• Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals and can be transmitted to humans. They can range from the common cold to acute respiratory forms
  • Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that affects your lungs and airways
  • The current epidemic is caused by this specific coronavirus, COVID-19 that emerged in China in December 2019
  • COVID-19 is closely related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which swept around the world in 2002 to 2003. That virus infected around 8,000 people and killed
  • about 800 but it soon ran itself out, largely because most of those infected were seriously ill so it was easier to control
  • Another coronavirus is MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, cases of which have been occurring sporadically since it first emerged in 2012.There have been around 2,500 cases and nearly 900 deaths
  • COVID-19 is different to the previously mentioned coronaviruses in that the spectrum of disease is broad, with around 80% of cases leading to a mild infection. There may also be many people carrying the disease and displaying no symptoms, making it even harder to control
  • To date we have seen over 8 million cases of COVID-19 infection worldwide, over 450,000 deaths but over 4.5 million people have recovered
  • So far, around 20% of COVID-19 cases have been classed as ‘severe’ and the current death rate varies between 0.7% and 3.4% depending on the location and, crucially, access to good hospital care
  • The new coronavirus can be spread from person to person. It is diagnosed with a laboratory test
  • There is no coronavirus vaccine yet, though several trials are underway worldwide
1. What is coronavirus (Covid-19)?