Coronaviruses are a group of retroviruses that usually cause respiratory infections of varying severity in humans and animals. It is estimated that approximately one third of upper respiratory tract infections in humans can be caused by coronaviruses.
From the data available so far, it appears that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted between people through close contact with respiratory droplets produced when someone exhales, talks, laughs, sneezes or coughs, as well as through contact with contaminated surfaces.
Although most patients have uncomplicated disease with mild symptoms, some will experience severe disease with a need for oxygen therapy and approximately will need hospitalisation in the ICU. The most frequent diagnosis of patients with severe disease is severe pneumonia.
The most common symptoms are:
More rarely the following are found:
- sore throat
- loss of taste or smell
- skin rash or discoloration of the fingers or toes