What is a coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
These viruses were originally transmitted from animals to people. SARS, for instance, was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS moved to humans from a type of camel.
Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the virus looks like it is surrounded by a solar corona.
The novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and since named SARS-CoV-2, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.
COVID-19 what's in a name
What are the symptoms?
According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death.
Current estimates of the incubation period - the time between infection and the onset of symptoms - range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days.
However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems.
Read more on what the coronavirus does to your body if you catch it here.
INTERACTIVE: Coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms explainer
How deadly is it?
The number of fatalities from the new coronavirus has overwhelmingly surpassed the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which also originated in China.
SARS killed about 9 percent of those it infected - nearly 800 people worldwide and more than 300 in China alone. MERS, which did not spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of those infected.
While the new coronavirus is more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers, the mortality rate remains considerably lower at approximately 3.4 percent, according to the WHO.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 which may result in increased stress during a crisis.
People who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes also seem to be at high risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/coronavirus-symptoms-vaccines-risks-200122194509687.html?utm_source=website&utm_medium=article_page&utm_campaign=read_more_links