What is COVID-19?
- COVID-19, which is short for “novel coronavirus disease 2019“, is part of the coronavirus family, which includes the common cold and SARS.
- It currently has no known cure, but vaccines are being developed by the University of Pittsburgh and other organizations. (Source)
- It has “community spread”, meaning people within communities have become infected without knowing how or when they contracted it.
- It can be spread by asymptomatic carriers: people who feel healthy but are infected by COVID-19.
- This coronavirus is a respiratory illness and has similar symptoms to a bad cold or a flu, but is not related to the flu. (Source)
- Because coronavirus is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics.
- It was first identified in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. It is believed to be zoonotic, which means it can be transferred between humans and animals. It is speculated that COVID-19 had animal origins.
- As of May 6, there are approximately 3,680,000 confirmed cases worldwide, including over 1,200,000 cases in the United States. (Source)
- The virus is approximately 10 times deadlier than the H1N1 influenza virus. (Source)
- As of May 6, over 250,000 people have died worldwide, with over 70,000 deaths in the United States.
- It may be the cause of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MISC-C). (Source)
- Symptoms include trouble breathing, rash, fever, fatigue, neck and abdominal pain, and vomiting.
- While new cases are decreasing in some places, experts expect a second wave of infections later this year, possibly coinciding during flu season. (Source)
Transmission & symptoms
- COVID-19 has person-to-person transmission. It is most commonly spread through close contact with an infected person or with the respiratory droplets expelled through coughing, sneezing, talking, or spitting.
- It is possible to contract coronavirus from someone without any symptoms.
- It is possible but less likely to be contracted by touching an infected surface and then immediately touching your face. It can survive on hard surfaces such as metal or glass for 48-72 hours.
- Due to its incubation period, you are not likely to get coronavirus by receiving a mailed or shipped item.
- It may also have airborne transmission, meaning it can be spread through infected particles left in the air after a sick person leaves the area.
- Symptoms include chills, shaking, chills with shaking, confusion, inability to arouse, muscle pain, chest pain, headache, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, and a dry cough.
- They range in severity from mild to terminal.
- Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure, most commonly showing up 5-11 days later.
- Less common symptoms include body aches, sinus congestion, kidney failure, blood clots, stroke, and diarrhea. (Source)
- The most vulnerable populations are the elderly, people with persistent medical conditions, medical workers, and travelers.
- Non-trans women have lower death rates than non-trans men, possibly due to the way the virus interacts with the X chromosome. (Source)
- No racial groups are genetically at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. People of color are higher risk for contracting the virus than white people because socioeconomic conditions, such as food insecurity and access to healthcare, amplify risk factors. (Source)
- Environmental factors can affect the efficacy of the virus.
- Air pollution may increase the death rate of COVID-19 by 15%. (Source)
- There is limited evidence that higher humidity limits the virus’s ability to spread through the air. (Source)
- COVID-19 can travel further than 6 feet if it’s windy. 6 feet is considered a safe minimum distance, so stay further away if possible. (Source)
Pennsylvania & COVID-19
- As of April 27, Pennsylvania has over 40,000 documented cases of COVID-19. Over 160,00 residents have tested negative for the virus. Over 1500 Pennsylvanians have died due to COVID-19. (Source)
- On May 1, some types of construction were allowed to resume.
- On May 8, the North Central & North Western regions left the Red Phase of quarantine and entered the intermediate phase of quarantine. (Source)
- Schools will remain closed through the rest of the academic year.
Timeline of the Virus
- The first death in the United States occurred in California on February 6. (Source)
- Over 25 million American have applied for unemployment since March. (Source)
- As of April 24, over 50,000 Americans have died because of COVID-19. Wordwide, over 190,000 people have died and over 2.4 million people have been diagnosed with the disease. (Source)
- Carnegie Mellon University’s COVIDcast disease tracking map
- World Health Organization’s interactive map
- New York Times: Map and Case Count
- COVID Exit Strategy phase tracker
Last update: 5/28/20