The coronavirus, 2019nCoV, also known as “Wuhan pneumonia,” keeps health organizations around the world on alert, as its spread and contagion appears to be more intense than originally warned. Wuhan coronavirus is a new strain that has never been seen before in humans, which means there is still a lot of research to be done about it. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that was discovered in the 1960s, but whose origin is still unknown. “Although several cases have already been reported in the United States, it is important to emphasize that no suspicious case of infection with this new coronavirus has been presented in Puerto Rico,” said Dr. Carmen Deseda, a state epidemiologist in a written communication. (Metro Newspaper, January 23, 2020). If the coronavirus was discovered in the 1960s, then what is known about these viruses?


What is the Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, but only seven are known to infect people. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous and can be treated effectively. In fact, most people get a coronavirus at some point in their lives, usually during childhood. Although they are more frequent in autumn or winter, they can be purchased at any time of the year. The coronavirus owes its name to the appearance it presents, since it is very similar to a crown or halo. It is a type of virus present in both humans and animals.


What is their mortality?

As of January 23, 2020, of the more than 500 cases of contagion, at least 17 people are known to have died from the new coronavirus since its spread began in December 2019. This means that most patients suffering from the virus do not end up with fatal consequences. It is important to note that, as with the influenza virus, the most severe symptoms (and the highest mortality) are registered both in older people and in those individuals with immunosuppression or with chronic diseases such as diabetes, some types of cancer or chronic lung disease.


Three major epidemic outbreaks caused by coronaviruses have been described in recent years:

Acute and severe respiratory syndrome (SARS, also known as SARS and SARS) began in China in November 2002, affecting more than 8,000 people in 37 countries and causing more than 700 deaths. Its mortality has been estimated at approximately 10%.

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) was first detected in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. As of October 2019, more than 2,400 cases of infection have been reported in different countries, with more than 800 deaths. The case fatality is therefore 35%.

The Wuhan coronavirus, the first cases of a new coronavirus outbreak were reported in late December 2019 in the city of Wuhan (China). Since then the drip of new infected has been continuous, there have been several deaths and it has been confirmed that this coronavirus is transmitted not only from animals to people, but from human to human. It doesn’t look as serious as SARS or as deadly as MERS.


How is it transmitted?

In any case, certain animals are known to act as reservoirs. Coronaviruses are common in many animal species, including camels and bats. The virus can originally be transmitted by direct contact between animals and humans. In addition, it could be transmitted through food, for example, by eating contaminated meat or animal products. If they are not heated sufficiently or if they were prepared under unfavorable conditions, they also represent a source of infection.


Everything seems to indicate that the new 2019nCoV coronavirus has an animal origin. In fact, the first cases have been related to a live animal market in the city of Wuhan, in China Although at first it was said that the contagion only occurred with the contact of affected animals, however, recently the Chinese authorities confirmed that the virus has been passed from person to person. Coronaviruses are transmitted in a limited way between humans, but as in other viruses that cause pneumonia, when they are transmitted in humans, the contagion generally occurs through the respiratory route, through the droplets that people produce when they cough, sneeze, or speak. .


What is the incubation period?

According to world health organizations, the incubation period for “Wuhan pneumonia” (that is, how long it takes for symptoms to appear after contracting the infection) is two to fourteen days.


What are the common symptoms?

In general, the main symptoms of coronavirus infections are usually:

  • Runny nose and runny nose
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat and headache
  • Fever
  • Chills and general discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • In the most severe cases, these infections


How is it diagnosed?


To determine if a patient’s discomfort comes from a simple cold or coronavirus, the doctor may order a nose and throat culture, or even a blood test. In SARS coronavirus cases, a chest plate is usually done to determine the symptoms of pneumonia. Samples will be sent to CDC for diagnosis. This process is regulated by CDC protocols and in conjunction with the PR Department of Health.


Do you have treatment?

There is no vaccine against the human coronavirus that causes a cold, but milder cases can be overcome by following the same steps as a common cold such as: washing your hands frequently, resting and drinking plenty of fluids and the symptoms will disappear. the few days. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also be taken to relieve sore throats or fever. However, do not give aspirin to children or cough medicine to children under the age of four.

In cases of SARS coronavirus, MERS CoV and 2019nCoV, hospital admission is usually convenient. Antivirals, high doses of steroids are administered to reduce lung inflammation, and respiratory support with oxygen; Occasionally it may require antibiotics, but only in the event of bacterial infections that occur, that is, superinfection.


How do we prevent becoming infected?

Maintaining basic hygiene is the most effective way to avoid contracting this virus in places where there is an increased risk of transmission. The measures are the same that we follow with influenza: wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with people who are already infected, especially protecting your eyes, nose and mouth. Those who may be in contact with possible affected persons are advised to wear masks and use handkerchiefs to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (January 23, 2020). Coronavirus. Recovered from:

World Health Organization (January 12, 2020). New Coronavirus. Recovered from:

Metro newspaper. Digital version (Thursday, January 23, 2020). There are no suspected cases of coronavirus in Puerto Rico, according to Salud. Recovered from:

World Health Organization (2020). Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection is suspected. Retrieved from

Medlineplus. US National Library of Medicine (January 24, 2020). Coronavirus Infections. Recovered from:

Lippincott Nursing Center (January 27, 2020). 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Recovered from:

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