Coronavirus has now claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people, placing greater pressure on health officials to develop a vaccine that will put an end to the escalating crisis. While all but six of the fatalities are in mainland China, where the viral outbreak originated, the number of deaths outside of China are predicted to climb in the coming weeks.
Part of the panic stems from the patchy data, which has amplified the uncertainty and allowed misinformation to spread.
Luckily, sophisticated data tracking tools are now tracing the contours of the crisis, helping governments and their citizens to more accurately assess the risks posed by the viral outbreak.
One live map visualisation tool that is helping to illustrate the extent of the viral outbreak is based on data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University and DXY, provides real-time status of the virus:
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How does the coronavirus spread? What we know so far
As the NHS reports, because it’s a new illness, it is not known exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses spread in cough droplets.
It’s highly unlikely coronavirus can be spread through packages from affected countries or through food, however, notes the NHS.
How to avoid catching or spreading the germs
There’s currently no vaccine for coronavirus, but there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading.
According to the NHS, you should:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean, warns the health body.
How do I know if Have it?
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
“Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease,” according to the DoH.