The first known cases of COVID-19 were reported as cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China in December 2019. By January 7, 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that the virus that caused these cases was isolated as a novel coronavirus. China announced the first death from the virus on January 11, and reports of confirmed cases were rapidly reported in countries all around the world.
The World Health Organization officially recognized the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11. As of April 19, there are more than 650,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United State alone.
The following time-lapse video demonstrates just how quickly COVID-19 is spreading throughout the world, as well as which countries have the most confirmed cases so far. While China originally saw the highest rate of infection, the United States of America became the leader in confirmed Coronavirus cases on March 26, 2020.
The clinical symptoms of the virus are reported to be fever, cough, and shortness of breath. They may appear anytime from 2-14 days after exposure. The virus is believed to spread from person-to-person, mainly through close contact with an infected person or respiratory droplets produced by an infected person who coughs or sneezes.
The Centers for Disease Control have recommended the following precautions in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds. Special care should be taken when returning from a public place or after coughing. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if washing your hands is not possible.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Avoid coming in contact with people who are sick or may be sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces in your home that are frequently touched, like doorknobs, light switches, phones, and countertops.
Public health experts also recommend practicing “social distancing” by staying at least six feet away from people when in public. Other ways individuals can avoid larger crowds:
- Working from home if possible
- Moving school and college classes online
- Postponing meetings, events, and conferences
- Staying home and avoiding public places as much as possible
While it is unclear exactly how the COVID-19 pandemic will play out over the next few months or how long it will take for the virus to slow its spread, taking the proper precautions to keep you, your family, and your community safe are paramount to reducing the spread and flattening the curve.