What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

stay home and stay healthy

Warm prompt: Stay home and stay healthy.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan city, the capital of the Hubei Province. It is an industrial giant and one of the largest transportation hubs in the country. At the time of this writing (Feb. 2, 2020), there are slightly over 17,000 reported cases in the world with slightly over 360 reported deaths giving this virus a mortality rate just slightly higher than the Flu at between 2.5-3%. The major Chinese holiday known as Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, where approximately 3 billion individual trips are made during the world’s largest human migration, has made the epidemic more serious. The Chinese government is currently restricting domestic travel to fight against the virus’s rapid spread as well as building more hospitals, encouraging all companies to allow people to work from home, and closing down live animal markets.

We at CET support all efforts to stop the virus’s spread and will always be concerned foremost for people’s health and well-being. While the current infection numbers still represent on a tiny percent (currently just .00028% of the Chinese population), we fully understand the public’s concern and customers who have booked tours with us should contact their travel specialist for questions or concerns regarding an upcoming tour. For accurate and updated information on the virus, prevention, and treatment, please see these articles.

True or False?

1) The 2019-nCoV is currently spreading rapidly across the globe and poses a significant health risk for children, elderly, and people with respiratory issues. --- true

2) The 2019-nCoV has killed dozens of people (at the time of this writing). --- true

3) The 2019-nCoV is as deadly as Ebola or HIV. --- false

4) The 2019-nCoV is just as serious as the Flu. --- true

5) The 2019-nCoV will kill most people who get it. --- false

6) There is a cure for the 2019-nCoV. --- false

7) Currently, over 96% of those infected with the virus make a full recovery. --- true

Several different types of viruses

There are hundreds of different viruses which can be divided into dozens of different categories – from viruses that cause the stomach flu, to HIV, to other sexually transmitted viruses, to the regular Flu and common cold. For the purpose of this article, we’ll concentrate on airborne viruses that primarily affect our respiratory system (so we’ll leave out the stomach ones, as well as those found further south of the stomach).

Did you know the common cold is caused by a virus? This is one of the reasons there’s no cure for the common cold (as there are no cures for viruses). It’s also hard to vaccinate against because there are over 200 different viruses that causes it, and many mutate often making vaccinations thus far impossible. One of the most common viruses that cause the common cold is called the Rhinovirus. The only good news for this group of viruses is they usually are not very dangerous and the vast majority of people make a full recovery. One of the reasons they are no longer deadly (they used to be 500 years ago) is that over the centuries, humans have developed a fairly good natural immunity against this group.

The Flu is caused by the Influenza virus. Influenza is stronger than the common cold group and thus causes stronger symptoms. Even though most people don’t consider the Flu a deadly virus, according to the American CDC, the Flu kills between 10,000-20,000 people each year, with over 15 million infections. Thus, the Flu is … uh-hem … nothing to sneeze at.

The coronavirus category

A similar category of viruses to Influenza is the coronavirus. Currently, the Novel Coronavirus is causing worldwide concern and sometimes is incorrectly referred to as “the coronavirus”. A coronavirus is actually a category of viruses that attack the upper respiratory tract. The strain that started in Wuhan, China is simply one strain of coronaviruses. In fact, coronaviruses cause around 20% of common colds. There are over 30 kinds of coronaviruses, but only 3-4 affect humans.

Two famous types of coronaviruses are SARS and MERS, which had dangerous outbreaks in 2003 and 2015. For more on the differences between SARS, MERS, and the Novel Coronavirus, please see our article here).

2019 Novel Coronavirus


In general, the Novel Coronavirus is a super type of flu virus with similar symptoms and attacks the body in a biologically similar way. It’s important for people to understand that the Novel Coronavirus is not nearly as deadly as the much more deadly viruses like Ebola, HIV, and Rabies. All of the following have a mortality rate of nearly 100% when left untreated, and some strains of Ebola have a mortality rate of over 50% even when treated. (note, while there is no cure or “antbotic” for any virus, some viruses have treatments which can help a person recover. These viruses are extremely serious and deserve to be treated with extreme concern. However, at the time of this writing, the Novel Coronavirus – while still not completely understood – has only had a mortality rate of around 3%. It's rapid spread around the world and across China certainly poses a severe risk for many people and should continue to be taken very seriously; however, for it’s important for people to keep things in perspective. The Novel Coronavirus is barely more dangerous than the flu and doesn’t come close to the mortality potential posed by the above mentioned super deadly viruses.

For more on the mortality rates of the Novel Coronavirus, the Flu, SARS, and MERS, please see our article here).

See this USAtoday article discussing the deadly nature of the Flu, which currently claims thousands times more lives than the Novel Coronavirus.

How is it spread?

While some viruses and bacteria are spread only through direct contact, and not through the air, unfortunately we have just realized over the past few days that 2019-nCoV CAN be spread through the air. This means that if someone coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth from across the room, and you are in a closed room with no ventilation or a ventilation system that recirculates the air (such as on high speed pressurized trains and airplanes), you can be infected.

For important, life-saving information, please see our articles on “Best practices: Wearing masks, Covering our coughs/sneezes properly, Cleaning and Hand Washing to kill Viruses and Bacteria” and “Top 3 best ways to boost your immune system to protect yourself from Viruses, such as 2019-nCoV”.

Incubation period

One of the most concerning aspects of 2019-nCoV is that it has a fairly long incubation period, which is currently estimated to be as long as 14 days. The incubation period is the time when a person can carry a virus, and infect others, WITHOUT having any symptoms. In plain words, you could be carrying 2019-nCoV for 2 weeks without even knowing it, and during this time, you can spread it to others.

Deadly complications

As with other coronaviruses or influenza, infected people may develop pneumonia or other serious respiratory complications. As stated above, this happens in a small percent of cases, so there is no reason for anyone to panic. However, proper precautions should be taken to avoid getting the virus, or quickly beginning treatment if you are diagnosed with it.

Check back with us

As more information is released and updated, CET will update this page. You can count on CET for the latest, straight forward, information available.