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What is a novel coronavirus?
According to the CDC, coronaviruses come from a large family of viruses. There are actually a variety of previously known human coronaviruses however, the virus that has now infected over 80,000 people worldwide is new.
The newly identified COVID-19 virus refers to the novel coronavirus first detected in Wuhan China. This virus is different from the previously identified coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 which have previously been known to circulate among humans causing mild illness likened to the common cold.
A virus previously thought to only infect animals has now emerged to spread among people. The CDC says the first infections were associated with live animal markets in China but has now been known to spread person-to-person globally.
What precautions can you take?
The CDC warns that there is currently no vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus. In that case, there are some steps you can take to avoid being exposed to the virus in the first place.
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.