A new coronavirus, COVID-19, has been identified as the cause of a cluster of severe pneumonia cases that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019.
Since then, the virus has spread to many countries, including the US. More cases are being identified daily and there are numerous cases of medical workers contracting the virus. New York, particularly New York City, has become a hotspot of the virus.
While much has been learned about COVID-19 in a few weeks, there is still a lot we don’t know.
What is known: While COVID-19 is the in the same family as MERS and SARS, the fatality rate is lower for COVID-19 in comparison to these other viruses.
What is known: Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and/or symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as coughing or difficulty breathing. Emerging evidence suggests that many individuals with COVID-19 show no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Recent reports suggest that a loss of taste or smell can occur in otherwise asymptomatic people.
What is unknown: With some viruses, the infectious period precedes symptoms and with other viruses it coincides with symptoms — we don’t know yet know about COVID-19.
What is known: Human-to-human transmission is confirmed. Asymptomatic people can transmit the virus.
What is unknown: Whether the disease is transmitted via contact, droplet or aerosol.