By Katherine J. Wu
March 2, 2020 | Updated: March 6, 2020
Editor's Note, March 6, 2020: This story is developing. For the latest fact and figures, visit the Centers for Disease Control's COVID-19 Situation Summary webpage, updated daily at noon Eastern Time.
More than 101,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide. In the United States, where more than 250 infections have been identified, the disease has spread to at least 20 states, killing 15 people: 14 in Washington state and one in California, as of publication.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain that the immediate health risk posed by COVID-19 remains low for the general American public, Nancy Messonnier, director of the organization’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has warned that the disease’s spread throughout the country is “not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen.”
As the coronavirus—now officially named SARS-CoV-2—spreads, so too has misinformation, stymieing efforts to educate and protect the global community. Many questions about the virus and the disease remain unanswered. Thanks in part to a solid understanding of other types of coronaviruses that have plagued us in the past, researchers are quickly homing in on COVID-19’s potential impacts and identifying some of the most important preventative measures people can take. Here’s a quick rundown of what we have learned so far.