Coronaviruses are named for the spikes that protrude from their surfaces, resembling a crown or the sun’s corona. They can infect both animals and people, and can cause illnesses of the respiratory tract.
A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019 and recognised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. As of 14 March, over 156,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in around 150 countries and territories; more than 5,800 people have died from the disease and around 75,000 have recovered. Regions affected by major outbreaks include mainland China, France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, and the United States.
The first confirmed case in the United States of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was announced on January 21, 2020. By March 12, 2020, diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. exceeded 1,000. By March 14, they exceeded 2,000. Of the 51 deaths in the country, 37 had occurred in the state of Washington, with 13 of those at a nursing home. Cases have been confirmed in 49 out of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. As of March 14th, the only state without a confirmed case of COVID-19 was West Virginia.
Public health responses have included national pandemic preparedness and response plans, travel restrictions, quarantines, curfews, event postponements and cancellations, and facility closures. These include a quarantine of the Chinese province of Hubei, the nationwide quarantine of both Italy and Spain, curfew measures in China and South Korea, various border closures or incoming passenger restrictions, screening methods at airports and train stations and travel advisories regarding regions with community spread. Schools and universities have closed either on a nationwide or local basis in at least 61 countries, affecting more than 421 million students.