Coronavirus Disease Has a Name: COVID-19

February 11, 2020

Today in a press briefing, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, M.D., announced COVID-19 as the official disease name for those infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov). He also provided a situation update, noting 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China, of which 1,017 have resulted in death. Outside China, there are 393 confirmed cases in 24 countries, including the U.S., with one death reported.

According to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, Illinois has two confirmed cases, with three persons under investigation pending results and 44 negative test results. As of Feb. 10, the U.S. has 12 positive cases of COVID-19 in six states, with 68 pending results and 318 negative results.

Also, the WHO has activated a United Nations Crisis Management Team to “focus on the health response while the other agencies can bring their expertise to bear on the wider social, economic and developmental implications of the outbreak.”

Dr. Ghebreyesus said that while the first coronavirus vaccine could be ready in 18 months, there are “many basic public health interventions that are available to us now, and which can prevent infections now.” These include:

  • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
  • Washing hands frequently, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
  • Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals;
  • Practicing cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands); and
  • Enhancing standard infection prevention and control practices in healthcare facilities and hospitals, especially in emergency departments.

Additional resources are available on IHA’s special novel coronavirus webpage.