Coronavirus: What Do You Need to Know and How to Stay Safe?

By Amanda Roland

The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus has caused fear and confusion internationally as it quickly spreads. Here is a simple guide to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in order to stay healthy and stay informed.

Coronavirus is a betacoronavirus, like SARS, meaning its origin comes from bats. Not to be confused with the flu, coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms have been shown to take anywhere from two to 14 days to present.

The outbreak started in Wuhan, a city in Central China. China has over 40,000 confirmed cases of the virus, according to officials, and over 1,000 fatalities. The US currently has 13 confirmed cases. 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent this particular strand of the Coronavirus. The only form of prevention, the CDC says, is avoiding exposure to the virus. This is especially important when traveling. 

Fortunately, the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a White House briefing that the risk of infection for Americans is low and will remain low. Take precautions by preventing the spread of all respiratory viruses, not just Coronavirus.

  • In order to avoid confusion with the common seasonal flu, the CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine and taking flu antivirals, if prescribed.
  • Avoid nonessential travel to China, especially the Hubei province. The US State Department has warned that it could suspend all travel to China at any point in time.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • If you start showing any symptoms, avoid contact with others and contact your health care provider immediately.

By Camille Graham