What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. A newly identified type (‘The Novel Coronavirus’) is a new strain that has not previously been seen in humans.

On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the official name of the illness that is causing the coronavirus outbreak. The illness is now called COVID-19. “COVI” for coronavirus, “D” for “disease,” and “19” for the year when it was identified.

How did Coronavirus start?

COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan, a city in China, in December 2019. Although health officials are still tracing the exact source of this new coronavirus, early hypotheses thought it may be linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China, however, investigations are ongoing as to how this virus originated and spread.

This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person to person. COVID-19 has been detected in people throughout China and 24 other countries, including the United States.

What are the effects of Coronavirus?

The effects of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe respiratory symptoms that may progress to acute pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. The mortality rate remains incredibly low which has been supported by World Health Organisation figures.

“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died”

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 3 March 2020.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

  • a dry cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

For more information, visit: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses