What is a novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
Why is the disease being called coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice external icon external icon for naming of new human infectious diseases.
What is the current situation?
CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel.
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial travel options remain available, U.S. citizens should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite length of time. For more information about possible travel restrictions, contact your destination’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate or visit the Department of State website.
Widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring globally. During the COVID-19 pandemic you may be exposed to the virus while traveling—from sick persons at airports, or on airplanes, ships, trains, or buses. Some health care systems are becoming overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may have to remain outside the United States for an indefinite length of time.
Illness with COVID-19 has ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough, and trouble breathing. This new coronavirus has caused severe disease and death in patients who developed pneumonia. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.