The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus — now being referred to as COVID-19 — was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China, and has spread to other international locations, including the United States.
Public health officials are working to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Coronaviruses that infect people can cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold; however, some can cause severe illness, like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The complete clinical picture of 2019-nCoV is still not fully clear, with reported illnesses having ranged from infected people with little-to-no symptoms, to people becoming severely ill and dying.