Since December 2019, health authorities in China have been grappling with an outbreak of viral pneumonia that has sickened more than 2,000 people and killed at least 56 as of Sunday Jan 26, 2020.
The disease is thought to be caused by a previously unknown type of virus that may have first spread to humans from animals at a now-shuttered seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where most of the cases have been diagnosed. Further cases have been confirmed in the U.S., Canada Toronto, Nepal, France, Australia, and multiple Asian countries — Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause a variety of ailments, among them the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Most known coronaviruses cause relatively mild cold-like symptoms, but their ability to jump between humans and animals makes them hard to contain. Chinese health officials have confirmed that the new virus can spread between human to human, but not confirmed it to be as serious as SARS and MERS.