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Coronavirus and COVID-19: Everything you need to know

por Pansy Read (2020-03-13)

id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> Robert Rodriguez/CNET A cluster of respiratory illness, originating in the Chinese province of Hubei in December 2019, has health officials on high alert around the world. In January, the causative agent of the disease was found to be a novel coronavirus, dubbed SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes was given a name: COVID-19. It has proven to be particularly infectious and claimed about 3,000 lives in around three months. 

The spate of illness was first reported to the World Health Organization on New Year's Eve and in the following weeks was linked to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, the same family responsible for the diseases SARS and MERS, as well as some cases of the common cold. A special WHO committee declared a public health emergency on Jan. 30 and later raised its global risk assessment for the coronavirus to "very high."

Now playing: Watch this: Coronavirus and COVID-19: Everything you need to know 5:50 The situation continues to evolve as more information becomes available. We've collated everything we know about the novel virus, what's next for researchers and some of the steps you can take to reduce your risk.

What is a coronavirus?

What is COVID-19?

Where did the virus come from?

How many confirmed cases and deaths have been reported?

What is the fatality rate of COVID-19?

How do we know it's a new coronavirus?

How is coronavirus spread?

Can I get coronavirus from a package?

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?  

How infectious is the coronavirus?

Should you make your own hand sanitizer?

Is there a treatment for the coronavirus?

How to reduce your risk of the coronavirus
Now playing: 카지노사이트 Watch this: Deadly coronavirus detected in the US 1:41 What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses belong to a family known as Coronaviridae, and under an electron microscope they look like spiked rings. They're named for these spikes, which form a halo or "crown" (corona is Latin for crown) around their viral envelope. 

Coronaviruses contain a single strand of RNA (as opposed to DNA, which is double-stranded) within the envelope and, as a virus, can't reproduce without getting inside living cells and hijacking their machinery. The spikes on the viral envelope help coronaviruses bind to cells, which gives them a way in, like blasting a door open with C4. Once inside, they turn the cell into a virus factory -- the RNA and some enzymes use the cell's molecular machinery to produce more viruses, which are then shipped out of the cell to infect other cells. Thus, the cycle starts anew.