COVID-19 affects the respiratory system, and causes symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and fever. Symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure to the disease, and the severity of those symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening.
Despite efforts around the world to prevent the spread of this disease, cases have recently spiked in Japan, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. Many are wondering whether this outbreak will become a pandemic, achieving a worldwide spread like the H1N1 swine flu in 2009.
The good news is that COVID-19 hasn’t yet reached pandemic level. The WHO reports that the spread of COVID-19 in China has likely “peaked and plateaued” by this point and, according to experts, the virus can still be contained.
People who have developed a fever and respiratory symptoms after traveling to China in the last 14 days, or people who have been in close contact with those travelers who are showing symptoms, are advised by the CDC to contact their healthcare provider ASAP. Individuals who have COVID-19 or suspect they have COVID-19 can also take steps to prevent the spread of the disease.