With a death toll over 600, and worldwide panic being heard, many are concerned about the possible spread of the Coronavirus. Due to misinformation and oversimplification of the illness, the virus has blown up in recent media.

What is the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus is a strand from the Coronavirus family, other strands include Ebola, Sars and Mers (nytimes.com). It originates from animals, which in normal circumstances is not a concern. When your dog comes down with the flu, you do not get sick, but because of the nature of the virus, cross contamination between species is made possible because of the strand of the virus mutates.

It is thought to have spread from a popular seafood market in Wuhan, China, that is also known to slaughter live animals. The possibility of cross contamination between slaughtered animals and prepared seafood is possible. But scientists still do not know the exact origin.

What does the Coronavirus do?

To put it simply, the Coronavirus causes severe pneumonia. Symptoms like a cough, fever and trouble breathing are common. The severity of the pneumonia can cause organ failure. And because Coronavirus is a virus and not a bacterial infection, doctors are unable to treat the illness with antibiotics like they do with a normal case of pneumonia.

How do I protect myself against it?

If you begin to display signs of a cough or similar illness, do not panic. If you have not travelled to China recently, there is no need to worry, as the Coronavirus has not reached outside of China aside from the far and few between travelers. Treat your illness as normal. Coronavirus has not been named a pandemic as it is currently being contained in Wuhan, China. A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a highly infectious disease. Scientists say it has the possibility of becoming a pandemic, but as of right now, it is not as it is only been found in 25 countries, which is only a fraction of the minimum of 195 to be named a pandemic.

What efforts is China making to contain this?

The Chinese government has issued a quarantine on Wuhan, China to attempt to keep the disease within the country of its origin.

Dr. Li Wenliang, the doctor credited for discovering the virus, and had been making attempts to warn officials about the virus all the way back in late December, has passed away on Friday local time. Rest in peace to the doctor who made great efforts to carry out his civil duty as a health official.

*This story is still developing as new information is still being released every hour.