Coronavirus, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a respiratory virus. It first emerged in 2003 and has been identified in almost 150 people in 20 countries. Since August, reports of the disease have increased in the United States. So far, Coronavirus has been identified in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Some 1,600 people died of coronavirus-related complications in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen and Tunisia in 2014. While these numbers may seem high, they are actually low when compared to the number of deaths that malaria — which affects as many as 60 million people each year — causes annually.
What should you do? Here are five things you should know, from doctors, researchers and experts.
1. Don’t pick up this disease in a public place.
The only way to directly contract Coronavirus is by inhaling the virus. And if you’re sick, seek treatment. Otherwise, don’t go to work or school — it’s important to note that symptoms don’t typically show up until 2–3 days after the initial exposure. Don’t go to the grocery store, the mall or the movies.
“It’s important to remember the symptoms can be deceiving,” Dr. Matthew H. Porteus, an infectious disease physician at Stanford University told Fox News. “In a lab situation, you can actually see rotolateral sinus disease with a microscope. … If that’s occurring, you’re probably not contagious.”
2. Treat the cold you’re already sick with.
And if you suspect you have Coronavirus, you should go to the doctor. Getting an infection can lead to viral meningitis.
3. Watch for symptoms.
The incubation period of the virus is anywhere from two days to more than a week. If symptoms begin after this period, you should see a doctor immediately. These symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, sneezing, body aches, headache, fatigue and rash.
The only way to tell if you have had an exposure to Coronavirus is to use a procedure called PCR. It involves inserting a gold-colored protein into the nose and then drawing out air in hopes of “jiggering” the body and count the biomarkers that appear.
4. Washing the hands with soap and water, and leaving them for at least 20 seconds.
“Individuals may become infected and not know it,” said Dr. Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in a September Times interview. She was critical of how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have been handling the outbreak. “We had no idea about outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome until the United States cases were identified in 2015.”
5. Don’t panic.
Some scientists, for example, have had to adjust their expectations when it comes to this virus and say the virus is “pretty predictable.”
“People are talking about what this means for global public health. We expect it to appear in many different places but it could potentially appear in as few as three locations,” Dr. Sven Temel of the Danish Institute for Air Research told University of California, Berkeley. “What we are not really looking at yet is what kind of epidemiology it does in those three locations.”
“So my main thing is this is an animal-borne virus. These animals come from a certain animal, but they do not have a human equivalent, so we just don’t know about humans,” he said.