What We Know

  • The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified and causes a respiratory illness ranging from a mild cold-like illness to severe pneumonia.
  • Most (81%) of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in China had mild disease.
  • Similar to influenza, the people who are most likely to have severe disease and complications from COVID-19 are older individuals (>60 years old) and those with other medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes.
  • Although the reported death rates are 2.3%, these estimates are based only on confirmed cases. World Health Organization, along with international experts, estimates mortality that takes into account people who have mild illness are not diagnosed with COVID-19 to be 0.3-1%, which is very similar to influenza (0.1-0.2%).
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographical areas.
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