Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new virus, have made the jump to humans, but most just cause cold-like symptoms.
Two other coronaviruses – Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) – are much more severe,having killed more than 1,500 people between themsince 2002.
The new virus, officially called Covid-19, is also dangerous - so far, around 20 per cent of confirmed cases have been classed as severe or critical. So far, around 15 to 20 per cent of hospital cases have been classed as "severe" and the current death rate varies between 0.7 per cent and 3.4 per cent depending on the location and, crucially, access to good hospital care.
This is much lower than fatality rates for Mers (30 per cent) and Sars (10 per cent), but still a significant threat.
Scientists in China believe thatCovid-19 has mutated into two strains, one more aggressive than the other, which could make developing a vaccine more complicated.
2. How did the outbreak start?
Such markets pose a heightened risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans because hygiene standards are difficult to maintain if live animals are being kept and butchered on site. Typically, they are also densely packed.
The animal source of the latest outbreak has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats. Bats were not sold at the Wuhan market but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there.
Bats are host to a wide range ofzoonotic virusesincluding Ebola, HIV and rabies.
How many cases of coronavirus in the US?
How long does coronavirus last?
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to accelerate in the U.S., cleaning supplies are disappearing off the shelves and people are worried about every subway rail, deli counter and toilet seat they touch.
But how long can the new coronavirus linger on surfaces, anyway? The short answer is, we don't know. A new analysis found that the virus can remain viable in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 2 to 3 days. However, this study, which was published in the preprint databasemedRxivon Wednesday (March 11), has not yet yet been peer-reviewed.
Another study published in February inThe Journal of Hospital Infection analyzed several dozen previously published papers on human coronaviruses (other than the new coronavirus) to get a better idea of how long they can survive outside of the body.
They concluded that if this new coronavirus resembles other human coronaviruses, such as its "cousins" that cause SARS and MERS, it can stay on surfaces — such as metal, glass or plastic — for as long as nine days (In comparison, flu viruses can last on surfaces for only about 48 hours.)
But some of them don't remain active for as long at temperatures higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). The authors also found that these coronaviruses can be effectively wiped away by household disinfectants.
For example, disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can "efficiently" inactivate coronaviruses within a minute, according to the study. "We expect a similar effect against the 2019-nCoV," the researchers wrote, referring to the new coronavirus. But even though the new coronavirus is a similar strain to the SARS coronavirus, it's not clear if it will behave the same.
It's also not clear how frequently hands become contaminated with coronaviruses after touching a sick patient or contaminated surface, according to the study. The World Health Organization recommends washing hands or using alcohol-based hand rubs for decontamination of the hands, the authors wrote.
It's possible that a person can be infected with the virus by touching a contaminated surface or object, "then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,"according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "But this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads." Though the virus remains viable in the air, the new study can't say whether people can become infected by breathing it in from the air, according to the Associated Press.
The virus is most likely to spread from person to person through close contact and respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes that can land on a nearby person's mouth or nose, according to the CDC.
How many people have died from coronavirus?
As the number of COVID-19 patients and deaths from the coronavirus continue to climb, many people may be wondering how many people worldwide have contracted the virus.
Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering has come up with an interactive map.
The Carlson Company, has partnered with other affiliated labs to provide FDA and CDC approved COVID-19 testing to our customers.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, Anyone can order the Coronavirus testing kit, but due to the high demand, quantities are limited. We are working very hard to keep these testing kits in stock.
The test is offered as an RT-PCR home collection Test kit. The nasal swab specimen is collected at home and shipped to our affiliated labs for analysis. The results will show either positive or negative. CDC will be notified with positive results.
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