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At this point, it goes without saying that coronavirus has shaken up all of our day-to-day lives.
So far the virus has spread across six continents, and the threat is growing in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia.
Think you’re coming down with something? Concerned about your sniffling colleague? Worried you’ll have to cancel your holiday plans? Stay up to date with our guide to the latest coronavirus guidance and developments.
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that started in animals and is now being transmitted between humans. The symptoms include coughs, fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. First identified in Wuhan, China, the virus has (as of May 8) affected more than 3.9 million people in 187 countries. More than 274,000 have died, while around 1.3 million have already recovered.
How bad is coronavirus?
Unlike flu, there is no vaccine (yet), and recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. In severe cases the virus may cause pneumonia and/or organ failure.
Compared to SARS (another coronavirus that hit headlines in 2003), the mortality rate of COVID-19 is low: around 3.4 percent according to the latest World Health Organisation estimate. This is, however, significantly higher than regular seasonal flu, which is fatal in around 0.1 percent of cases. So far, COVID-19 also appears to be more contagious than seasonal flu.
The elderly and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are most likely to develop a severe illness relating to COVID-19. The death rate is ten times higher among the very elderly compared with the middle-aged, according to the WHO. Children are less likely to be affected.
What’s the latest coronavirus news for Los Angeles?
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has been holding press conferences with the latest updates every day after noon. As of May 8, the total number of cases in Los Angeles County is 30,296, including 1,468 deaths.
On March 11, the office of governor Gavin Newsom released a new update to its public health guidelines that suggests large gatherings of 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled, as well as smaller events that are unable to implement a six-foot social distancing rule. On March 15, Newsom directed that all bars in California should close and restaurants should move to half capacity. Later that night, Los Angeles introduced a stricter mandate: All bars must close, restaurants must cease dine-in operations (but can continue takout and delivery), and entertainment venues (including movie theaters, concert venues, bowling alleys and arcades) must shutter temporarily, as well as gyms and fitness studios. On March 19, it was announced that the county is now under a “safer at home” order. As a result of all of these, all large-scale events have been canceled or postponed, and most major venues have temporarily shuttered (more on that below).
Which countries have been worst hit by coronavirus?
There have been serious outbreaks in the US, Italy, Spain, China, Germany, France, Iran, the UK, Switzerland, Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and South Korea. You can keep track of the spread of the disease on this map created by Johns Hopkins University. The WHO advises against traveling to areas experiencing ongoing transmission of COVID-19.
Generally, you should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you have traveled to certain countries in the last two weeks; to check the current COVID-19 measures and travel guidelines for the U.S., check here.
How will coronavirus affect my day-to-day life?
First: don’t panic.
The spread of the virus outside China wasn’t unexpected, and governments have been sharing information and regularly updating advice.
The CDC recommends avoiding close contact with people who are unwell, and creating distance between yourself and others (at least six feet) if COVID-19 is spreading through your community. If you are mildly ill and think you may have the virus, then you can recover at home. Only leave to get medical care—call ahead before your appointment to make sure the doctor or hospital can prepare.
Should I avoid traveling because of coronavirus?
The CDC is advising against all non-essential travel to an increasing number of countries because of COVID-19.