Symptoms of coronavirus 2020
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new virus, have made the jump to humans but most just cause common cold-like symptoms.
Two coronaviruses – Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) – are much more severe, having killed more than 1,500 people between them since 2002.
The new virus, known as Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is also more dangerous. So far, around 15 to 20 per cent of hospital cases have been classed as “severe” and the current death rate stands at about two per cent.
This is much lower than Mers or Sars but still a significant threat.
What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?
According to the NHS and the WHO, symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus usually include:
- Feeling tired
- Difficulty breathing
- A high temperature
- A cough and/or sore throat
These symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases, including flu and the common cold. So if you have symptoms consider the following:
- Have you travelled in the last two weeks to a high risk area?
- Have you been in contact with someone who has?
How quickly do symptoms emerge?
Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 10 days after contracting the virus.
There is also some evidence, as yet unconfirmed, that the virus can be spread by asymtomatic people – that is people who carry the virus but are not yet sick.
If this is correct it will make the virus considerably more difficult to control.
When should I seek medical help?
If you have travelled to Wuhan City in China (or another significantly affected area) in the last two weeks, or have been in contact with someone who has and feel unwell, call NHS 111 for advice now.
Do NOT go straight to a doctor’s surgery or hospital as, if you have the virus, you risk spreading it to others.
The NHS is asking anyone returning from Wuhan to “self-quarantine” themselves for two weeks, that is stay away from work and other busy places and take care interacting with others.