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Coronavirus Questions & Answers: What Americans Need to Know About COVID-19

Coronavirus Questions & Answers: What Americans Need to Know About COVID-19
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As the coronavirus outbreak spreads in the United States, many Americans are understandably concerned about how COVID-19 will affect them.

CCN.com compiled this coronavirus guide using reliable sources to help you find accurate information about the outbreak and what it means for you, your family, and your community.

If your question is not addressed here, ask it in the comment section below. Someone from the CCN.com team will research it and then respond directly or update this page with a more comprehensive answer.

Here are the latest statistics on the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and worldwide.

  • Global Cases: At least 121,061
  • Global Deaths: At least 4,368
  • U.S. Cases: At least 1,039
  • U.S. Deaths: At least 29

All data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Track the coronavirus outbreak in real-time here.

What is a coronavirus, and what is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses in humans and animals. These viruses may cause respiratory infections as benign as a common cold or severe as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The present “coronavirus outbreak” refers to a virus named SARS-CoV-2, a betacoronavirus that causes “coronavirus disease 2019” – COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is often referred to as the “Wuhan coronavirus” because the first cases were detected in Wuhan, China.

Sources: CDC, WHO

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common COVID-19 symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms typically appear between 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and range from mild to severe.

Some people may become infected without ever knowing it, while WHO statistics indicate that around 1-in-6 patients will become seriously ill. Older people and others with underlying medical conditions are more vulnerable to severe infections.

Sources: CDC, WHO

How does the coronavirus spread?

Scientists theorize that the coronavirus is primarily spread through person-to-person contact (within about 6 feet). In addition to physical contact, the virus can be transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, as well as through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.

According to the CDC, patients are most contagious when they are most symptomatic. But health officials have warned that virus transmission may be possible before an infected person begins showing symptoms.

Health officials recommend that concerned individuals contact their doctor if they develop symptoms and believe they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Source: CDC

How did the coronavirus outbreak reach the United States?

Scientists believe that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease was first detected in the United States in a Washington state resident who had returned from a trip to Wuhan on January 15, 2020.

The first person to die from COVID-19 in the United States was a man in his 50s who also lived in Washington state. Health officials failed to identify evidence that the patient – who was especially vulnerable due to preexisting health conditions – had been exposed to the coronavirus through travel or personal contact with another infected person.

That patient likely became ill through community spread, which occurs when officials cannot determine the origin of the infection. Community spread has since been identified in multiple other states.

Sources: CDC, New England Journal of Medicine, CNN

Where can I learn more about the Wuhan coronavirus and COVID-19?

Ask your questions about the Wuhan coronavirus and COVID-19 in the comment section below, and someone from the CCN.com team will quickly respond with accurate information derived from reliable sources.

If you have specific medical questions about COVID-19 or believe you have been exposed to the virus, contact your doctor immediately.

For official information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

Disclaimer: The coronavirus outbreak resources on this page have been compiled using the best available information from health officials and will be updated as the situation evolves. These resources are provided for informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. Concerned individuals should consult their healthcare providers with specific questions about COVID-19.

This article was edited by Jonas Borchgrevink.

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