Tracking the 2019 Coronavirus

January 29, 2020 Pam Schwartz

Tracking the 2019 Coronavirus

There is currently a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which continues to spread around the globe.

While there have been confirmed cases identified across 18 countries, including Germany, Japan, Australia and the U.S., many questions remain unanswered, including how the virus is transmitted. Although initial reports indicate the virus’s origin may have involved animal-to-person transmission, more recent reports confirm that the virus is now spreading person-to-person, across the region and around the world. 

Updates on the spread and transmission of the 2019 Coronavirus continue to be published, and can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website


Virus Origins

In late 2019, the World Health Organization was first alerted about a new virus emerging from Wuhan City in China’s Hubei Province. The Chinese government confirmed on Jan. 7, 2020 that the virus was identified as a new form of coronavirus

Coronaviruses are not new. They typically cause upper respiratory tract illnesses similar to a common cold. While the symptoms are typically mild to moderate and last for a short period of time, they can sometimes lead to pneumonia or bronchitis, especially if an infected person already has a weakened immune system. 


Tips for preventing infectious diseases

For now, because there is no clear root cause and no vaccine likely to be made available anytime soon, the best way to combat the virus is for everyone to follow the CDC’s general guidance designed to help prevent the spread of any virus:

  1. Stay home if you are sick. Don’t bring germs to school or the office.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after coughing or sneezing, or caring for someone who is ill. 
  3. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds. This is longer than most people imagine. I can sing the Happy Birthday song twice in twenty seconds. 
  4. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  5. Try not to touch your face.   
  6. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, then throw the tissue into the trash 
  7. If you are unable to use a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. 
  8. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently. 
  9. If you think you’ve been exposed to Coronavirus, contact your doctor immediately. 

If you’re a public health professional, you may have additional concerns. Managing any kind of viral outbreak requires clear visibility into outbreak information and coordination across multiple organizations involved in responding to crisis situations to ensure prevention, protection and recovery for those at risk. Conduent helps public health officials by providing technology solutions to assist them in fighting and managing disease outbreaks. For more information, reach out via email to govhealthcare@conduent.com.

 

About the Author

Pamela Schwartz is the Director of Public Health Consulting at Conduent Public Health Solutions. She has more than 15 years of experience in public health informatics, working in immunization information systems, disease surveillance systems, and prescription drug monitoring programs in corporate and government environments. Pamela recently earned her Master’s in Public Health from American Public University. She also holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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