Italy, Iran, and South Korea now also have confirmed cases of the virus. It brings the total number of cases outside China to 2074, 23 of which were fatal. With the number of cases and countries affected by the novel coronavirus, people wonder if we’re on the verge of a worldwide pandemic. Is a pandemic possible? Yes – because the virus is so contagious, it can reach pandemic levels. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) maintains that status has yet to be reached. They have specific criteria for what they consider to be a pandemic. There must be epidemics simultaneously in many countries and continents, not just outbreaks. The severity of the disease is also considered, and how it impacts society as a whole. Fortunately, WHO says we’re not dealing with large-scale disease or death and do not have an uncontained global spread of the virus.

What The CDC Reports

The CDC is maintaining two logs about COVID-19. 

The first is “Confirmed Cases in the United States.” There are 2 positive person-to-person cases and 12 travel-related cases. 

The second is “Cases Among Persons Repatriated to the United States.” This category has significantly higher numbers, with 36 positive cases from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship and 3 directly from Wuhan, China. That brings the total number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in the United States to 53. But, this number does not include anyone flown back on flights chartered by the State Department.

COVID-19 Survival Rate on Surfaces

Because this is an emerging disease, we don’t know precisely how long it can survive on contaminated surfaces. Other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS can live on glass, metal, or plastic surfaces for 9 days. But there are other contributing factors to longevity, such as temperature. For example, if the temperature exceeds 86 degrees, the viruses won’t live as long. Household disinfectants are a good way to get rid of viruses so that they may work on COVID-19; we don’t know yet. However, the CDC notes that this novel coronavirus is mainly transmitted from person to person. So, as always, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough to do your part for public health.

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