Novel Coronavirus 2019 confirmed in United States

Courtney Green and Victoria Johnson

A new virus is on the rise, with 300 people now confirmed to have fallen ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first confirmed case of the virus in the United States was documented January 21 in Washington state; the individual had recently returned from Wuhan, China the week prior.

As of January 22, four people in China have died as a result of the virus, according to the CDC, though some news outlets are reporting as many as 17.

Many people in China have begun wearing face masks to limit respiratory spread of the virus.

It is expected that many more cases will be confirmed in the coming days as the full genetic sequence of the virus is mapped and people begin to show symptoms.

While not much is known yet about the virus and its exact origins or how deadly it might be, here are some fast facts you should know.

What is it? Where did it come from?

The Novel Coronavirus 2019 has been linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Cases have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, as well as China, according to the CDC.

You might hear the virus be referred to as the ‘Novel Coronavirus 2019’, but novel just means ‘new’. Coronaviruses are common in many animals, including camels and bats, and originate out of many regions such as the Middle East and Asia. This one was identified in late December of 2019.

At this time, the CDC and World Health Organization are still learning about this particular strain of coronavirus. Human-to-human contact has been confirmed, though at this time it is considered to be limited to respiratory — coughing, breathing around someone, sneezing. The risk assessment for the general American public is considered low.


Similar to flu symptoms, the coronavirus symptoms include: runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and fever. 


This particular coronavirus has been identified as having limited person-to-person contact and may be passed through coughing. Many people in China have begun wearing mouth coverings in public to limit respiratory passage of the virus.

The CDC has some basic advice when it comes to prevention. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoid contact with anyone who is sick.  

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