On 31st December 2019, reports of a new virus originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China spread across the world. The Chinese authorities identified this strain as coronavirus, part of a family of viruses usually cause upper respiratory diseases, from the common cold to rarer diseases like SARS and MERS. Due to the nature of this virus, most people may have experienced some low-level symptoms at some point in their lives, from runny noses, headaches, coughs, fever and a general feeling of being unwell.
As of January 2020, this latest outbreak of the virus has been named 2019-nCoV. This latest strain also confirms that human-to-human transmission is possible, with the current toll of infected people has hit close to 6,000 people, mostly in China. At the moment, the range of severity of this disease is causing concern- people suffering from poor health appear to be at greater risk of some of the more serious symptoms, while others have only experienced mild illness.
This virus causes pneumonia, with patients suffering from cough, fevers, and difficulties in breathing. The typical incubation period for this between two to ten days, and starts with a general feeling of being unwell. Depending on the severity of the infection, there can be organ failure, respiratory failure, or even death.
Should You Be Concerned?
Unless you’ve recently traveled to China, or have come in contact with someone who has just returned from there, you are at low risk for contracting this disease. So should you experience any cold or cough-like symptoms, treat them as you normally would and do not panic. If you’d still prefer to take further precautions, you can get the flu vaccine, and should you start feeling sick, stay away from others and follow strict hygiene procedures till you feel better.