The coronavirus (COVID-19): Be prepared.

Updated March 10, 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing
Clinical laboratories LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics announced COVID-19 testing availability. According to a LabCorp press release, the test is available for ordering by physicians or other authorized healthcare providers anywhere in the U.S. The test detects the presence of the underlying virus that causes COVID-19 and is for use with patients who meet current guidance for evaluation of infection with COVID-19. Learn more.
Quest will be in a position to receive specimens for testing and begin to provide testing on Monday, March 9, 2020. Learn more.
U.S. health officials have advised that Americans should be prepared for significant disruption due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

How to wash your hands

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Quick Facts about COVID-19

I. Pathogenic Characteristics

The Novel Coronavirus belonging to the genus of betacoronavirus. The enveloped viral particles may appear spherical or oblong, with a diameter of 60-140nm. Its genetic characteristics are significantly different from SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Current research shows that it has more than 85% homology with bat SARS-like coronavirus (bat-SL-CoVZC45).

When isolated and cultured in vitro, the new coronavirus can be found in human respiratory epithelial cells in about 96 hours, while it takes about 6 days to isolate and culture in Vero E6 and Huh-7 cell lines.

Most of the understanding of the physicochemical properties of coronavirus comes from the research of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The virus is sensitive to ultraviolet rays and heat. Under 56 °C for 30 minutes, ether solvents, 75% ethanol, chlorine-containing disinfectants, peracetic acid, and chloroform can effectively inactivate the virus. Chlorhexidine cannot effectively inactivate the virus.

II. Epidemiological Characteristics

(1) Source of infection.

At present, the source of infection is mainly patients infected by the novel coronavirus. Those who are asymptomatic but infected may also become a source of infection.

(2) Route of transmission.

The main route of transmission is respiratory droplets and close contact. There is the possibility of aerosol transmission when exposed to high concentration aerosol for a long time in a relatively closed environment. As new coronaviruses can be isolated in feces and urine, attention should be paid to aerosol or contact transmission of fecal and urine to environmental pollution.

(3) Susceptible populations.

The population is generally susceptible.

III. Clinical Characteristics

Based on the current epidemiological investigation, the incubation period is 1-14 days, and most often between 3-7 days.

The primary presentations are fever, dry cough, and fatigue. A minority of patients have symptoms such as nasal congestion, nasal discharge, sore throat, muscle pain, and diarrhea. Severe patients often suffer from dyspnea and/or hypoxemia one week after symptom onset, and severe patients can rapidly progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, difficult to correct metabolic acidosis, coagulation dysfunction and multiple organ failure. It is worth noting that severe and critical patients may have moderate to low fever or even no obvious fever during the course of the disease.

Some children and infants may present with atypical symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, or only with malaise and rapid breathing.

Patients with the mild form of the disease present only as low fever, slight fatigue, and so forth, with no lung inflammation.

Judging from the current cases, most patients have a good prognosis and a minority are in critical condition. The prognosis of the elderly and those with chronic underlying diseases is more poor. The clinical course of COVID-19 in pregnant patients is similar to that for patients of the same age. The symptoms of children are relatively mild.


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