Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which is a respiratory pathogen. WHO first learned of this new virus from cases in Wuhan, the People’s Republic of China on 31 December 2019.
What happens to people who get seriously ill?
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. About 20% of those who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and require oxygen, with 5% becoming critically ill and needing intensive care.
Complications leading to death may include respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sepsis and septic shock, thromboembolism, and/or multiorgan failure, including injury of the heart, liver, or kidneys.
In rare situations, children can develop a severe inflammatory syndrome a few weeks after infection.
Who is most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?
People aged 60 and over, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing a serious illness.
However, anyone can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die at any age.
How can we protect others and ourselves if we don't know who is infected?
Stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Check local advice where you live and work. Do it all!