Everlywell shared with Healthy Lombard that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads among people in close contact, primarily through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can carry with it symptoms of fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath, among others.
The disease — declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020 — has spread to every continent except Antarctica and continues to close schools, workplaces, restaurants, and other social spaces as health authorities attempt to slow the spread.
Here are some key statistics to know about COVID-19.
- Survival Rate, by Age
- Underlying Conditions
- Coronavirus vs. the Flu
- Community Response
In December 2019, health officials identified several similar cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei Province. Chinese health officials identified the cause of pneumonia as a novel (or new) coronavirus, which was later named SARS-CoV-2.
The virus itself is known as SARS-CoV-2, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, while the disease that results from the virus is called “coronavirus disease 2019” or COVID-19.
- Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and animals, such as camels, cattle, cats, and bats. (CDC)
- Other coronaviruses include MERS-CoV, which was responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and SARS-CoV, which was responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) first reported in Asia in February 2003. (CDC and CDC)
- SARS-CoV-2, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, originated in bats. (CDC)
- Four types of human coronaviruses found around the world account for 10–30% of upper respiratory tract infections in adults. (Journal of the American Medical Association)
- The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” on January 30, 2020, and a pandemic on March 11, 2020. (WHO and WHO)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is thought to spread mainly among people in close contact with one another (six feet or less) through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in people’s mouths or noses or be inhaled.
The virus may also spread when people touch contaminated surfaces and later touch their mouths, noses, or eyes.
Research suggests that people are most contagious when they show the most symptoms, but it may be possible for someone who doesn’t show any symptoms to spread the virus.
- Coronavirus mainly spreads through respiratory droplets (produced by coughing or sneezing) among people in close proximity to one another (within 6 feet). (CDC)
- On average, each infected person spreads the infection to another two people. (The New England Journal of Medicine)
- Coronavirus may last in droplets in the air for up to 3 hours. (The New England Journal of Medicine)
- Coronavirus may last on copper for up to 4 hours. (The New England Journal of Medicine)
- Coronavirus may last on stainless steel for 2–3 days. (The New England Journal of Medicine)
- Human coronaviruses on surfaces can be inactivated within a minute using disinfectants with 62–71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. (Journal of Hospital Infection)