Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that are typically mild as with the common flu or influenza virus. Most influenza infections present with the symptoms of a runny nose, sore throat, cough and low grade fever lasting for several days to a week. Occasionally, especially for those that are compromised with health conditions such as Cancer, Diabetes, Heart or Lung disease, exposure can be life threatening.
Coronavirus gets its name from the Latin corona, meaning “or “halo” due to a crown like shape around the virus cluster as seen under an electron microscope. Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1960s and presented in humans with the typical mild symptoms. Over the years some versions have developed into more lethal forms such as the SARS-CoV virus in 2003 that totaled 774 known deaths. Other notable forms have been the Middle East respiratory coronavirus outbreak in 2012, 2015, and 2018 totaling just under 500 known deaths.
In December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China traced to a new strain named SARS-CoV-2. As of 13 March 2020, there have been at least 4,720 confirmed deaths and more than 128,343 confirmed cases in the coronavirus pneumonia outbreak. The primary symptoms of Coronavirus are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath that typically occur 2-14 days after exposure. Most illnesses are mild, but in about 2.5% of individuals the fever is more elevated and breathing becomes more difficult. This especially occurs in individuals with one or more of the following factors: over 60 years of age, smokers, chronic lung or heart disease, Diabetes, Cancer, immunosuppressed, recent travel or exposure to someone who has traveled to Asia.