Everything you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak in 30 seconds

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak in 30 seconds

Australia wuhan

A deadly coronavirus outbreak that originate in Wuhan, China, in December is spreading across the globe.

Here's the latest on the virus and how the world is trying to stop it.


The coronavirus family: The viruses in this large group typically affect the respiratory tract. This particular one - known as 2019-nCoV - had never been seen in humans before. 

  • Symptoms: Patients have reported symptoms similar to those associated with pneumonia, such as fever, coughing, chills, headache, difficulty breathing, and a sore throat
  • How it spreads: The virus can be transmitted between people through respiratory droplets such as saliva or mucus. It can be passed before a person shows symptoms.
  • The coronavirus name: All viruses in the family have an external structure that features little crown-like spikes. In Latin, corōna means crown.
  • Other coronaviruses cause SARS, MERS, and pneumonia.

Where it came from: Many researchers think the coronavirus jumped from animals to people at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market. The market closed down on January 1.

Cases so far: At least 20,704 cases have been confirmed internationally as of Tuesday. Of those, 20,492 are in mainland China.


  • A recent peer-reviewed study estimated that the number of infected patients could be more than three times higher than the current count, however. 
  • Death count: At least 427 patients have died as of Tuesday. Only one death occurred outside of China: a 44-year-old man in the Philippines. 
  • Countries affected: The virus has spread to at least 26 countries, including China. 


How to protect yourself:

  • Avoid contact with people who display cold or flu symptoms, such as coughing or runny noses.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, making sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Face masks aren't necessary outside of China: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend face masks for the general US public at this time. 

Efforts to contain the outbreak:

  • Quarantines: Chinese authorities have quarantined 16 cities, including Wuhan, effectively placing more than 45 million people on lockdown
  • Travel restrictions: Countries including Australia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and the US have canceled or reduced flights to and from China.
  • The US has temporarily barred foreign nationals who have been in China within the past 14 days from entering the country, with exceptions for immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents.
  • Some countries have evacuated citizens from the Hubei province.