Coronaviruses explained: what you need to know


(KNWA) – The newest, deadly coronavirus has spread to five countries including the U.S.

Just the name of the virus can cause panic but as we’re learning- you’ve likely heard of it before because there are several different types.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are seven types of coronavirus that can infect people.

The four you see below usually cause upper respiratory tract illness like the common cold. It states most people get infected with one of these strains at some point in their lives.

  1. 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  2. NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  3. OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  4. HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

The CDC states sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become new human coronavirus. Three recent examples are:

  1. MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)
  2. SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)
  3. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
  4. The newest type of the virus, that’s sickening hundreds of people in China, is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

The World Health Organization reported the new strand was identified by Chinese authorities earlier this month. It’s associated with an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, China.

The CDC is the only lab in the United States that can test for the new virus.

There are currently no vaccines to protect against any type of coronavirus.

The CDC says it commonly spreads through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact and touching your mouth after touching an infected surface or object.

There are ways to protect yourself like washing your hands and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.


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