CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC EXPLAINED
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In late December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause was reported by health authorities in Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China. The initial cases mostly had links to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market and consequently, the virus is thought to have a zoonotic origin. The virus that caused the outbreak is known as SARS-CoV-2, a new virus which is closely related to bat coronaviruses, pangolin coronaviruses and SARS-CoV.
The 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing public health emergency of international concern involving coronavirus disease 2019. It was caused by SARS-CoV-2, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China. As of 5 March 2020, more than 96,000 cases have been confirmed, of which 7,100 were classified as serious. 87 countries and territories have been affected, with major outbreaks in Central China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. More than 3,300 people have died: just over 3,000 in mainland China and around 300 in other countries. More than 53,000 people have recovered.
The virus primarily spreads between people in a similar way to influenza, via respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing.The time between exposure and symptom onset is typically five days, but may range from two to fourteen days. Symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment, though research is ongoing. Efforts are aimed at managing symptoms and supportive therapy. Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, maintaining distance from people who are sick, monitoring and self-isolation for fourteen days for people who suspect they are infected.
Wider concerns about consequences of the outbreak include political and economic instability.They have also included xenophobia and racism against people of Chinese and East Asian descent, and the spread of misinformation about the virus, primarily online.