UPDATE! Since this article was first posted there have been multiple status changes. For the most current information, please visit either the CDC or the WHO.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. As of this posting today, the WHO’s “situation in numbers” report states there are globally 7,818 confirmed cases. In China, there are 7736 confirmed cases, 12,167 suspected, 1370 people severely ill and 170 deaths from 2019-nCoV. Outside of China there have been 82 confirmed cases in 18 countries (Novel Coronavirus(2019-nCoV) Situation Report – 10).
UPDATE AS OF 1 FEB 2020
There are 2128 new confirmed cases globally, 259 deaths in China, 26 new cases outside of China, 4 new countries with confirmed cases with a total of 2019-nCoV being in 23 countries according to the World Health Organization.
According to CDC.gov, in the United States of America, as of January 29th, there were 165 “patients under investigation” (PUI) for 2019-nCoV. The number of states with PUI is 36. Confirmed cases have been reported so far in Illinois, California, Washington and Arizona.
What is Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)? The CDC reports it is a betacoronavirus, like MERS and SARs, all of which have their origins in bats. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, not just a single virus. A novel coronavirus means that this strain has not previously been identified in humans (fda.gov). All these virus’ affect people in different ways, from mild to severe cases, and in some instances, death.
The severity of the virus depends on a multitude of variables, such as the virus characteristics, how it spreads, the effect it has on the person and how to medically control it. Your own age and health are also predicting factors of how severe your symptoms may be. For example, if you have a weakened immune system, if you are a child or elderly, you are at risk of getting more ill than a 20 or 30 year old who is active and relatively healthy.
The CDC reports:
“This is a serious public health threat…The risk to individuals is dependent on exposure… For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low. The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread of 2019-nCov in this country.”
In addition to the threat of Novel Coronavirus, we are also in the middle of Influenza season (flu and respiratory diseases). The CDC and local medical community recommend you still get a flu shot if you haven’t yet. You can still get the flu, even after the shot, but it may lessen the severity of your systems.
How to protect yourself
Both the CDC and the WHO recommend following the basic steps for protecting yourself from getting sick. The below recommendations are directly from the WHO.
- Frequently wash your hands at least 20 seconds
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices
Can my pets make me sick?
A question I’ve heard several times now is can this spread from your household pets to humans? According to the CDC, the answer is at present, no. They published a poster to spread to stop the myths.
Can I still travel?
Another question has been about traveling. Currently, the WHO has no specific recommendations for health measures. If you do travel and start to have symptoms of possible respiratory illness, you are highly encouraged to seek medical attention. Also, be honest with your medical provider regarding all the places you’ve traveled. Remember, only you can stop the spread of germs. Please be diligent, and mindful of your actions.
What signs and symptoms do I look for?
What are the signs and symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus you ask?
- Shortness of breath
Where to go next
Please visit the following sites for in-depth information, current status, reports and recommendations.
Thank you for reading this post, knowledge is power. We need to work together to prevent the spread of disease. Wash your hands, don’t sneeze on others, and if you’re sick, by all means, STAY HOME!
The coronavirus has absolutely NOTHING to do with Corona® beer, so keep on drinkin’ on!
Stay healthy, and leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!