

成人小视频appCoronaviruses are common among animals like bats, camels, and cats, . But seven varieties, called "zoonotic viruses," can be passed from animals to humans, and then from humans to other humans. These diseases often lead to respiratory symptoms that range from mild to severe.

The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)—and the disease it causes, COVID-19—is novel (never seen before). Officials have traced the novel coronavirus back to a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, China. The CDC reported that COVID-19 is a betacoronavirus, which means it originated in bats. It may have spread to another animal before making its way to humans—but that information isn’t known yet. 

Two other novel strains have popped up in recent years. The first was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS or SARS-CoV), which had a 2002-2003 outbreak originating in China—probably from bats or cats. SARS had 8,000 probable cases and 774 deaths, according to the CDC. Thankfully, officials quickly eradicated the disease, and it hasn't shown up in recent years. The second novel coronavirus was Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). This disease showed up in Saudi Arabia in 2012 (presumedly from camels) and sickened thousands of people, says Sharon Nachman, M.D., Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital. 

While experts still need to conduct more research, they say the current COVID-19 coronavirus has similarities to both SARS and MERS.

Travellers family wear masks to avoid transmission of coronavirus upon arrival at Terminal 2 of Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport in Roissy, France, on February 29, 2020. (Photo by Emeric Fohlen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Emeric Fohlen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

How the Coronavirus Spreads

Officials have determined that the novel coronavirus likely has animal-to-human origins, but it’s spreading between people now. Most coronaviruses are contracted through respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes, but it may be possible to catch COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. A from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA, and Princeton University scientists suggests that the coronavirus can survive for three hours in the air, four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, and two to three days on stainless steel and plastic.

Along with the U.S., nearly every other country has confirmed coronavirus cases. These include China, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, England, Germany, Singapore, Italy, Thailand, and Vietnam. for updated information. 

Coronavirus Symptoms in Kids and Adults

A definite incubation period for the coronavirus has yet to be determined. However, the CDC says that symptoms usually appear within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus. The coronavirus may look very similar to seasonal influenza, since both illnesses affect the respiratory tract. “The only way to differentiate is to do a clinical test,” explains Dr. Wahrman. 

According to the CDC, common coronavirus symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

The severity of symptoms will vary between individuals. Some people get severe respiratory distress that leads to death, while others have minimal side effects. On top of these symptoms, a recent study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that nearly half of COVID-19 patients may also . Experts have also reported a strange new disease called multisystem inflammatory syndrome成人小视频app with ties to COVID-19 affecting children across the country.

“Experts are trying to narrow down risk factors associated with this new coronavirus," says Kathleen DiCaprio, M.D., an infectious disease expert from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City who helped develop the vaccine for the Ebola virus. She adds that "more severe cases seem to be in patients who are older and have pre-existing medical conditions."

How Dangerous is the Coronavirus?

Since COVID-19 is a new disease, people don’t have any antibodies to combat it, according to Dr. Nachman. “If you're exposed, you most likely will get the illness.” 

About 80.9 percent of people have mild symptoms. Around 13.8 percent have severe symptoms that require hospitalization, and 4.7 percent have critical symptoms that require intensive care. Severe cases of the coronavirus can cause respiratory distress and death, especially in older adults and those with compromised immune systems. The global death rate is estimated at 3.4 percent—but since people with mild cases might not get diagnosed, experts expect it to actually be much lower.

On March 18, the CDC issued a new report looking at the first cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and found that while older patients are at a greater risk of dying and being hospitalized, nearly sick enough to be hospitalized were between ages 20 and 54. So while risk does increase with age, younger people are not immune. On top of that, the in the U.S. was reported in Illinois and a 6-week-old baby成人小视频app—the youngest known victim—in Connecticut died after testing positive.

However, parents might rest easier knowing that a of the coronavirus in China for children 18 and under confirms what the WHO reported in February: The coronavirus doesn’t seem to impact babies and children as severely. Those that do contract the disease mostly have mild, cold-like symptoms (although severe complications are also possible).

Do Pregnant Women Need to Worry?

You may have heard reports about. One was merely 30 hours old. Some hospitals have even banned visitors—including partners—during childbirth, though the rule was . Before you panic, though, realize there's no evidence that COVID-19 passes through the placenta. Indeed, found no evidence that the coronavirus transfers from mother to fetus during pregnancy.

One small published in JAMA Pediatrics, however, suggests that infected mothers may成人小视频app pass the coronavirus onto their babies—three out of 33 newborns born at Wuhan Children's Hospital in China had signs of the virus, but their symptoms were mild—though it's unclear if that happens in the womb or during delivery.

There's also no evidence that the coronavirus affects expecting women more severely. Since pregnancy weakens the immune system and data is still limited, though, you should be extra diligent about the following the precautionary measures outlined below.

How to Prevent Coronavirus

Parents and children can prevent the coronavirus the same way they ward off other respiratory illnesses like the flu. The most important thing is getting the flu vaccine and maintaining proper hand hygiene. “Wash your hands appropriately with soap and water as needed, which reduces your risk of picking up germs that cause disease,” says Dr. Wahrman. It’s especially important to wash your hands成人小视频app before eating or touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; Dr. DiCaprio recommends that kids sing "Happy Birthday" to hit the time mark.

