Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a virus closely related to the SARS virus from 2002-03. Those affected may develop a fever, dry cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some can progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure. The infection spreads from one person to others via respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
The disease was named COVID-19 by WHO in mid-February. This nomenclature is important to distinguish it from other forms of coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are fairly common and cause a variety of diseases in humans ranging from common cough and cold to severe pneumonia. Therefore, COVID-19 is a more accurate name for the disease caused by a specific strain of the fairly common coronavirus. However, several media outlets still use the term coronavirus. This nomenclature is wrong technically as it is a specific strain which leads to such a severe condition in humans. As an example, if someone is allergic to grapes, we do not say that the person is allergic to fruits because it is only a specific fruit to which the person is allergic to.
Alessandro Vespignani, director at the Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical systems at the Northeastern University, has been working with researchers from all over the world to try and predict the potential spread of the disease. There is widespread panic relating to the spread of the disease. To control the situation, several steps have been taken by governments worldwide. These measures include the screening of passengers at the airport, setting up special helplines and special quarantines. Medical researchers are also working hard to develop a cure as soon as possible.