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Coronavirus Information

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).[9] The disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.[10][11] Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Muscle pain, sputum production and sore throat are less common.[6][12] While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms,[13] some progress to severe pneumonia and multi-organ failure.[10][14] The rate of deaths per number of diagnosed cases is on average 3.4%, ranging from 0.2% in those under 20, to approximately 15% in those over 80 years old.[8][15][16]

The infection is typically spread from one person to another via respiratory droplets produced during coughing and sneezing.[17][18] Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between two and 14 days, with an average of five days.[19][20] The standard method of diagnosis is by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) from a nasopharyngeal swab. The infection can also be diagnosed from a combination of symptoms, risk factors and a chest CT scan showing features of pneumonia.[21][22]

Recommended measures to prevent infection include frequent hand washing, maintaining distance from others, and not touching one's face.[23] The use of masks is recommended for those who suspect they have the virus and their caregivers, but not the general public.[24][25] There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Management involves treatment of symptoms, supportive care, isolation, and experimental measures.[26]

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak a pandemic[11] and a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).[27][28] Evidence of local transmission of the disease has been found in many countries across all six WHO regions.[29]