Here’s what you need to know about the latest coronavirus outbreak

Monday, March 2, 2020
By Paul Martin

by: Evangelyn Rodriguez
Monday, March 02, 2020

Coronaviruses are not new — in fact, they’re some of the most common types of viruses. But what’s new is the coronavirus strain called 2019-nCoV that has been spreading in China, forcing the government to put 18 major cities and nearly 60 million people under lockdown, as of writing. According to the latest reports, the death toll in China has already reached 81, but experts say it will continue to rise. Cases of 2019-nCoV infection have also been reported in other countries, such as Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

So, what is this new coronavirus?

Fast facts about coronaviruses

Different coronaviruses target different organisms: Some only affect animals, while others can also infect humans. These viruses can evolve and spread from animals to humans, but this is considered a rare occurrence. Researchers think that snakes or bats may have been the source of the outbreak as coronaviruses are very common in animals.

Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract infections, typically in the form of the common cold. However, these viruses can also cause severe infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. The 2019-nCoV is said to cause pneumonia-like symptoms in those infected.

What we know so far

In an article published in The Lancet, a team of Chinese researchers who were allowed to study patients admitted to a hospital in Wuhan, China reported their observations.

Here are the common symptoms manifested by patients at the onset of illness:

Myalgia or muscle pain
Less common symptoms include:

Sputum production
Coughing up blood
Labored breathing
Complications observed in hospitalized patients include:

Pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest scans
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe lung condition characterized by too much fluid in the lungs, which lowers oxygen levels in the blood
RNAemia, or the presence of viral RNA in blood samples
Acute cardiac injury
Secondary infection
The researchers also reported that patients who have been sent to the ICU have higher levels of inflammatory and other immune-related markers in their blood than those who weren’t.

The Rest…HERE

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