There is much more to coronaviruses than SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses are actually a family of hundreds of viruses.
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Most of us will be infected with a coronavirus at least once in our life. This might be a worrying fact for many people, especially those who have only heard of one coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the disease known as COVID-19.
There is much more to coronaviruses than SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses are actually a family of hundreds of viruses. Most of these infect animals such as bats, chickens, camels and cats. Occasionally, viruses that infect one species can mutate in such a way that allows them to start infecting another species. This is called “cross-species transmission” or “spillover”.
The first coronavirus discovered was in chickens during the 1930s.
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COVID-19 pandemic in the United States
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the United States in January 2020. The first confirmed case of local transmission was recorded in January, while the first known deaths happened in February. By the end of March, cases had occurred in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and all inhabited U.S. territories except American Samoa. As of May 27, 2020, the U.S. had the most confirmed active cases and deaths in the world. As of June 19, 2020, its death rate was 361 per million people, the seventh-highest rate globally.
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Facts About Coronavirus
Facts About Coronavirus
- Wuhan, Hubei, China
- Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
- 1-14 days
- Human-to-human transmission via respiratory droplets
- Avoiding close contact with sick individuals; frequently washing hands with soap and water; not touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and practicing good respiratory hygiene
- COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19)
Timeline in the USA
On December 31, 2019, China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in its city of Wuhan. On January 7, 2020, the Chinese health authorities confirmed that this cluster was caused by a novel infectious coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued technical briefings on January 10 and 11, warning about a strong possibility of human-to-human transmission and urging precautions. On January 14, the WHO said "preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission", although it recommended that countries still take precautions due to the human-to-human transmission during earlier SARS and MERS outbreaks.
On January 6, the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stated that the U.S. offered to send a team of CDC health experts to China to help contain the outbreak. On January 8, the CDC issued an official health advisory via its Health Alert Network (HAN) and established an Incident Management Structure to coordinate domestic and international public health actions. It issued an update on January 17, noting that person-to-person spread was not confirmed, but was still a possibility. On January 20, it activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to further respond to the outbreak in China. The same day, the WHO and China confirmed that human-to-human transmission had occurred.
The earliest confirmed death from COVID-19 occurred on February 6 in Santa Clara County, California, when a 57-year-old woman died from complications caused by COVID-19 that apparently led to a ruptured heart.
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