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Coronavirus: What Is It?

Coronavirus is a dangerous illness, but knowing a few facts will help you stay safe.

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You have probably heard that a new disease sweeping the world – but what is the Coronavirus? The virus strain is named SARS-CoV-2, but most people call it Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. It is part of a large family of viruses that you’ve probably already had – they cause about 20% of colds in humans. They are more common in animals such as camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Some people have said COVID-19 came from bats, and that the disease may have started in a food market in Wuhan, China, where people sold bats for eating.

Since then, the Coronavirus has spread from person to person around the world. Cases can range from mild to deathly severe. Older people or those who have illnesses and weak immune systems are more likely to suffer the dangerous symptoms.

How COVID-19 is Spreading

COVID-19 is contagious, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend people stay at least six feet away from each other. The virus can be spread from person to person through sneezing and coughing. So far, it is unknown how long the virus will remain on surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, so health professionals are telling the public to disinfect these surfaces.

The reason for self-isolation and social distancing (staying away from others) is to stop or slow down the spread of the virus. Everyone is also encouraged to take precautions such as washing their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. Be sure to cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough and wear a mask if you are sick to prevent giving it to someone else. If you are not sick, there is no need to wear a face mask, the CDC says. And finally, if you feel ill, make sure you stay at home.


The most common symptoms of the Coronavirus are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These signs can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after you’ve been exposed to it. Because these symptoms are common with many other illnesses, such as a cold, many people may have a mild case of COVID-19 without even realizing it. If you develop symptoms, you can contact your doctor or health care provider to see about getting tested for the virus.

Taking preventative measures will go a long way towards keeping you healthy.

Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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