NAME: The names 2019-nCoV, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and novel coronavirus all basically refer to the same thing, either the new virus or the disease it causes. (Technically, the WHO calls the virus SARS-COV-2, and the illness COVID-19.)

FAMILY: It is a type of SARS but is much worse than SARs; experts have also called it "worse than Ebola" in terms of how fast it is spreading.

RE-INFECTION: Getting sick with it more than once is a possibility; "recovered" patients may even be contagious or test positive for the virus after so-called "recovery." 

SPREADING WITHOUT SYMPTOMS: People are able to be asymptomatic or presymptomatic, but still contagious, for weeks.

INEFFECTIVE QUARANTINES: Quarantines are being done for 14 days in many countries, even though it has been documented that 38 days would be more effective. The word quarantine itself means a period of 40 days (from Italian quarantina giorni, space of forty days)…If it's not at least 40 days its not technically a quarantine.

FAST-SPREADING: UPDATE Mar 14, 2020; it's now in over 149 countries, at least 2,335 confirmed deaths outside of China. Many countries do not have the capability to adequately test people. For instance it could become very widespread in parts of Africa without ever making the news.

LIVES ON SURFACES: Studies have shown that the virus can survive on surfaces for at least nine days, at least under certain conditions, and up to 27 days in other conditions.

SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS: There is no cure; treatment focuses on the symptoms like the cough and fever. The symptom list is long and varies from patient to patient but the majority of them have cough and fever and the serious cases develop pneumonia, which is what kills them. Secondary infections are also common, and those patients get antibiotics, used solely to treat additional complications. The symptom list seems to be ever-changing: a March 7 report showed that 22% of patients had diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and/or abdominal discomfort before respiratory symptoms.

NO VACCINE: Labs around the world are racing to develop a vaccine but that is, at best, months away.

“DO I HAVE IT?”: If you think you have it, contact a doctor or hospital. If you believe you've been in close contact with a confirmed case or someone who recently traveled internationally, the hospital may want you to wear a mask when you come in, and will want you to call ahead so they can prepare to isolate you from other patients.

“HOW DO I AVOID IT?”: Standard virus protocol applies: avoid close contact with people who are sick; STAY HOME when you are sick; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash; frequently wash your hands (especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing) using soap and water as hot as you can stand it for at least 20 seconds (the scrubbing under running water is important; a 5-second fingertip wash is inadequate); carry hand sanitizer gel with you for times when you can't wash your hands; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially in public; disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray; etc.

VIRUS IS SPREADING IN USA: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Commissioner of the US FDA, stated before a US Senate Committee on Feb 12, 2020: "The next month is critical. We must prepare for the prospect that the virus evaded our border protections and was already introduced into the U.S. in late December or early January....we could still be early in our own evolution toward broader outbreaks....So, we may know we’re experiencing outbreaks of this disease only when a cluster of cases of atypical pneumonia present to a hospital and trigger closer scrutiny by health officials. By that time, there could be dozens or even hundreds of cases in a local community."