Coronavirus: Symptoms, prevention and number of confirmed cases

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has spread globally, killing hundreds of thousands of people and infecting millions more. The pandemic has upended life around the world, delivering a massive blow to the global economy and creating a "new normal" for Americans.

Here is what you need to know about coronavirus symptoms, prevention and cases nationally and globally:

Number of confirmed coronavirus cases, recoveries, deaths

John's Hopkins University maintains a dashboard tracking the number of coronavirus deaths and confirmed infections in countries around the world:

What are coronavirus symptoms?

Patients with COVID-19 have had a wide variety of symptoms and can experience mild to severe illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms may appear anytime between two to 14 days after exposure.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of developing more serious complications.

The disease has the potential to attack many areas of the body, not just the respiratory system as previously thought. In the past few months, the CDC has added new symptoms to its list.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fevers or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body ache
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Emergency warning signs include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Anyone experiencing emergency symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. Please note that these lists are not all-inclusive.

How does the novel coronavirus spread?

The coronavirus is thought to spread easily, mainly from person to person.

Like the common cold, the virus is transmitted through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.

It's also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface with the virus on it before touching their mouth, face or eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

What can I do to prevent myself from getting sick? Do face masks actually work?

Here are protective measures everyone can take to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the CDC:

  • Wash your hands often. Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds in order to kill potential viruses.
  • Avoid close contact. If possible, stay at least six feet apart from others outside of your home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. Wearing a mask in public can prevent asymptomatic spread. Some studies suggest that asymptomatic individuals, or people who do not show COVID-19 symptoms but have the disease, can transmit the virus to others unknowingly.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect. This includes items you touch often, like phones, tables, doorknobs, toilets and sinks.
  • Monitor your health. Keep up to date with information on coronavirus, and take your temperature if you feel sick.

WATCH: A doctor explains how to properly wash your hands

Dr. Mark Loafman, chairman of Family Medicine at Cook County Health, explains the proper technique and duration for washing your hands to prevent the spread of illnesses. Scrubbing should continue for at least 20 seconds, which happens to be the amount of time it takes to hum the"Happy Birthday" song twice.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19

If you think you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, contact your healthcare provider.

Those who are not in an at-risk population (such as the elderly or those with preexisting medical conditions) may be able to recover at home. Stay home, unless you're seeking medical care, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

If you exhibit emergency symptoms, get medical care immediately.

Note: This coronavirus is new, and therefore all research is preliminary. Guidelines and recommendations are subject to change as experts learn more about the virus.