A new respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) type of coronavirus has been spreading around the world, including the United States, since it was first detected in Wuhan City in China. The virus is being referred to in the media as the coronavirus. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019,” abbreviated COVID-19.
It is important to understand that coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses that are commonly found in many species of animals. Not all coronaviruses cause disease in humans, and even when they do, that disease is minor (for example, some coronaviruses are responsible for the common cold). Sometimes, viruses found in animals can infect people and then spread from person to person. This is what seems to have happened with COVID-19.
COVID-19 has now been confirmed in several states, including California, with some patients appearing to have contracted the disease from community spread (that is, the patient got the virus from an unknown person in the community, rather than from a person known to have traveled to an area experiencing an outbreak).
Visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for more information on the current status of COVID-19 in the United States. The County of San Diego is also providing information about the local response.