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Coronavirus: Here's What You Need To Know

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- The novel coronavirus is causing global panic as fears continue to mount about widespread transmission.

The virus, which is formally known as COVID-19, has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

It has killed more than 3,000 people and infected more than 100,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is expected to keep spreading beyond this season and year.

Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 and how to stay safe:

What are the symptoms?

Some of the most common symptoms of the novel coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

"Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea," the World Health Organization says.

According to WHO, symptoms are typically mild.

"Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness."

Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms.

How does it spread?

Based on what's currently known about the novel virus, COVID-19 can be spread mainly from person-to-person.

These instances include when a person infected coughs or exhales and expels small droplets from their nose or mouth, which can then be inhaled by others.

Droplets can also land on surfaces. If people touch those surfaces, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, the virus can also be transmitted in that way.

WHO says that there's a low risk in catching the disease from a person who's showing no symptoms.

How can you protect yourself?

It's important to stay on top of latest developments in the research of the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can find information on the CDC and WHO website.

The best way to prevent getting sick is to avoid exposure to the virus.

The CDC recommends these actions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency provided a list of disinfectants that it says are strong enough to protect against the novel coronavirus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The CDC emphasizes the importance of doing this especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for the novel coronavirus, but there have been patients who've recovered from the illness.

There is currently a clinical trial underway at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha to evaluate antiviral drug remdesivir in adults with COVID-19, according to the U.S. National Institues of Health.

While there is work being done to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, it's not expected anytime soon.

Should I wear a face mask?

At this time, the CDC does not recommend people who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 to wear a face mask to protect themselves. Those are also their recommendations for other respiratory illnesses.

"Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings," according to the CDC.

Where is it in the U.S.?

As of March 5, the CDC has reported 99 total confirmed cases in the U.S., 10 deaths and 13 states reporting cases.

Those states are California, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

How many local cases have been reported?

As of March 6, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported two additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County, bringing the total number of local cases to 13.

What federal actions are being taken?

President Donald Trump on March 6 signed an $8.3 billion emergency bill into law to fight COVID-19.

The bill provides funding to combat the spread of the virus on the local, state, national and international levels.

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