成人小视频appAvoid contact with anyone exhibiting signs of illness. If you’re sick, the CDC recommends staying home. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and disinfect your home frequently.

Don't travel anywhere with coronavirus advisories, which includes most of Europe, China, South Korea, and Iran. And if you're most at risk for the disease (older adults and those with compromised immune systems), it's smart to avoid large crowds.

We asked experts to answer a few other prevention questions for parents, and here's what they had to say:

Is there a coronavirus vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine for the coronavirus. Medical experts are working on developing one, and they’re also seeing whether an existing vaccine成人小视频app could help with coronavirus, says Dr. DiCaprio. Since COVID-19 is not the same as SARS and SERS, though, experts need to start from scratch. 

“There are a couple of companies working on the vaccine,” says Dr. Wahrman. “Usually a vaccine can take up to or more than a year to develop. It won't be available this season, but if this becomes something of greater concern, then there are people working on it for the future.”

Should my child wear a face mask to prevent catching the coronavirus?

成人小视频appAs of early April, the urging people and children 2 years old and up to wear face masks in an effort to help slow the virus, especially since it can be transmitted by those with no symptoms at all. While N95 respirators may protect against disease-causing droplets, those are critical and should be left for health care workers. Instead, it's recommended to use (or ) cloth face masks in areas where social distancing might be more difficult, like at grocery stores or pharmacies.

How is America dealing with the coronavirus?

成人小视频appWHO, CDC, and state health partners have learned from previous coronavirus outbreaks, and they’re taking every effort to control the disease. Here are a few steps that have been taken:

  • President Trump has released a plan to in three phases.
  • Medical organizations around the world have been working on vaccines, treatments, and testing options.
  • Most of the U.S. for the remained of the academic year.
  • After having been shut down for weeks, many bars, restaurants, and nonessential businesses are beginning to reopen in some areas.
  • Millions of Americans across the country were issued "" or "shelter in place" orders, though many have now lifted.
  • Trump restricted travel to European countries to contain the spread of coronavirus.
  • The CDC advises that all travelers should avoid all l.”
  • Officials have shut down colleges and offices across the country in an effort to combat the spread.
  • Thousands of Americans with potential exposure have been asked to self-quarantine.
  • Major sports leagues, including the NBA, NHL, and MLB, postponed or canceled their regular seasons. Even the have been postponed.
  • Disney shut down its theme parks until July 11.
  • Coronavirus testing is now available across the country.
  • 2020 Democratic in some states.
  • The CDC recommends the use of cloth face masks in public settings where social distancing might be difficult.

What to Do If You Think You Have the Coronavirus

Do you have fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19? According to the CDC, you should contact a health care provider and inform them of these symptoms. They’ll decide if you need diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

There is currently no recommended treatment regime for the novel coronavirus. Your health care provider will inform you on next steps, but treating the illness similarly to the flu. You should get lots of rest and fluids, take fever-reducing medication, and use a humidifier.

Comments (5)

January 31, 2020
Thanks for the article. An example of why parents should be concerned -- Currently Stony Brook's graduate housing -- Chapin Apartments -- have students from Wuhan in SHARED units. They have not been instructed by the university to isolate themselves nor be tested. Thank goodness some of the students have taken it upon themselves to be socially responsible enough to do it themselves. But the university has made no announcement to the rest of the community of phd students and families living at Chapin of how the university plans to handle such cases and ensure their health and safety. The tenants continue to use the shared laundry, gym, and family room facilities unaware that students either from Wuhan or in close contact with people from Wuhan. Institutions like these are the reason parents worry and do not want to pivot to the flu -- for which we have vaccinated ourselves against.
January 31, 2020
please do not delete my comments to bury the truth.
January 31, 2020
Parents are understandably concerned. While their children may be vaccinated against the flu, they aren't vaccines for the coronavirus. Parents of college students are concerned, especially public state colleges with a large number of students from China and some have a direct pipeline to Wuhan which means an exchange of professors/students w/ Wuhan. Stony Brook Univ. for instance has 5000 students from China, currently 40 are stuck in Wuhan. Univ has only pressured to come back before February 7th instead of quarantine plans.
January 30, 2020
Let us not ignore the fact that we have our children vaccinated against the flu, whereas, with the coronavirus WE DO NOT. Let us think critically. Also, referring to the CDC is too passive. CDC has been very slow to respond and strategic in a way that does not prioritize parents' concerns. For example, university students are forced to sit in 200 plus student classroom, only centimeters apart, and many public institutions have large numbers in students from China. Universities are not proactively checking in on all students who have arrived from Wuhan and leaving this up to the student to appear at the health clinic if symptoms arise. Asymptomatic transmission has occurred -- we have proof of this. So why do the CDC and blindly adhering institutions tell us to only report ourselves and isolate ourselves if and when we experience symptoms? Virus shedding is happening asymptomatically and contagious. Parents who are alarmed are only using their brains and not following flawed reasoning meant to diminish the risks and fears of parents. Don't write condescending articles.
January 30, 2020