As the Coronavirus continues to spread to countries across the world, many people are concerned about infection.
The virus originated in a seafood and meat market in the city of Wuhan in central China. The first case was reported on December 31, 2019. At the time of writing, there are 20,438 confirmed cases and 427 people have died as a result of the virus. In the US, 11 people have contracted the disease, the majority of whom have recently spent time in China.
What exactly is the Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is the name given to a family of airborne viruses that attack the respiratory system. The Wuhan Coronavirus belongs to the same family as the infamous SARS virus, that caused an epidemic in 2003 and 2004.
For many people, symptoms of the virus are mild and very similar to the common cold. They include a runny nose, headache, cough, fever, shortness of breath, chills and body aches. It only becomes a risk to life if the virus spreads to the lower respiratory tract, which can lead to pneumonia and possibly death.
Should I be worried?
In a word, no. The spread of the virus outside of China is a concern but it’s to be expected. It is also worth remembering, the majority of fatalities are individuals over the age of 60. And more than 75% of people who died after contracting the virus, had at least one other underlying illness.
It is also good to know that, according to Professor John Oxford, Emeritus Professor of Virology at the University of London.
“No virus in that coronavirus family is anything like influenza as regards infectivity. You’d have to get pretty close to somebody to catch it – probably living with someone. It’s not the sort of virus you’ll catch by walking past someone on the street.”
If you’d like to keep track of the Wuhan Coronavirus and the number of confirmed cases, you can find full info here.