Coronavirus Outbreak: Live Updates

  • The new coronavirus outbreak, initially identified in China, is continuing to grow about 2 months after it was first detected.
  • Now called COVID-19, the virus is one of multiple coronaviruses that can infect humans.
  • Other examples include SARS, MERS, and even the common cold.

How many people have it?

Currently, about 42,000 people have contracted the disease.

Just over 1,000 people have died from the virus. The vast majority of people who have contracted it and who have died are in China.

More people have died from this new coronavirus in 2 months than in the entire duration of the SARS outbreak.

However, the overall death rate is much lower for this virus (around 2 percent) than the SARS virus (around 10 percent).

Other updates on the outbreak can be found here.

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Beds are prepared in China for patients with the new coronavirus. Getty Images

The virus gets a new name

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today in a tweet that the new coronavirus will now be called COVID-19.

Previously, it had been called 2019nCoV, although many media outlets referred to the virus simply as coronavirus, even though that refers to a larger family of viruses.

WHO chief warns outbreak may be ‘tip of the iceberg’

“There’ve been some concerning instances of onward 2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to [China]. The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg,” tweeted Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, on Feb. 9.

The WHO already declared a global public health emergency last month in response to the outbreak.

Coronavirus myths debunked

As the virus spreads, so does misinformation. Facebook and other social media sites are already trying to take down misleading information.

Here’s the truth about coronavirus myths, including whether pets can contract it and whether antibiotics actually help fight the disease.

How to treat the new coronavirus

Since the virus is so new, there’s no cure for the disease. But doctors have been able to use supportive care and other antivirals to try and help patients.

Early studies show some evidence that certain medications, including those that treat HIV, may help fight the virus.

Will we get a vaccine for the new coronavirus soon?

Multiple organizations are already working on a vaccine for the new coronavirus, but it’s unlikely to be widely released within the year.

That’s because rigorous testing is needed to ensure that the vaccine is both safe and effective.

Where did the virus come from?

Experts are still investigating, but early research suggests the virus originated in bats and then was transmitted to humans via an intermediary animal.

What’s the intermediary animal? Potentially a snake or type of anteater called a pangolin.

How to talk to kids about the outbreak

A global outbreak of a new virus is frightening enough for adults. For kids, it can be overwhelming.

We talked to experts about the best way for parents to talk to their kids about what’s going on and how to reassure them.

Parents should also check in with themselves and consider how their fears may be influencing their children.

“When a parent is anxious, their child is going to feel that anxiety and take it on, regardless of how well they think they mask or hide their anxiety,” said Haley Neidich, a licensed mental health professional and practicing psychotherapist.

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