Map of confirmed cases of COVID-19
By Malaka Gharib and Elena Renken/NPR
Since a coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December, the infectious respiratory disease has spread rapidly within the country and to neighboring countries and beyond.
The virus is thought to spread mostly through close contact and is more dangerous for people who have underlying health conditions, the CDC says. So far, the virus has proved more dangerous for the elderly. The CDC recommends basic precautions such as hand-washing to avoid spreading the disease, and it discourages travel to several countries with outbreaks of COVID-19 — China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.
Such cases are typically in an individual who had recently been in Wuhan, where the virus was first identified. The virus is marked by symptoms such as fever and pneumonia.
Wuhan, a city in central China, is home to 11 million people and is a major rail and road hub. Its international airport has direct flights to airports in many countries, including John F. Kennedy in New York and the San Francisco airport. Wuhan also has the country’s largest inland port on the Yangtze River.