Novel Coronavirus — What You Need to Know

Yes, the headlines are scary right now, but here are a few fast facts you need to know about nCoV 😷


The 2019 novel coronavirus, or nCoV, as it is now called, was first reported last December 2019 in the Wuhan province in China. Since then, the death toll from the virus has risen to 80, 1,000 more possible cases in Wuhan alone, and confirmed cases in other countries such as Australia, HongKong, France, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DoH) is trying to closely monitor the situation and is currently investigating 11 potential cases of the deadly respiratory virus.

Perhaps one of the best ways to stay sane (and even safe) amid these events is to arm ourselves with the right information. So here are a few things you should know:

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which can cause illnesses in humans, while others can cause illnesses in animals such as bats, camels, and civets. Human coronaviruses can range from mild illnesses such as the common cold to severe diseases that can infect and spread among humans.

Coronaviruses classified as severe are the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which emerged in 2002, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which emerged in 2012.

What is the novel coronavirus?

Also called the 2019-nCoV, the novel coronavirus is the newest type of coronavirus that causes respiratory illness and can spread from person-to-person. It was first identified in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms of nCoV?

For confirmed nCoV cases have reported illnesses that range from little to no symptoms to being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory distress

How is nCoV transmitted?

Similar to SARS and MERS-CoV, nCoV can also be transmitted from one individual to another mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Spread may also be possible when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches his mouth, nose, or eyes.

How can I protect myself?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus. At the same time, here are a few simple ways that might help lessen your risk of getting sick:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

What do I do if I feel sick?

To refrain from infecting others if you have any kind of respiratory illness or virus is to:

  • Stay home when you’re feeling sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of it properly.
  • Clean and disinfect your hands and frequently touched objects regularly.

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to the nCoV?

If you have recently traveled and think that you might have been exposed to someone with nCoV, then you should seek medical care. However, to prevent yourself from infecting other people, you should:

  • Call your healthcare practitioner or provider and tell them the details of your illness and even your possible exposure to nCoV (either a recent trip or exposure to someone who might also possibly have it). Discuss with them how you can seek medical help with minimal exposure to the public.
  • If sick, avoid contact with people as much as possible. Delay any plans to go out or travel.

References: CDC, WHO


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