(PM) – The World Health Organisation, or WHO, says that a new strain of coronavirus is behind an outbreak of pneumonia in China. People were starting to show symptoms of the virus late in 2019. Over 650 cases have since been reported in China.
What is the New Strain of Coronavirus?
The new virus has been identified as a strain of coronavirus. According to the CDC, these viruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. However, some strains of coronavirus can lead to severe illnesses, such as MERS and SARS.
How Does the New Virus Spread?
It is uncertain at this time how the new virus in China spreads. However, many of the people were involved in a seafood market in Wuhan, indicating that the virus may be spread from animals.
The WHO confirmed that the virus can spread from human-to-human transmission. At least 15 healthcare workers have been infected.
Where is the Virus?
Currently, there are over 650 cases of the virus, with most coming from Wuhan, China. Three people have been hospitalized in Thailand, two in Hong Kong, two in Macau, two in Vietnam, one in Japan, one in Taiwan, one in South Korea, and one in the United States from the virus. All victims in foreign countries were recently in Wuhan.
There are also many cases reported in other districts in China.
Is the Virus Deadly?
It is uncertain how deadly the virus is due to the limited amount of cases. However, eighteen people have died from the virus- Early data suggests that the virus is not as severe as SARS or MERS, but can still be deadly.
Precautions Being Taken to Prevent a Wider Outbreak
Currently, the United States has issued a health screening at three airports- LAX (Los Angeles), JFK (New York), and SFO (San Francisco)- for passengers from Wuhan. This comes ahead of the Chinese New Year on January 25th, which is one of the busiest times for Chinese travelers. CDC officials say that the current risk of the virus spreading in the U.S. is low, but are taking precautions.