What is the Coronavirus?


Amiria Hopper, Staff Writer

If you have watched the news lately, you have probably heard about the coronavirus outbreak. Do you remember the worldwide Ebola virus, or the Influenza virus? Those deadly viruses caused a lot of fear worldwide. China it taking steps to stop the spread of the disease, but it has already spread to many countries around the world, including the United States. With all the talk about the disease, it is important to understand what it actually is.

According to the Associated Press, “Almost 2,000 cases of a new viral respiratory illness have been confirmed since an outbreak began last month in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Scientists have identified the illness as a new kind of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others have evolved into more severe illnesses, such as SARS and MERS, although so far the new virus does not appear to be nearly as deadly or contagious.”

Coronaviruses can cause respiratory problems in birds, and diarrhea in mammals, such as cows and pigs. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infections which are typically mild but, in rare cases, can be lethal. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines or antiviral drugs that could prevent or treat this virus.

Picture by Erika Edwards and Sara G. Miller of NBC News