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Better Ask Barry: Coronavirus explained

SALINAS, Calif (KION) As coronavirus worries increase across the country, health experts are urging people to be prepared but not to panic.

As coronavirus worries increase across the country, health experts are urging people to be prepared but not to panic.

The elderly and people with underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are at highest risk for severe infection.

"As to lower risk,” said Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “there’s a paradox that we don’t understand. Children are being spared - children and young adults. We don’t know why that is but we’re grateful."

According to the CDC, symptoms of coronavirus typically appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed. They include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.

"Once this virus gets out into the lungs and causes pneumonia, then you may have difficulty breathing, that’s a severe infection," said Dr. Schaffner.

Many people are worried about just how deadly the new coronavirus is.

The World Health Organization revised the mortality rate Tuesday, estimating about 3.4% of confirmed cases end in death - a much higher rate than we usually see in a typical flu season.

"In the beginning when you look at severe cases, you are going to have a very high fatality rate," said Dr. Schaffner. "The more you learn about most infections, you learn about the less severe cases. And of course that lowers the fatality rate." 

Health experts say if you suspect you have coronavirus, call your healthcare provider first. Doing so could prevent spreading the virus to a doctor’s office waiting room.

It’s also recommended (and you've heard this before) that you get your flu shot because the symptoms of flu are very similar.

Coronavirus / Coronavirus essentials / News

Barry Brown

Barry Brown is an anchor and reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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