What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause various respiratory illnesses including the common cold and more dangerous conditions such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS. These viruses are named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from the surface of the organism.

The virus behind the current disease outbreak that started in China in January and since named COVID-19 is a new strain that had not previously been identified in humans.

Coronavirus infections are transmitted in the same way as many other respiratory illnesses. The virus seems to spread through droplets in the air from a cough or sneeze. They can land in the mouth or nose of a person nearby—within 6 feet—or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Symptoms emerge within 2 to 14 days and can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, infected persons can be asymptomatic.

Practical Tips for Dealing With Coronavirus

  1. Move away from someone coughing in public transport
  2. If you feel sick, stay home
  3. Wash your hands frequently. Do it this way:
    Wet your hands with clean running water and then lather them with soap, including the backs of your hands, between your finger, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Then rinse your hands with clean, running water and dry them with a clean towel or let them air dry.If not, use a hand sanitizer but make sure the label says 60% alcohol.
  4. If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into your elbow.
  5. Keep surfaces in your home clean. Alcohol is a good disinfectant for coronaviruses.
  6. Dispose of tissues in a wastebasket after you blow your nose
  7. Get the flu vaccination

Adapted From The New York Times