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How Much Should We Worry About The Coronavirus?

You may have heard the alarming news reports regarding the coronavirus outbreak in China. Although this news is concerning, mostly for those in China, arming yourself with knowledge can be the best antidote for your own worry.

What is coronavirus? Coronavirus is actually an entire class of viruses, and they’re nothing new. In fact, coronaviruses are one of the frequent culprits behind the common cold.

Concern over this particular strain of coronavirus is due to its unusual strength, and the fact that it is a strain we haven’t previously encountered before.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus? Those infected with this new strain of coronavirus present with coughing, breathing difficulties, and fever. It might appear as a bad cold at first. However, the progression of the virus into respiratory distress and pneumonia is the true risk in this situation.

What is the treatment for coronavirus? As with other viruses, antibiotics are not effective. Antiviral drugs commonly used against the flu also will not work against coronavirus.

Treatment includes admission to the hospital, fluids, rest, and support for infected lungs. Recovery mostly depends upon the patient’s immune system.

How lethal is this coronavirus? As of February 7, the infection tally has reached 31,161 inside China, with an additional 280 cases in 28 other countries. The death toll includes 636 Chinese, one death of a Hong Kong resident, and one death in the Philippines. The mortality rate of the virus stands at 2 percent.

Most of the deaths have occurred in individuals with already compromised immune systems, the elderly, and people who are otherwise in poor health already.

Health experts have suggested that many cases of coronavirus have gone undetected because symptoms were mild, and the affected individuals assumed they simply contracted a common cold. In that case, the lethality of the virus would be even lower than the estimated 2 percent.

Are we at risk of infection in the US? So far, five cases of this particular coronavirus have been diagnosed in the United States. These patients recently traveled to China or had close contact with a traveler. So far the virus seems contained to these five patients, and health officials don’t believe it was spread within their communities.

With travel to China heavily discouraged at the moment, it is unlikely that we will see a widespread outbreak of this viral strain in the US.