Factsheet: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

February 27, 2020 by

Sergei Oudman

Official name: COVID-19

Also known as: 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease; SARS-CoV-2

Type: Coronaviruses; there are many different types as the name indicates, the virus is related to the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. It is however not the same virus.

Classification: respiratory illness

Causes/origin: The virus was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Most likely the first infections were linked to a live animal market at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

How does it spread: Like any virus, person to person, via (in)direct contact with people already infected (coughing, sneezing etc.).

Symptoms: Mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, coughing and shortness of breath. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

Complications: Pneumonia

Prevention: Avoiding close contact with people who are already sick, avoid touching hands, mouth, eyes and nose with unwashed hands, washing hand with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with an alcohol based sanitizer.

Vaccine: Currently not available. There are some tests at the moment with remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha.

Security: The largest threat of COVID-19 is not the virus itself but the social outfall it can create globally as the virus spreads. The outbreak of panic will most likely cause more trouble than the virus itself on a global scale. We expect disruption in international trade and the availability of resources and goods due to the human social reaction on this outbreak. Especially since there are still more questions than answers with regard to this virus.

This page was last updated on 02-27-2020


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

National Institutes of Health: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-clinical-trial-remdesivir-treat-covid-19-begins