Understanding Coronavirus

Updated January 27, 2020

What is it?

Coronavirus is a lung (respiratory) illness with symptoms similar to a cold, bronchitis or the flu. 

Why so much media attention?

First found in China, this virus is a new type of Coronavirus. Researchers are studying the illness with great interest and caution. This has led to more news coverage and concern among the public.

As of the latest update,* the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to consider the immediate health risk for Americans to be low.

What are the symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath

How does Coronavirus spread?

Through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.

How can I prevent getting or spreading the virus?

  • Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds (sing the Alphabet song one time or the Happy Birthday song two times)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands
  • Stay away from sick people (and stay home if you’re sick)
  • Use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes (and throw tissues away)
  • Clean and disinfect items and surfaces that are touched a lot

What do I do if I think I have Coronavirus?

  • Stay home to minimize contact with others, and call your doctor right away for advice
  • If you have shortness of breath, call 911 immediately
  • If you do not have a doctor, call 1-877-THRWELL (1-877-847-9355)

For more information, visit the CDC website at  cdc.gov/coronavirus

*Source: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0126-coronavirus-new-cases.html.Accessed January 27, 2020, 0900 CST.


Doctors on the medical staffs practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health hospitals or Texas Health Resources.