2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Table of Contents

What is Coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and were first identified in the mid-1960s. Seven different coronaviruses, that scientists know of, can infect people and make them sick.

Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.

Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have been known to frequently cause severe symptoms. MERS symptoms usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath which often progress to pneumonia. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died. MERS cases continue to occur, primarily in the Arabian Peninsula. SARS symptoms often included fever, chills, and body aches which usually progressed to pneumonia. No human cases of SARS have been reported anywhere in the world since 2004.

In December 2019, a new (or novel) human coronavirus (COVID-19) type emerged in China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, suggesting person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath appearing anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure.

When any new illness emerges, it's important to make sure you have the right facts. Have a question about COVID-19? The World Health Organization (WHO) has busted some of the myths surrounding this new virus. See the answers to some of the most common questions on the WHO website.

back to top

Are there any cases in the United States?

You can find updated numbers on people under investigation and confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. from the CDC.

back to top

Are there any cases in Alabama?

At this time, no COVID-19 cases have been identified in Alabama.

back to top

For Individuals with Recent Travel to China

If you traveled to China and feel sick with fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

The CDC has also provided additional information for travelers going to and returning from China, aircrew, and ship industry workers:

back to top

For Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers should screen patients seeking care for influenza-like illnesses with a history of travel to China in the 14 days prior to illness onset. If you are a healthcare provider who suspects their patient may have this COVID-19, you must take the following steps:

icon_form

Complete the CDC Novel Coronavirus Consultation Form found on Serious Infectious Disease Network

icon_phone

Call ADPH's Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks Division at 1-800-338-8374

icon_fax
icon_email

Fax or e-mail completed form (Subject Line: "nCoV PUI Form") to:

back to top

Stigma Related to COVID-19

The risk of getting coronavirus disease 2019 is currently low in the U.S. due in part to quick action from health authorities. However, some people are worried about the disease. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma towards Chinese or other Asian Americans. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease (for example, Chinese-Americans and other Asian-Americans living in the United States).

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. We can fight stigma and help not hurt others by providing social support. We can communicate the facts that being Chinese or Asian American does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.

For more information about stigma and COVID-19, please see the answers to some of the most common questions on CDC's website.

back to top

How do coronaviruses present and who can perform testing?

Type

Signs and Symptoms

Exposure Locations

Testing Availability

229E

 

NL63

 

OC43

 

HKU1

Common:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • A general feeling of being unwell

Less common:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis

Worldwide

Clinical Laboratories

 

Commercial Laboratories

 

BCL

 

CDC

MERS-CoV

Common:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

Arabian Peninsula

BCL

 

CDC

SARS-CoV

Common:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Pneumonia

None since 2004

CDC

COVID-19

(aka SARS-CoV2 or 2019-nCoV)

Common:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia (in China)

China

CDC

 

Additional Information for Healthcare Providers

back to top

Latest Updates from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

back to top

Resources from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)

back to top

Additional Resources

back to top





Page last updated: February 27, 2020