What is the coronavirus? Here’s what we know about it.

What is the coronavirus? Here’s what we know about it.
March 08 20:02 2020 Print This Article

A newly identified respiratory virus that causes pneumonia was discovered in December in China.

Cases of the virus, a type of coronavirus that causes a disease called COVID-19, have spread rapidly in China, and have also been reported in at least 40 other countries, including the United States.

Here’s what to know about the coronavirus.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms including a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Some are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia. They’re usually spread through direct contact with an infected person.

The coronavirus gets its name from the crown-like spikes on its surface, according to the CDC. (Corona is Latin for crown.) Including the newly identified form of the virus, there are a total of seven coronaviruses that can infect humans, the CDC says. Other well-known coronaviruses include SARS and MERS.

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