Home Health What is Coronavirus? – Duke Today

What is Coronavirus? – Duke Today


January 24, 2020

This story was updated on January 29, 2020, at 2pm EST

By Mary Brophy Marcus


Duke experts offer a quick explainer and what we know about the new coronavirus in China

As worries escalate over a new coronavirus that recently emerged in China, questions are popping up about the illness it causes, which has sickened more than 6,000 people and has led to at least 132 deaths.*

The novel infection’s “ground zero” is the city of Wuhan, in Central China, but cases have been reported in other countries, including Japan, Thailand, Korea, and the U.S.

Dr. Gregory C. Gray, an infectious disease epidemiologist, physician, and professor at Duke University, says the virus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, still remains mysterious.

“We don’t yet know much about this particular virus,” he says.

However, coronaviruses themselves aren’t new, so we can draw a picture of what they’re capable of from history. There are common types that spread between humans and cause cold-like symptoms—a runny nose, headache, cough, fever, sore throat, and general sluggishness and discomfort—according to the Centers for Disease Control and…

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