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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

About COVID-19

The novel (as in new) coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has designated COVID-19, belongs to the same family of viruses as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), both of which have led to deadly outbreaks in the recent past. Coronaviruses can cause respiratory infections, the effects of which range in severity from common cold-like symptoms to fatal respiratory illness.

Infectious disease experts do not yet know exactly how contagious or deadly COVID-19 is. But compared to SARS and MERS, the novel coronavirus has spread strikingly fast: While the MERS outbreak took about two and a half years to infect 1,000 people, and SARS took roughly four months, the novel coronavirus reached that figure in just 48 days.