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The basics on the coronavirus: What you need to know as the US becomes the new epicenter of COVID-19

March 27, 2020 / Grace Hauck, USA TODAY

Two months after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the United States, the nation has become the new epicenter of the worldwide pandemic.

More than 1,300 people have died in the U.S. after contracting COVID-19, tens of thousands have been infected, and it’s still hard to get tested for the virus. As thousands of people continue to recover in China, where the outbreak began, health care systems in Europe and the U.S. are confronting a woeful lack of time and resources.

The situation continues to develop rapidly, and information about COVID-19 is still evolving. Here’s what we know about COVID-19.

What is the coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus, officially called SARS-CoV-2, is part of a large family of viruses named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. The virus causes an illness called “coronavirus disease 2019,” or COVID-19.

Coronaviruses are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In rare instances, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people. At least two other coronaviruses have infected humans in the past: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

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Chris J. Stewart

Chris currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Surgio Health as well as Chief Operating Officer at Ortho Spine Partners. Prior to that, he was the assistant vice president and business unit leader of Medical Device Management for HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG).

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